We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What Is Forward Error Correction?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 16, 2024

Forward error correction is a method of data transmission that allows receivers to detect and repair many kinds of errors in the information automatically. The process does not require communication with the transmitter. Instead, receivers independently manage errors, when possible. In situations where data becomes hopelessly corrupted, it may be necessary to request a retransmission to get a clean copy to use.

The process starts at the transmitter, which adds some extra bits to the message. The nature of the redundant data can vary, depending on the approach used to add data; some options include algebraic coding, the Viterbi decoding algorithm, and convolutional coding. These create a pattern that the receiver can recognize and use to check the rest of the data.

If the transmission is clean, the check will show that there are no errors, and the receiver can deliver the data to the user. In the event there is a problem, the receiver uses forward error correction to compare the known redundant data against the apparently corrupted information and uses this analysis to fix the corrupted data and generate an output for the user. If the receiver cannot correct the error, it may indicate that the data is too corrupt, or it could include blank spots where it was not possible to restore the information.

One advantage to forward error correction is that a transmitter can send out a burst of data to as many receivers are available, all at once. The receivers do not need to handshake with the transmitter, and are not tied up with responses to its transmissions. It also can reduce loads on the system, as requests to resend data can quickly eat up bandwidth and may delay other transmissions. Adding redundant information to transmissions, however, can also clog bandwidth. Designers need to consider this when they develop a forward error correction technique because they want to send enough extra data for receivers to use, without overloading the system.

A basic framework for forward error correction technology has been around since the beginning of the 20th century, with transmissions over radio. Considerable research into this topic was performed in the 1940s and 1950s. Companies continue to develop new ways of efficiently transmitting accurate data with the lowest possible bandwidth load. Bandwidth demands are on the rise in many regions, which means that this can be an important consideration in transmission algorithms.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a EasyTechJunkie researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.