Spread spectrum

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Spread-spectrum techniques are methods by which a signal (e.g. an electrical, electromagnetic, or acoustic signal) generated in a particular bandwidth is deliberately spread in the frequency domain, resulting in a signal with a wider bandwidth. These techniques are used for a variety of reasons, including the establishment of secure communications, increasing resistance to natural interference and jamming, to prevent detection, and to limit power flux density (e.g. in satellite downlinks).

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History

Frequency hopping

The concept of frequency hopping was first alluded to in the 1903 U.S. Patent 723,188 and U.S. Patent 725,605 filed by Nikola Tesla in July 1900. Tesla came up with the idea after demonstrating the world's first radio-controlled submersible boat in 1898, when it became apparent the wireless signals controlling the boat needed to be secure from "being disturbed, intercepted, or interfered with in any way." His patents covered two fundamentally different techniques for achieving immunity to interference, both of which functioned by altering the carrier frequency or other exclusive characteristic. The first had a transmitter that worked simultaneously at two or more separate frequencies and a receiver in which each of the individual transmitted frequencies had to be tuned in, in order for the control circuitry to respond. The second technique used a variable-frequency transmitter controlled by an encoding wheel that altered the transmitted frequency in a predetermined manner. These patents describe the basic principles of frequency hopping and frequency-division multiplexing, and also the electronic AND-gate logic circuit.

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