Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, January 2, 2013

There was a time in our history when the word "telecommunication" referred to the transmission of messages along an electrical telegraph wire using a dedicated language known at the time as “Morse Code. With the advent of the telephone, telecommunications came to mean the transmitting of human voices along the same or similar copper wire across the country in real time. Soon after, advances in modem technology allowed people to connect their personal computers to others located far away using the very same copper wire, and this forever changed the way people think about telecommunications technology. Copper wire can move analog voice and data signals at a rate of about 30 kilobits (30,000 bits) per second. This is very fast, but often not fast enough to meet the demand for rapid transfer of large amounts of data in the modern era.

Today, telephone companies can transmit voice traffic as a digital signal as opposed to analog. A significant amount of today’s digital traffic now travels over much faster fiber optic lines rather than copper wire. Large organizations like corporations and colleges often use dedicated lines to bring internet access to local networks. Leased lines deliver internet access directly from internet service providers to these organizations. For many of these situations, the mode of choice for dedicated internet delivery is the T1 connection.

A T1 line is capable of carrying 24 simultaneous voice channels, and if it is intended to be used for voice calls it can be plugged directly into the office phone system. If it is intended to move internet packets, it can be connected to the network's router. For email and general internet use, a T1 connection can easily handle hundreds of network users at the same time.

At present, telephone companies are the main providers of T1 access. This is because they own the most fiber networks, which are the most common means of providing T1 service. After entering a building, the fiber optic cable connects to a modem that converts the data stream to binary code (ones and zeroes) before it is compresses and re-directed through a router that splits and diverts the data stream to each of the workstations needing internet access.

Interestingly enough, the original idea behind T1 line technology was to permit large organizations to save money by diverting long distance phone calls and fax transmissions to a long distance carrier, thereby getting around the local phone company. The T1 could also connect the nodes of a wide area network owned by the same entity. When the internet boom occurred, however, the decision to implement T1 access became that much easier.

Some bandwidth providers permit individual or home customers to purchase just a portion of the available data channels within one T1 line. This product is called "fractional T1" service, and is sold in blocks of 56 KBPS (56,000 bits per second). The price of this service is influenced by the distance between the provider and the client, so the longer the provider needs to "drag a line," the more costly the plan. For individuals with particularly high date requirements, however, this can be an effective option.

Peter Griffith introduces the concept of the TI line being very useful for business broadband as well as carrying simultaneous voice channels for telecommunication

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