In telecommunications, direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) is a spread spectrum modulation technique used to reduce overall signal interference. The spreading of this signal makes the resulting wideband channel more noisy, allowing for greater resistance to unintentional and intentional interference.
A method of achieving the spreading of a given signal is provided by the modulation scheme. With DSSS, the message signal is used to modulate a bit sequence known as a Pseudo Noise (PN) code; this PN code consists of a radio pulse that is much shorter in duration (larger bandwidth) than the original message signal.
This modulation of the message signal scrambles and spreads the pieces of data, and thereby resulting in a bandwidth size nearly identical to that of the PN sequence. In this context, the duration of the radio pulse for the PN code is referred to as the chip duration.
The smaller this duration, the larger the bandwidth of the resulting DSSS signal; more bandwidth multiplexed to the message signal results in better resistance against interference.
Some practical and effective uses of DSSS include the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) channel access method and the IEEE 802.11b specification used in Wi-Fi networks.