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Gaussian minimum shift keying Gaussian minimum shift keying or GMSK is a kind of continuous phase frequency-shift keying. The baseband modulation is generated by starting with a bitstream 0/1 and a bit-clock giving a timeslice for each bit. This is the type of modulation used in Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). The baseband signal is generated by first transforming the zero/one encoded bits into -1/+1 encoded bits. This -1/+1 signal is then filtered in such a way that the “boxcar” shaped +1/-1 pulses are transformed into Gaussian-shaped signals. The baseband signal is then modulated using frequency modulation, producing a complete GMSK signal. If the Gaussian shapes do not overlap, then the modulation form is called 1-GMSK. If the slots overlap 50% (½), the modulation is called 2-GMSK, and so on. The more the bits overlap, the more significant intersymbol interference (ISI) from adjacent bits will be, and for 4-GMSK and up, the ISI seen at any particular point in time is stronger than the signal from the bit currently being decoded. By looking at greater parts of the signal using advanced decoder techniques (including Viterbi algorithm decoders), high density codings can be decoded efficiently. Currently the highest density coding being used is 5-GMSK.

Audio frequency-shift keying Audio frequency-shift keying (AFSK) is a modulation technique by which digital data is represented as changes in the frequency (pitch) of an audio tone, yielding an encoded signal suitable for transmission via radio or telephone. Normally, the transmitted audio alternates between two tones: one, the “mark”, represents a binary one; the other, the “space”, represents a binary zero. AFSK differs from regular frequency-shift keying in that the modulation is performed at baseband frequencies. In radio applications, the AFSK-modulated signal is normally used to modulate an RF carrier (using a conventional technique, such as AM FM or ACSSB(R)(LM Mode(R)) for transmission. AFSK is not generally used for high-speed data communications, as it is less efficient than other modulation modes. In addition to its simplicity, however, AFSK has the advantage that encoded signals will pass through AC-coupled links, including most equipment originally designed to carry music or speech. Most early telephone-line modems used audio frequency-shift keying to send and receive data, up to rates of about 300 bits per second. The common Bell 103 modem used this technique, for example. Some early microcomputers used a specific form of AFSK modulation, the Kansas City standard, to store data on audio cassettes. AFSK is still widely used in amateur radio, as it allows data transmission through unmodified voiceband equipment. AFSK is also used in the United States’ Emergency Alert System to transmit warning information. It is used at higher bitrates for Weathercopy used on Weatheradio by NOAA in the U.S., and more extensively by Environment Canada. The CHU shortwave radio station in Ottawa, Canada broadcasts a Exclusive digital time signal encoded using AFSK modulation.

Amplitude-shift keying Amplitude-shift keying (ASK) is a form of modulation which represents digital data as variations in the amplitude of a carrier wave. The amplitude of an analog carrier signal varies in accordance with the bit stream (modulating signal), keeping frequency and phase constant. The level of amplitude can be used to represent binary logic 0s and 1s. We can think of a carrier signal as an ON or OFF switch. In the modulated signal, logic 0 is represented by the absence of a carrier, thus giving OFF/ON keying operation and hence the name given. Like AM, ASK is also linear and sensitive to atmospheric noise, distortions, propagation conditions on different routes in PSTN, etc. It requires excessive bandwidth and is therefore a waste of power. Both ASK modulation and demodulation processes are relatively inexpensive. This type of modulation can be used to transmit digital data over fiber.

Quadrature amplitude modulation Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) is a modulation scheme which conveys data by changing (modulating) the amplitude of two carrier waves. These two waves, usually sinusoids, are out of phase with each other by 90° and are thus called quadrature carriers — hence the name of the scheme. As with all modulation schemes, QAM conveys data by changing some aspect of a carrier signal, or the carrier wave, (usually a sinusoid) in response to a data signal. In the case of QAM, the amplitude of two waves, 90 degress out-of-phase with each other (in quadrature) are changed (modulated or keyed) to represent the data signal. Phase modulation (analogue PM) and phase-shift keying (digital PSK) can be regarded as a special case of QAM, where the amplitude of the modulating signal is constant, with only the phase varying. This can also be extended to frequency modulation (FM) and frequency-shift keying (FSK), as these can be regarded as a special case of phase modulation. Although analogue QAM is possible, this article focuses on digital QAM. Analogue QAM is used in NTSC, PAL and SECAM television systems, where the I- and Q-signals carry the components of chroma (colour) information. “Compatible QAM” or C-QUAM is used in AM stereo radio to carry the stereo difference information.

Continuous phase modulation Continuous phase modulation (CPM) is a method for modulation of data commonly used in wireless modems. In contrast to other coherent digital phase-modulation techniques where the carrier phase abruptly resets to zero at the start of every symbol (e.g. M-PSK), with CPM the carrier phase is modulated in a continuous manner. For instance, with QPSK the carrier instantaneously jumps from a sine to a cosine (i.e. a 90 degree phase shift) whenever one of the two message bits of the current symbol differs from the two message bits of the previous symbol. This discontinuity requires a relatively large percentage of the power to occur outside of the intended band (e.g., high fractional out-of-band power), leading to poor spectral efficiency. Furthermore, CPM is typically implemented as a constant-envelope waveform, i.e. the transmitted carrier power is constant. Therefore, CPM is attractive because the phase continuity yields high spectral efficiency, and the constant-envelope yields excellent power efficiency. The primary drawback is the high implementation complexity required for an optimal receiver.

Demodulator A demodulator is an electronic circuit used to recover the information content from the carrier wave of a signal. The term is usually used in connection with radio receivers, but there are many kinds of demodulators used in many other systems. Another common one is in a modem, which is a contraction of the terms modulator/demodulator.





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  1. Moraru

    Donald,Thanks for posting your thtughos here. Would you be willing to elaborate on how you test whether messaging works? What kinds of testing do you do and what time and cost are involved? How well can you understand the need and fear drivers for different people or groups of people and how well can you understand how specific messaging capitalizes on or mitigates those needs and fears?Best regards,Harold






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