Types of Errors in Data Communication

By Mark Fitzpatrick

Data communication is the length of time it takes for computer information, or data, to travel to another place. This may include a computer system sending data to another server in a building or another server across the world. With data communications, there are some errors that may occur when the data travels through the computer channels.

Noise or Electrical Distortion

Depending on the length data travels, outside influences like sound waves or electrical signals can disrupt the flow of data in a computer system. This may be the result of the conductors that transmit the data across computers or software systems. Old conductors may be unable to handle heavy data traffic and physical interference from the environment in the form of noise or electricity that comes from nearby devices, like motors or power switches. One type of noise is especially harmful. Known as impulse noise, it is when energy surges through the transmission line, destroying most or all of the data communication.

Random Bit Errors

Random bit errors are complications that occur in the transmission of data. Bits are units of computer data, usually in the form of binary codes. A general definition of random bit errors are that these errors come in the form of disorganized bits in the transmission. For example, computer data sent over a transmission might have several thousand bits forming a long line of computer data bits to explain a computer command or information. However, there is a chance that the bits may be rearranged by accident in the transmission process. These random issues are the most common issues associated with random bit errors.

Burst Errors

Burst errors are considered large clumps of bit errors. Burst errors are similar to random bit errors; however, all random bit errors are isolated strains on a computer data code. Burst errors take place when there are several, inter-connected bit errors at once. The entire data chain in the computer communication may have several hundred or thousand bit errors, such as wrong placement order, throughout the chain. Because the error is interconnected, meaning there are several error codes throughout the chain, the data communication error is more complex than a simple random bit error.

Cross Talk and Echo

Cross talk is a term to describe how two different data communications may be synthesized together in a computer transmission. Usually, how this error occurs is when a computer line is sending data through a transmission cable that is surrounded by other transmission cables. As other data communication codes and bits go through the neighboring transmission lines, there is a high likelihood that data from other neighboring lines may cross into another line. Another type of error similar to cross talk is an echo. Like cross-talk, it is formed when conflicting data communications are merged together. However, echo is usually from a single transmission line where multiple computer ports are sending data communications through at once. Someone's data communication would echo into another's, resulting in a corruption of data.