I am trying to determine whether there is any relation between QAM and streaming (e.g., video streaming).

I know that QAM can be used for broadcast TV. I'm not sure if QAM is used for WiFi bit streams or whether streamed video may be sent using QAM.

I greatly appreciate any insight on this. Thanks!

  • $\begingroup$ There is not. Streaming is an application, and QAM is a modulation scheme to carry information, one of many. $\endgroup$
    – BlackMath
    Jul 9, 2019 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


QAM is a digital modulation scheme. As such it is one way of implementing a physical layer that allows to convey digital information over a given medium. QAM is frequently used in all kinds of systems, including wireless (cf. broadcast TV and yes, also WiFi) as well as wired (Ethernet uses some variations of QAM as well).

What kind of information you convey over this link does not matter to the physical layer. You could send documents, voice, videos, whatever you like, as long as you represent it in digital form. The physical layer does in general not need to know what kind of data is being sent by the application layer.

So yeah, if you want to stream video over some medium, chances are the physical layer uses QAM. If it happens to be an optical fiber, it might not, since optical modulation schemes work a bit differently. But you can view these two things more or less independently from each other.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Florian. That's a very thorough and helpful response. $\endgroup$
    – Enna
    Jul 10, 2019 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ Glad to hear it helped! Consider accepting the answer in case it solved your problem. ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Florian
    Jul 11, 2019 at 7:09

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