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If you work in the telecommunications industry, then you need this book as it will provide a quick reference for years to come.

Book Review: Telecommunications and Data Communications Handbook by Ray Horak

The world of telecommunications has changed over the past 20 years, and has changed dramatically. The speed in which it has changed has become difficult for even the most resolute and technically astute to keep up with. Copper wires have turned to glass fibers, the volume of data traffic exceeds voice traffic, and even data is no longer restricted to the computer; it can now be video, voice, or image data.

The goal of the Telecommunications And Data Communications Handbook is to provide a comprehensive overview of a wide range of communications systems and networks, including voice, data, video, and multimedia. It intends to do this by using understandable plain English, with a common sense basis for understanding system, and network technologies, their origins and evolutions, and the application that they serve.

Telecommunications And Data Communications Handbook is contained in 791 pages, 15 chapters, two appendixes, and is fully indexed. It seeks to provide a single source of information for those who need to understand communications networks.

Chapter 1, "Fundamentals of the Technology: Concepts and Definitions," provides a basic set of concepts, and the definitions that apply across telecommunications technology and networks. Chapter 2, "Fundamentals of Transmission Systems: Technologies and Applications," gives a detailed explanation of the essentials of transmission systems. These include wired and wireless, Free Space Optics, Fiber Optics, and Power line Carrier.

Chapter 3, "Voice Communications Systems: KTS, PBX, CENTREX, and ACD," talks about premises-based communications systems that primarily support voice applications, although they now include data and video communications as well. Chapter 4, "Messaging Systems," discusses electronic messaging technologies and systems. This includes e-mail, instant messaging, short message service, and other messaging systems.

Chapter 5, "Public Switched Telephone Network," explains conventional Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN). Here you will learn about the origin, evolution and nature of the traditional voice network. Chapter 6, "Fundamentals of Data Communications," starts the discussion of data communications by addressing fundamental concepts. These include data terminal and data communications equipment, communications software, and the network architecture is explained.

Chapter 7, "Conventional Digital and Data Networks," focuses on conventional digital and data networks which have been based on the voice networking model. They are presented roughly in order of deployment; DDS, Switched 56 and classic VPN, T-Carrier and E-Carrier, X.25 and Packet Switching, and ISDN. Chapter 8, "Local Area Networks: Connectivity and Internetworking" moves back from the WAN and into the realm of the LAN. Here topics such as routers, hubs, bridges, switches are presented, as are the TCP/IP protocols.

Chapter 9, "Broadband Network Infrastructure," begins the two chapters that cover broadband starting with the physical infrastructure. Chapter 10, "Broadband Network Services," continues the discussion on fast packet networks in the forms of Frame Relay (FR) and Asynchronous transfer mode (ATM). B-ISDN and AIN's conclude the chapter.

Chapter 11, "Wireless Networking: Emphasis on Mobility," explains the world of wireless communications of the special network alternatives variety. These include Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) and 2G, 2.5G, and 3G Cellular networks. Chapter 12, "Video and Multimedia Networking," covers the world of video and multimedia systems and networks. These put significant demands on the supporting networks, and the current broadband networks that are not yet fully deployed.

Chapter 13, "The Internet and the World Wide Web," explores the internet, its history, nature, and structure. Chapter 14, "Network Convergence," examines the coming together of voice, data, video, and entertainment networks. Chapter 15, "Regulation: Issues and (some) Answers," finishes the book with a tour of the regulations; both domestic and international, and how they affect the industry.

Appendix A, "Acronyms, Abbreviations, Contractions, Initialisms, and Symbols," contains every concoction that the telecommunications industry can come up with. Appendix B, "Standards Organizations and Special Interest Groups (SIGs)," is a listing of all the bodies that create standards for the telecommunications industry.

While Telecommunications And Data Communications Handbook may not be a book that will appeal to everyone, everyone in the telecommunications industry should read it. It provides a concise guide to the telecommunications industry and is written in a way that even non-technical types can understand.

If you have had to try to understand how Broadband network services work, or Frame Relays, or even mobile communications, then Telecommunications And Data Communications Handbook is the book for you. If you work in the telecommunications industry, then you need this book as it will provide a quick reference for years to come; at least till the second edition is released. I did say that this industry is rapidly changing didn't I.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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