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What is forward error correction?

By: Matt Nelson on January 16th, 2013

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What is forward error correction?

ethernet bridge  |  wireless  |  outdoor ethernet  |  wireless digital signage

Forward error correction (FEC) is a technique used to improve data integirty and througput across a wired or wireless link.  Foward error correction simply defined is the duplication of data being sent to insure a complete set of data is recieved.  If some of the data is lost but the data sent was duplicated then a digital system does not need to request the data multiple times in order to construct the data set.  Wireless ethernet networks assume that some data bits will be lost in transmission and commonly request data to be resent which can impact performance.  Forward error correction is one technique used to reduce the number of retransmissions needed to complete a data transfer.  When wireless signals encounter interference and error correction is employed the typical result is that transmission of data can continue verses an abrupt loss of link as illustrated in the graph below.

FEC illustration resized 600