Cooke and Wheatstone electric telegraph

Communications refers to the use of signals to transfer voice, data, image, and/or video information between locations, the main applications of which are in communications science, engineering, and technology. From the bonfires and smoke signals to early modern optical telegraphs, humankind has attempted to move communication beyond the realm of earshot. Among the first practical uses of electrical engineering, early communication devices included the telegraph, first conceived in the 1700s and realized in 1837 by Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke and by Samuel Morse. Through the next century, advancements in the telephone, radio, television and today's Internet, completely changed the way people communicate and interact with one another.

Books by IEEE History Center current and former staff

Lines and Waves:Faraday, Maxwell, and 150 Years of Electromagnetism by Robert Friedel

A Brief History of Communications: IEEE Communications Society--A Fifty Year Foundation for the Future the text of the book published in 2002 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Communications Society can be found on the Communication Society history page.

STARS Articles

STARS articles are peer-reviewed articles on the history of major developments in technology. Available in the communications category are:

History of the IEEE Communications Society

IEEE Communications Society History


  • Broadcasting - The transmission of audio or video to an audience.
  • Communication equipment - This refers to both the hardware and software used for different types of communication.
  • Communication methods - Methods used for different types of communication (broadband, mobile, multimedia, etc.) and for different purposes (biomedical, military).
  • Communication networks - A network of communication circuits managed as a single unit.
  • Communication switching - Used to enable sharing of physical lines of communication.
  • Communication systems - Elements of communications systems, such as protocols, quality of service and routing are covered.
  • Couplers – Coupling is the transfer of energy from one medium to another.
  • Cryptography - the practice and study of secure communications in the presence of third-party
  • Fiber optics - Transmitting light through optical fibers
  • Image communication - Includes facsimile, picture archiving and communication systems.
  • Message systems - Includes postal services and voice mail.
  • Multiplexing - The combining of two or more signals into a single wave from which the signals can be individually recovered. Examples include time division multiplexing and frequency division multiplexing.
  • Radar - Radio detection and ranging, an object detection system using radio waves
  • Radio communication - Includes types (indoor, land mobile, etc.) and aspects (frequency, spectrum management, etc.).
  • Radiometry - The study and measurement of electromagnetic radiation
  • Remote sensing - Sensors which operate by wireless means
  • Signal generation & recording - The generation and recording of various signals including audio recording, digital recording and noise generators
  • Signals - Topics covering both types of signals, analog, where the signals are carried by continuously varying quantities, and digital, where the signals are restricted to a finite set of discrete values
  • TV - Cable, digital, and mobile television are covered.
  • Telegraphy - A system of telecommunication for the transmission of graphic symbols, usually letter of numerals, by the use of a signal code. Types include electrical, radio, and wireless.
  • Telephony - The use of devices for voice communication, for example, cellular and digital telephone systems.
  • Terrain mapping - Cartography and other methods and topics dealing with mapping
  • UHF & VHF technology - The technologies used for "ultra-high" and "very-high" radio frequencies.
  • Ultra wideband technology – Technologies using extremely narrow pulses and very wide frequencies

Pages in category "Communications"

The following 944 pages are in this category, out of 944 total.







Media in category "Communications"

The following 75 files are in this category, out of 75 total.