Telecommunication is the transmission of signs, messages, writings and sounds or information of any nature by wire, optical or other electromagnetic systems. Telecommunication occurs when the exchange of information between communication participants includes the use of technology, it is transmitted either electrically over physical media, such as cables, or via electromagnetic radiation. Such transmission paths are divided into communication channels which afford the advantages of multiplexing. Since the Latin term communicatio is considered the social process of information exchange, the term telecommunications is used in its plural form because it involves many different technologies. Early means of communicating over a distance included visual signals, such as beacons, smoke signals, semaphore telegraphs, signal flags, optical heliographs. Other examples of pre-modern long-distance communication included audio messages such as coded drumbeats, lung-blown horns, loud whistles. 20th- and 21st-century technologies for long-distance communication involve electrical and electromagnetic technologies, such as telegraph and teleprinter, radio, microwave transmission, fiber optics, communications satellites.
A revolution in wireless communication began in the first decade of the 20th century with the pioneering developments in radio communications by Guglielmo Marconi, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909, other notable pioneering inventors and developers in the field of electrical and electronic telecommunications. These included Charles Wheatstone and Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Edwin Armstrong and Lee de Forest, as well as Vladimir K. Zworykin, John Logie Baird and Philo Farnsworth; the word telecommunication is a compound of the Greek prefix tele, meaning distant, far off, or afar, the Latin communicare, meaning to share. Its modern use is adapted from the French, because its written use was recorded in 1904 by the French engineer and novelist Édouard Estaunié. Communication was first used as an English word in the late 14th century, it comes from Old French comunicacion, from Latin communicationem, noun of action from past participle stem of communicare "to share, divide out.
Homing pigeons have been used throughout history by different cultures. Pigeon post had Persian roots, was used by the Romans to aid their military. Frontinus said; the Greeks conveyed the names of the victors at the Olympic Games to various cities using homing pigeons. In the early 19th century, the Dutch government used the system in Sumatra, and in 1849, Paul Julius Reuter started a pigeon service to fly stock prices between Aachen and Brussels, a service that operated for a year until the gap in the telegraph link was closed. In the Middle Ages, chains of beacons were used on hilltops as a means of relaying a signal. Beacon chains suffered the drawback that they could only pass a single bit of information, so the meaning of the message such as "the enemy has been sighted" had to be agreed upon in advance. One notable instance of their use was during the Spanish Armada, when a beacon chain relayed a signal from Plymouth to London. In 1792, Claude Chappe, a French engineer, built the first fixed visual telegraphy system between Lille and Paris.
However semaphore suffered from the need for skilled operators and expensive towers at intervals of ten to thirty kilometres. As a result of competition from the electrical telegraph, the last commercial line was abandoned in 1880. On 25 July 1837 the first commercial electrical telegraph was demonstrated by English inventor Sir William Fothergill Cooke, English scientist Sir Charles Wheatstone. Both inventors viewed their device as "an improvement to the electromagnetic telegraph" not as a new device. Samuel Morse independently developed a version of the electrical telegraph that he unsuccessfully demonstrated on 2 September 1837, his code was an important advance over Wheatstone's signaling method. The first transatlantic telegraph cable was completed on 27 July 1866, allowing transatlantic telecommunication for the first time; the conventional telephone was invented independently by Alexander Bell and Elisha Gray in 1876. Antonio Meucci invented the first device that allowed the electrical transmission of voice over a line in 1849.
However Meucci's device was of little practical value because it relied upon the electrophonic effect and thus required users to place the receiver in their mouth to "hear" what was being said. The first commercial telephone services were set-up in 1878 and 1879 on both sides of the Atlantic in the cities of New Haven and London. Starting in 1894, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi began developing a wireless communication using the newly discovered phenomenon of radio waves, showing by 1901 that they could be transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean; this was the start of wireless telegraphy by radio. Voice and music had little early success. World War I accelerated the development of radio for military communications. After the war, commercial radio AM broadcasting began in the 1920s and became an important mass medium for entertainment and news. World War II again accelerated development of radio for the wartime purposes of aircraft and land communication, radio navigation and radar. Development of stereo FM broadcasting of radio