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Telecom Basics
by Lawrence Harte.
Table of Contents
Telecom Basics, Second EditionPrefaceChapter 1- Introduction to TelecommunicationsChapter 2- Signal FundamentalsChapter 3- Signal ProcessingChapter 4- Transmission SystemsChapter 5- SwitchingChapter 6- SignalingChapter 7- ProtocolsChapter 8- NetworksChapter 9- SystemsChapter10- Voice over Data NetworksChapter11- ServicesChapter12- Call Processing
Chapter 1:
Introduction to Telecommunications
Telecommunication systems and services involve the transfer of some type of information fromone point to another. Telecommunication may consist of the transfer of voice, data, video mediaand telecommunication systems may combine and control this media in many ways.Telecommunications technologies and systems are designed to reliably transfer informationbetween the originating source of the information and the intended destination(s). Certain types ofcommunication systems are designed to effectively transfer specific types of information.Although these systems may be capable of other types of telecommunications services (e.g.voice and data), other types of communication systems may be better choices. For example,mobile telephone system is very good at transferring voice information, but not very capable ofhandling video.Telecommunications systems are characterized as being made up of end user equipment,access lines, interconnection equipment, and a coordinating (controlling) structure. Examples ofend user equipment are telephone handsets, computer terminals, or pagers. These devicescommunicate with a telecommunication network through access lines and/or access points.Access systems can be interconnected with each other to form large networks. Control systemsare responsible for authorizing access to the system, managing network resources, andmeasuring usage for billing and accounting purposes.Some communication networks that have been traditionally used for non-telecommunicationservices have evolved to provide voice services. For example, cable television systems now offerhigh-speed Internet services and it is relatively simple to upgrade these two-way data networks tooffer voice services.
Key Telecommunications Services
Telecommunications services can be divided into three key categories; voice, data, and video.Each of these categories has specific characteristics such as maximum transmission delay time,minimum and maximum transmission rates, and acceptable transmission error types and rates.Voice services involves the receiving of audio signals, processing audio signals into variousformats (analog and digital), storing and transporting these signals, and converting the signalsback into a form that is similar to its original form. The characteristics of voice networks are verysmall transmission delay (below 100 msec typical), maximum of 64 kbps for each digital voicechannel, and reasonable tolerance to errors. Examples of voice services are Telephony, VoiceMessaging, Call Processing, and Computer and Telephony Integration, CTI.Data services provide transport of digital information from one point to one or more points. Thecharacteristics of data networks are moderate transmission delays (above 1 sec may beacceptable), minimum of 28 kbps for each dial-up digital customer and 1 Mbps for eachbroadband customer, and very low tolerance to errors. Examples of data services includeswitched connections (circuit switched channels / dial-up), dedicated lines (leased lines/circuits),packet switching (e.g. Internet), and multicast and broadcast (one to many) data transfer.Video services transport high information content signals (video) from one point to one or morepoints. The characteristics of video networks are very long transmission delay (above 15 secondsfor digital broadcast acceptable), minimum of 1 Mbps for each digital video channel (3.2 Mbps forDVD), and reasonable tolerance to errors. Examples of video services include television, closedcircuit TV (CCTV), video on demand (VOD), videoconferencing, and interactive multimedia.
Basic Communications Systems
A basic communications system consists of end user equipment, network access connections,network interconnection devices (e.g. switches) and a control system that coordinates thenetwork. A carrier or service provider is company that is engaged in transferring electrical signalsor messages for hire through one or more telecommunications systems.Customers (users) request and may receive telecommunications services from thetelecommunications network. Because customers request and receive services, a customer issometimes called a service subscriber or end user. A telecommunications service provider offerscommunications for a fee directly to the public, or to such classes of users as to be effectivelyavailable directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.A network operator is a provider of telecommunication services. A network operator manages thenetwork equipment parts of a communications system to allow authorized customers to transferand/or process information via the network. The network operator may provide services directly toend customers or may only manage network equipment and another company (service provider)may manage the provision of services to customers.Figure 1.1shows a basic telecommunications system. This diagram shows various types of end-user equipment that allow customers to access one or more communication systems via anaccess network. The access network links the customer (usually by copper wire, coax or fiber) toa communication network. Communication networks connect end-users to other end-users orinformation services. Different types of networks may be interconnected to each other. Eachnetwork must have some form of intelligence that controls the network.
Figure 1.1:
Basic Telecommunication SystemEnd-user equipment converts various types of information from a user (such as audio orcomputer data) into a signal that can be transferred via a communications system. Since the late1800’s, different types of systems had very specific types of end user devices. For example,public telephone systems have a telephone, data communication systems have a channel serviceunit (CSU), and wireless systems have a mobile telephone. As technology has evolved, end userequipment devices began to combine functionality. This can be found in voice telephone systemsthat can transfer digital data by using a modulator/demodulator (modem).Access connections are the link between the end user equipment and the wide area network,WAN, owned by the service provider. Access connections can be provided via pairs of copperwires, radio links, or fiber connections. Twisted pairs of copper wires can carry low frequencyaudio signals such as voice and high-speed digital signals (e.g., 11 Mbps DSL). Radio accesscan carry low speed information signals (such as wide area cellular) or can be high-speed datatransmission (such as microwave directional signals). Each strand of fiberopitic cable (and theremay be several hundred fibers per cable) can carry more than 1 Terabit per second of data(1,000,000 million bits per second).Interconnection systems connect of all the various types of equipment. Interconnection systemsmay include signal taps, splitters, bridges, gateways, switches, and routers to move theinformation from one part of the network to another along its path between originating anddestination points. The interconnection can be completely dumb such as the form of signal tapsand splitters that only direct part of the signal energy to multiple points. Some interconnectiondevices such as bridges and gateways adapt the format of the information to another form (e.g.,different packet length or type of packet) between dissimilar networks. Active devices such asswitches and routers can direct signals from one source to various other paths depending on callsetup information (e.g., telephone number) or an address contained in a data packet (such as asignal router that transfers Internet packets of data).System control and coordination functions ensure that the various resources of the network arecoordinated in their actions by detecting equipment and network status. Commands are issued todirect the various network elements in order to configure the network parts and to maintain a highlevel of network service. Network operators can centrally coordinate system control or multiplenetwork operators can independently and dynamically control it. An example of a centrallymanaged control system is the signaling system number 7 (SS7) packet control system thatcoordinates the public telephone network. The SS7 network contains packet switching points anddatabases that are controlled by the public telephone network operators. Distributed networkcontrol is demonstrated by how the Internet is dynamically managed. The Internet is composed ofthousands of independent networks that use intelligent routing devices within each network toforward packets throughout the Internet.
End User Equipment
End user equipment, (often called “terminals”) are the interface between the customer and thenetwork. Terminals may translate electrical or optical signals to forms understandable by peopleor may be translation devices for other electronic equipment (such as computers).

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