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Know The Lingo — What Is Baseband?

By: , CTS-D
Technology Evangelist — C2G

Technical lingo is a kind of shorthand that's used to express concepts common to that specific topic or area of study. Technical lingo is important because it provides a very precise or unique "shorthand" description of a device, effect or concept. Unfortunately, if you aren't comfortable and familiar with the lingo of a topic it can be a tall hurdle to communicate efficiently with folks who consider the jargon of their field to be "self-explanatory." In this series of articles we'll lift the veils of misunderstanding from the lingo of the A/V industry.


On our way to understanding some of the more complex terms and concepts used in the A/V discipline, we need to stop and refresh our familiarity with fundamental concepts. Building on the idea of baud, here we will discuss baseband. This will help lay a framework for us to better understand and explain HDBaseT, HDBaseT Lite and other state of the art concepts. We may hear the term "baseband" thrown about, as in "we need to run this as a baseband connection." But what does that really mean?

In A/V and other telecommunications applications, baseband is an adjective that describes signals and systems whose range of frequencies is measured from close to zero hertz (zero cycles per second) to an upper cut-off frequency that represents the maximum bandwidth or highest signal frequency of that particular system. Think of the connection as a bucket and then imagine that a baseband signal fills the bucket from the bottom (close to zero) up to some maximum amount.

Examples of baseband signals include line-level analog audio and video signals, RS232 control signals, and LAN signals like those used on your office IT network. LAN stands for the "local area network" that connects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building using network media. We may even refer to a LAN network as operating at "100BASE-TX" (Fast Ethernet; 100 Mbit/s) or "1000BASE-T" (Gigabit Ethernet; 1Gbit/s). The fastest LAN systems are now operating at 10GBASE-T (10 Gigabit Ethernet). The word "base" in this context tells us that this is a "baseband" signal.

One of the most important new baseband signals in the A/V industry is HDBaseT. Now you know that the word "base" tells us that this is a baseband signal!

This white paper is for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. C2G makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information found in this document.