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Understanding Telecommunications: What are Telecommunications?

written by: AlexisW•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/21/2010

The answer to the question of what is telecommunication has changed dramatically with the advent of new technology. While the basics still apply, the definition of telecommunication has expanded to many new mediums. Find out more here.

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    Definition of Telecommunication

    The definition of telecommunications is rather broad. Telecommunication involves the transmission of information over long distances, often, but not always, through using electronic aids. Generally, any assisted communication in which there is a sender and a receiver is considered telecommunication. One person can act as the receiver or a multitude of people can act as the receiver. The mechanism by which the information is transmitted can be any type of mechanism, including primitive transmission devices, cables, wires, analog signals or digital signals.

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    What is Telecommunications?

    Telegraph Poles 

    Telecommunication enables people to communicate over long distances. When you telephone your grandmother, you are using a form of telecommunication. The Internet, television, and radio are all means of telecommunication. Telecommunication can exist on open networks in which anyone can have access or on closed networks in which only certain people can send and receive data. These networks are made up of a collection of transmitters (devices used to send the message) and receivers (devices used to receive the message).

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    Basics of Telecommunication

    Telecommunication begins when a person sends or transmits a signal. While many people think of telecommunication as electronics, this is not always the case. Very early forms of telecommunication may have included the use of snare drums, smoke signals, or even carrier pigeons. All of these were devices that helped people to transmit information over longer distances then they would have been able to without telecommunication. Telecommunication has advanced a great deal since the snare drum and carrier pigeon. Some of the earliest forms of electronic telecommunication include the telephone, telegraph and radio. Telephones and telegraphs used wired connections and were slow to catch on at first. Radio used analog signals and transmitted information over the airwaves.

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    Telecommunication Devices

    New inventions and devices have made telecommunication reach new heights. With the advent of television, more information was made available than ever before. Like radio, television signals were originally transmitted in analog format. However, in February of 2009, the government mandated that all television signals begin being transmitted in digital. Thus, the method in which this generations old form of telecommunication works is still evolving. The Internet, cellular telephone service, and wireless networks have also changed the way in which telecommunication works. These devices allow many more people to transmit data and make it easier than ever to receive data no matter where you are.

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    Popularity of Telecommunication Devices

    Cell Phones 

    In large part, the usefulness of a telecommunication device depends upon how popular that device is. For example, a television is not useful unless enough people own one that someone wants to broadcast on it. The more people who own a television, the more advantageous it becomes to send messages through this medium and the more people begin transmitting data over the medium. This example is demonstrated even more clearly by the telephone and the Internet. If no one had a telephone, then owning one would provide little utility since there would be no one to call. If everyone has a telephone, on the other hand, the telecommunications device becomes a necessity. Likewise, with the Internet, the more people who were able to produce and receive content, the more valuable a form of telecommunication it became. Thus, the basics of telecommunication involve understanding that for a network to thrive as a means of communicating, it must grow.

Understanding Telecommunications

The field of telecommunications is vast and exciting. Understanding telecommunications involves knowing what telecommunications are, how telecommunication has advanced or evolved, and what your telecommunications options are for your own home office. Find out the answers to all these questions here.
  1. Understanding Telecommunications: What are Telecommunications?
  2. Understanding Telecommunications: Advantages
  3. Understanding Telecommunications - Home Office Options