In electronics, a multiplexer or mux (occasionally the terms muldex or muldem are also found for a combination multiplexer-demultiplexer) is a device that performs multiplexing; it selects one of many analog or digital input signals and forwards the selected input into a single line. A multiplexer of 2n inputs has n select lines, which are used to select which input line to send to the output.
An electronic multiplexer makes it possible for several signals to share one device or resource, for example one A/D converter or one communication line, instead of having one device per input signal.
On the other end, a demultiplexer (or demux) is a device taking a single input signal and selecting one of many data-output-lines, which is connected to the single input. A multiplexer is often used with a complementary demultiplexer on the receiving end.
An electronic multiplexer can be considered as a multiple-input, single-output switch, and a demultiplexer as a single-input, multiple-output switch. The schematic symbol for a multiplexer is an isosceles trapezoid with the longer parallel side containing the input pins and the short parallel side containing the output pin. The schematic on the right shows a 2-to-1 multiplexer on the left and an equivalent switch on the right. The sel wire connects the desired input to the output.
In telecommunications, a multiplexer is a device that combines several input information signals into one output signal, which carries several communication channels, by means of some multiplex technique. A demultiplexer is in this context a device taking a single input signal that carries many channels and separates those over multiple output signals.
In telecommunications and signal processing, an analog time division multiplexer (TDM) may take several samples of separate analogue signals and combine them into one pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) wide-band analogue signal. Alternatively, a digital TDM multiplexer may combine a limited number of constant bit rate digital data streams into one data stream of a higher data rate, by forming data frames consisting of one timeslot per channel.
In telecommunications, computer networks and digital video, a statistical multiplexer may combine several variable bit rate data streams into one constant bandwidth signal, for example by means of packet mode communication. An inverse multiplexer may utilize several communication channels for transferring one signal.
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