Definition

QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation)

QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is a method of combining two amplitude-modulated (AM) signals into a single channel, thereby doubling the effective bandwidth. QAM is used with pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) in digital systems, especially in wireless applications.

In a QAM signal, there are two carriers, each having the same frequency but differing in phase by 90 degrees (one quarter of a cycle, from which the term quadrature arises). One signal is called the I signal, and the other is called the Q signal. Mathematically, one of the signals can be represented by a sine wave, and the other by a cosine wave. The two modulated carriers are combined at the source for transmission. At the destination, the carriers are separated, the data is extracted from each, and then the data is combined into the original modulating information.

Also see bandwidth, modulation, and wireless.

Contributor(s): Robert Boschen
This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive SearchNetworking.com-related news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to techterms@whatis.com

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: