noun \ˈmō-dəm also -ˌdem\

: a device that changes the form of electric signals so that information can be sent through telephone lines from one computer to another computer

Full Definition of MODEM

:  a device that converts signals produced by one type of device (as a computer) to a form compatible with another (as a telephone)

Origin of MODEM

modulator + demodulator
First Known Use: circa 1952

Other Telecommunications Terms

Ethernet, intercept



Definition of MODEM

transitive verb
:  to send (as data) via a modem

First Known Use of MODEM


Other Telecommunications Terms

Ethernet, intercept


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Electronic device that converts digital data into analog (modulated-wave) signals suitable for transmission over analog telecommunications circuits (e.g., traditional phone lines) and demodulates received analog signals to recover the digital data transmitted. The “modulator/demodulator” thus makes it possible for existing communications channels to support a variety of digital communications, including e-mail, Internet access, and fax transmissions. An ordinary modem, operating over traditional phone lines, has a data transmission speed limit of about 56 kilobits per second. ISDN lines allow communications at over twice that rate, and cable modems and DSL lines have transmission rates of over a million bits per second.


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