Telecommunication systems use electronic signals to communicate information. Telecommunication systems also use a variety of compatible hardware and software to enable communications. Digital technology has made telecommunication systems an important part of daily life for most people. Required components of telecommunication systems include signals, communication channels and communications networks.
Modern telecommunications systems can transmit video, voice, graphic images and text information. The components required to transmit information include computers to process information, terminals to send and receive data, processors and software. The support system of a telecommunication system helps to ensure the safety of data transmission. Additionally, telecommunication systems require failsafe, redundant components to ensure round-the-clock operation.
The data traveling through a telecommunications system uses analog and digital electromagnetic signals. The analog signal is a continuous waveform used for voice communication that goes through a communication medium. Digital signals, on the other hand, transmit data coded as one bits and zero bits or on-off electric pulses. Computers communicate using digital signals. Whenever a computer needs to communicate over an analog line it needs a modem to translate the signals. A modem translates analog signals into digital and digital signals into analog.
The transmission of information over a telecommunications system also requires communication channels. Communication channels use different mediums to transmit information from one device to another. The speed in which the information flows depends on the transmission media. High-speed transmission is more expensive because the infrastructure to support the high-speed transmission costs more than the infrastructure used to support low-speed transmission. Examples of media used for transmission include wireless, fiber optics, coaxial cable and twisted wire.
Telecommunication networks provide a variety of functions and receive a classification based on their geographic capacity and the type of service they provide. The topology of a network and the network connections indicate how a specific network performs its tasks. The most recognized topologies are star, bus and ring networks. The star network uses a central computer connected to different terminals or small computers. The bus network uses a single circuit to link computers. The ring network, on the other hand, is the most independent type of network and does not rely on a central host computer.