In electronics and telecommunications, modulation is the process of varying one or more properties of a periodic waveform, called the carrier signal, with a modulating signal that typically contains information to be transmitted. Most radio systems in the 20th century used frequency modulation (FM) or amplitude modulation (AM) for radio broadcast.

A modulator is a device that performs modulation. A demodulator (sometimes detector or demod) is a device that performs demodulation, the inverse of modulation. A modem (from modulator–demodulator) can perform both operations.

The aim of analog modulation is to transfer an analog baseband (or lowpass) signal, for example an audio signal or TV signal, over an analog bandpass channel at a different frequency, for example over a limited radio frequency band or a cable TV network channel. The aim of digital modulation is to transfer a digital bit stream over an analog communication channel, for example over the public switched telephone network (where a bandpass filter limits the frequency range to 300–3400 Hz) or over a limited radio frequency band. Analog and digital modulation facilitate frequency division multiplexing (FDM), where several low pass information signals are transferred simultaneously over the same shared physical medium, using separate passband channels (several different carrier frequencies).

The aim of digital baseband modulation methods, also known as line coding, is to transfer a digital bit stream over a baseband channel, typically a non-filtered copper wire such as a serial bus or a wired local area network.

The aim of pulse modulation methods is to transfer a narrowband analog signal, for example, a phone call over a wideband baseband channel or, in some of the schemes, as a bit stream over another digital transmission system.

In music synthesizers, modulation may be used to synthesize waveforms with an extensive overtone spectrum using a small number of oscillators. In this case, the carrier frequency is typically in the same order or much lower than the modulating waveform (see frequency modulation synthesis or ring modulation synthesis).

Analog modulation methods

A low-frequency message signal (top) may be carried by an AM or FM radio wave.
Waterfall plot of a 146.52 MHZ radio carrier, with amplitude modulation by a 1,000 hz sinusoid. Two strong sidebands at + and - 1Khz from the carrier frequency are shown.
A carrier, frequency modulated by a 1,000 hz sinusoid. The modulation index has been adjusted to around 2.4, so the carrier frequency has small amplitude. Several strong sidebands are apparent; in principle an infinite number are produced in FM but the higher-order sidebands are of negligible magnitude.

In analog modulation, the modulation is applied continuously in response to the analog information signal. Common analog modulation techniques include:

Other Languages
беларуская: Мадуляцыя
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мадуляцыя
čeština: Modulace
dansk: Modulation
euskara: Modulazio
فارسی: مدولاسیون
Gaeilge: Modhnú
한국어: 변조
հայերեն: Մոդուլում
हिन्दी: मॉडुलन
hrvatski: Modulacija
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italiano: Modulazione
עברית: אפנון
Кыргызча: Модуляция
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македонски: Модулација
Malagasy: Fifanaraham-peo
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Bahasa Melayu: Pemodulatan
မြန်မာဘာသာ: မော်ဒျူလေးရှင်း
Nederlands: Modulatie (radio)
日本語: 変調方式
norsk: Modulasjon
norsk nynorsk: Modulasjon
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Modulyasiya
polski: Modulacja
português: Modulação
română: Modulație
русский: Модуляция
Scots: Modulation
සිංහල: මූර්ජනය
slovenščina: Modulacija
српски / srpski: Модулација
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Modulacija
Basa Sunda: Modulasi
svenska: Modulation
Türkçe: Modülasyon
українська: Модуляція (фізика)
اردو: تحویر
中文: 調變