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What is the difference between TDM and FDM?

Sahar Moueen

Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

Multiplexing

Multiplexing is the process of combining several communication signals and converting them into one signal for data transmission.

Types of multiplexing

We can divide multiplexing into analog and digital signal types. We can further divide these into Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM).

The figure below illustrates this:

Types of multiplexing

Time Division Multiplexing (TDM)

Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) transmits and receives digital and analog signals over a shared communication channel by dividing the data frames into different time slots.

Working

The following three processes have the same frequencies, but are divided into different time slots for transmitting signals.

TDM

Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM)

Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM) transmits and receives combined signals over a shared communication channel in a series of non-overlapping frequencies.

Working

The following three processes have distinct frequency bands for transmitting the signals concurrently.

FDM

Difference between TDM and FDM

The difference between TDM and FDM is as follows:

Difference

Attributes

TDM

FDM

Signals used

Digital and analog signals

Analog signals

Working principle

Time-sharing

Frequency-sharing

Requirement

Syncronization pulse

Guard band

Circuit orientation

Simple

Complex

Crosstalk

Not prominent

Prominent

Interference

Low and negligible

High

Propagation delay

Yes

No

Efficiency

High

Low

Cost

Low

High

Applications

Internet service providers, ISDN, PSTN, and telephone communication

Optical fiber communication, radio and television broadcasting

RELATED TAGS

computer networks
networking
multiplexing
tdm
fdm

CONTRIBUTOR

Sahar Moueen
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Grokking Modern System Design Interview for Engineers & Managers

Ace your System Design Interview and take your career to the next level. Learn to handle the design of applications like Netflix, Quora, Facebook, Uber, and many more in a 45-min interview. Learn the RESHADED framework for architecting web-scale applications by determining requirements, constraints, and assumptions before diving into a step-by-step design process.

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