How Telephones Work

Telephones: Bandwidth

In order to allow more long-distance calls to be transmitted, the frequencies transmitted are limited to a bandwidth of about 3,000 hertz. All of the frequencies in your voice below 400 hertz and above 3,400 hertz are eliminated. That's why someone's voice on a phone has a distinctive sound. Compare these two voices:

You can prove that this sort of filtering actually happens by using the following sound files:

Call up someone you know and play the 1,000-hertz sound file on your computer. The person will be able to hear the tone clearly. The person will also be able to hear the 2,000- and 3,000-hertz tones. However, the person will have trouble hearing the 4,000-hertz tone, and will not hear the 5,000- or 6,000-hertz tones at all! That's because the phone company clips them off completely.

For lots more information on telephones, telephone networks and related technologies, check out the links below.

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