Basic Telecommunications Signalling

The demands put on telecommunications signalling system keep changing. Signalling is a very vital part of telecommunications and has a number of characteristics that it needs to exhibit. A signalling system must be able to cope with large numbers of calls or requests at one time without becoming noticeably slower. At the same time, the cost of running the signalling system must not detract from a carrier’s ability to make money.

The system must be reliable and always be available for use. As components or individual messages can fail, the system as a whole must contain devices and procedures for recovering from problem areas.

One deficiency of early signalling systems based on tones was that it was very hard to adapt them to new requirements. This problem ran on into Signalling System #6 which was also a computer protocol but designed for absolute bandwidth efficiency; it was not easily capable of extension. Thus Signalling System #7 was born.

Between PABXs we often use DPNSS which stands for Digital Private Network Signalling System. This protocol is used on digital trunk lines for connecting two PABXs. It supports a limited set of inter-networking facilities based on the ISDN protocol. This protocol has been defined by BT

A subscriber and telephone company notify each other of call status with audible tones and an exchange of electrical current. This exchange of information is called supervisory signaling. There are three different types of supervisory signaling:

On Hook – When the handset rests on the cradle, the circuit is on hook. The switch prevents current from flowing through the telephone. Regardless of the signaling type, a circuit goes on hook when the handset is placed on the telephone cradle and the switch hook is toggled to an open state. This prevents the current from flowing through the telephone. Only the ringer is active when the telephone is in this position.

On Hook – When the handset is removed from the telephone cradle, the circuit is off hook. The switch hook toggles to a closed state, causing circuit current to flow through the electrical loop. The current notifies the telephone company equipment that someone is requesting to place a telephone call. When the telephone network senses the off-hook connection by the flow of current, it provides a signal in the form of a dial tone to indicate that it is ready.

Ringing – When a subscriber makes a call, the telephone sends voltage to the ringer to notify the other subscriber of an inbound call. The telephone company also sends a ringback tone to the caller alerting the caller that it is sending ringing voltage to the recipient telephone. Although the ringback tone sounds similar to ringing, it is a call-progress tone and not part of supervisory signaling.

The Digital Subscriber Signalling System No.1 (DSS1) is a suite of protocols that provides the means for users to invoke the full range of services and capabilities available from the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

The Q.931 standard defines a protocol that takes care of these services. This protocol is located at the third, that is, at the network layer of the OSI protocol stack. All the above mentioned signalling is achieved through the D-channel defined by the ISDN standard. Q.931 will use this channel for setting up the wanted connection. As stated in the OSI reference model, higher protocol layers depend on the services provided by lower layers. Thus Q.931 is requesting services from the data-link layer which resides at layer two. The Q.921 standard defines a protocol that can be called a Data-Link Service Provider (DLSP). Q.931 is thus the data-link service user (DLSU). Q.921 is also better known as LAPD, as in Link Access Protocol D-channel. Service requests that come from the above layers are packed in LAPD frames and are sent through the network. All Q.931 messages are built up by a certain message body.

Signalling System Number 7 (SS7) is a set of signalling protocols developed for telephony in 1975, which is used to set up, maintain and tear down telephone calls. It is also used for a number of other functions and features such as:

Local Number Portability

Number Translation

SMS (Short Message Service)

Prepaid Billing

It is referred to by a number of abbreviations such as CCSS7 (Common Channel Signalling System 7) and C7 (CCITT number 7), The International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee.

The SS#7 model uses the concept of layers to separate the different functions, however, the structure predates the adoption of the OSI model and there are only 4 layers. Circuit and Non-circuit components are shown, including the overlap where ISUP uses both. There are other non-circuit related top protocols such as MAP (Mobile application Part) By being open ended, SS#7 can be extended for new requirements

Comcast Cable Blurs Boundaries Between Different Telecommunications Services

Because most people deal with Comcast Cable only for their cable television service, the company is most associated with cable television. However, though Comcast is the nation’s leading cable television company, it also offers its customers many other telecommunications options. These include such services as phone service and high speed Internet, which are delivered in the same high quality associated with its cable programming. All of the services together create a convenient way for customers to get their basic telecommunications needs through one company.

Cable television through Comcast is renowned for its quality and selection. There are many programming package options that all offer On Demand programming, over 45 channels of digital music, and local channels. At the entry-level of programming packages, the Enhanced Cable with On Demand package offers a wide variety of channels with all of the aforementioned features and benefits. The next level is the Digital Classic programming package, which, in addition to all the features of the smaller package, also has over 200 digital television channels. At the On Demand Silver Plus package level, the selection increases even more with thirty extra channels including your selection of one of the premium movie channels like HBO, Starz, Showtime, The Movie Channel, or Cinemax. If you want another premium movie channel, the On Demand Gold package is a good choice because it offers two of these channels, plus all the benefits of the Silver level. For the movie lover who wants the most choices, the On Demand Platinum Plus level is the favored package with its inclusion of all six premium movie channels.

With any of these Comcast packages, even the entry level ones, a digital receiver is also included. The fact that only digital receivers and programming are offered ensures the best quality television and the most convenience for the viewer. Digital television is worlds ahead of analog television in terms of the features it can offer and the quality of the viewing experience. With digital cable, features like interactive on-screen program guides and Parental Controls allow viewers to have the most control over their television. Combined with the improved resolution and sound quality, it is clear that offering only digital television sets Comcast apart from other cable providers.

In addition to its cable television offering, Comcast is an attractive service provider because of its telephone services and high speed Internet. Comcast is an especially attractive choice for telephone service because it eliminates all the extra charges inherent in normal telephone service. For one low monthly bill, you can get unlimited local and long distance, plus features like call waiting, voice mail, and Caller ID.

Cable’s Broadband cable Internet service is also a great choice for high speed Internet access. Download speeds can be over 100 times as fast as a dial up connection, making it easy and quick to get information and entertainment online. Especially for data-intensive downloads, like music and videos, broadband Internet service is extremely important as dial-up connections often take hours to complete even relatively small downloads. Comcast’s broadband Internet also has the advantage of keeping your computers continuously online without tying up your telephone line. This ensures the maximum convenience and ease of use for online interactions and eliminates the fear of missing important phone calls while being online.

With a wide variety of services and many benefits, Comcast is a good choice for a cable company to consolidate all your entertainment and telecommunications needs. The current Comcast promotions are terrific. It is time to switch to the best cable company with the best cable deals.

Julia Hall writes articles for consumers who want to find the latest technology news as well as digital telephone service []. She has written for many major publications about HIgh Speed Internet and Digital Cable TV [] and how buyers can find the best deals. Let her show you how you can maximize your communications dollar without sacrificing quality and you’ll find out that Comcast [] is the cable service provider of the future for you.

Addicted to Laptops and Other Forms of Digital Communication

Holidays are supposed to represent time off from routine day-to-day living. Going away for a holiday used to indicate a willingness to sever all ties with the workday life, including daily telephone calls from random friends and family. Holidays were a complete break designed to allow tired, stressed and over-worked employees time to recharge, unwind and relax before heading back to the hurly-burly pace of the work place. But wireless digital communication devices have put an end to all of that. These days’ people are accessible no matter where they are or what they’re doing. People panic if they find that they’ve left their mobile phones at home, because heaven forbid they miss a call or a text message. Whereas being out of contact used to be the ideal, it’s now considered a nightmare.

According to a recent poll by AP-Ipsos, one in five people couldn’t bear to be separated from their laptops during their last holiday and 80% of holiday-makers couldn’t part with their cell phones. To be fair, not all of those who took their laptops and phones with them on holiday used them for work purposes. Many (50%) simply checked their personal emails and voice mail to stay in the social loop. But 19% of people polled said that they worked on their holiday, 20% said that they checked work related voice mail messages, 15% said that they called in to see how things were going and around 40% said that they checked their work emails.

Not surprisingly more young people (younger than 40) hauled their digital baggage with them. 15% of those aged 50 – 64 took their digital devices with them, compared to 25% of under-40s. People under 40 were more likely to check personal messages, while those who checked work related messages tended to be slightly older. Of those who are digitally addicted, white men are the biggest culprits, as were those with high levels of education and high salary rates, which probably reflects the degree of responsibility or obligation felt by these individuals.

Geoffrey Godbey, professor of leisure studies at Penn State University, Pennsylvania, says that men in their late 40s and early 50s tend to be middle managers and feel that they simply can’t afford to be out of the corporate loop. They feel that in today’s’ competitive business world a holiday is a luxury that they can ill afford. Although some genuinely love what they do, so staying involved is no hardship. The key question is whether people work on holiday because they really want to or because they feel they are obligated to.

While all of this is very alarming, especially for those who don’t work on their holidays (and may now feel pressured to do so), the most frightening statistic from the poll revealed that only 7 in 10 women and 5 in 10 men read a book while on holiday. The fact that literature is taking second place to electronics should be of far greater concern to the masses than the psychoses of workaholics.
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The Benefits of Digital Communication Agency

A digital communications agency helps to develop a communication link between a company and its clients by utilizing digital media. As the digital media is a rapidly evolving medium, the communication solution must offer a range of services that help you connect with your audience.

The communication solutions agency can offer various solutions such as developing rich media, building mobile apps, e-learning and m-learning applications as well as interactive advertisements. While developing the communication solutions, the agency must understand its clients’ identity as well as requirements. While developing an interactive advertising solution, it should be designed such that the consumers and customers must fully grasp the message without any misunderstanding.

In the learning domain, the media solutions must encourage the learners to develop interest in the subject matter. In developing a learning solution, care is to be taken that the learners are equipped to access and understand the learning solution. Thus, there exists a need in setting a perfect sync between accessibility and content. Learner analysis or audience analysis thus forms the basis of a communication agency’s development strategy. Engaging learners and consumers forms the crucial step in developing a communication experience.

In any medium of communication, barriers are inherent. These barriers reduce the efficacy of the communication solution and may misinform or confuse the audience. While developing a learning or advertising solution, effective steps should be taken to overcome communication barriers. Barriers in advertising can be overcome by keeping in mind, the physical, emotional, cultural, gender and language concerns of the audience. In the field of learning solutions, the barriers of accessibility, motivation and literacy can cause disenchantment among the learners. A successful communication strategy addresses and minimizes the effects of barriers, thus effectively helping the message to connect with the audience.

The communication solutions can be offered over digital, graphic and social media. An effective brand experience can be leveraged if the agency is able to simultaneously cover all forms of digital media. In any form of communication, involving the audience is more effective than passive communication. When the learners or the consumers are pro-actively engaged through a suitable medium of communication, the message is easily preserved.

Communication solutions should communicate the complete brand identity in a clear and concise manner. Cutting across confusion, any solution should make the audience experience and feel the message. Informative websites and internet communication help the audience to instantly connect with an organization. Learning solutions employing 2D and 3D animations help to maintain the attention of the learner and provide learning solutions in an appealing manner. As technology becomes personalized, the communication solutions must keep pace with it. iPads, iPhones or Blackberry devices take mobile portability to another level and any communication via this medium should appeal and enthuse the users. Thus, any communication solutions developed that works on the principle of “Audience first” is a winning solution. As the frontiers of information and technology expand, learning and advertising communication solutions have a greater role to play for organizations in the future.

DECT Phones Taking Digital Communication to a New Level!

DECT phones are attached to one single base station and usually with a single handset that you can take around the small are (most DECT phones have range up to 300 meter) and it will function smoothly without a cord. A few of the DECT phones also allow more than one cordless handsets to be used in different rooms or section of your office or home.

The Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications technology originated in the Europe and was meant to cater to the ever increasing need of workplaces to have several phone lines and the added advantage of intercom facilities within these lines. And the ever occurring need to have cordless extensions allowing people that much mobility and flexibility. Of course, you can have quite a number of people connected with each other with such a single DECT phone.

In lay man’s language, it can be said that DECT refers to the digital communication standards that allows for the creation of cordless phone systems. In Europe, Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology basically replaced the earlier used cordless phone standards 900 MHz CT1 and CT. With passing time, DECT phones have become entrenched in countries outside of Europe. Now, most countries including Australia, several other countries in Asia have adopted the Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications technology. Here North America is a significant exception as the earlier digital communication technologies are still the norm. This mainly due to USA having a different set of digital frequency range.

Elsewhere, DECT is more than entrenched with countries like India, Australia, Singapore, etc easily adopting it and even making further enhancements on the same. So you have DECT being expanded to suit not just small offices, enterprises and homes but also large businesses. This has been possible basically because of the successful merger of DECT with EPBX systems.

There are obviously some positive features of using the DECT phones. Besides the obvious one of being able to use cordless phones within a specified area. These include the fact that you can have several lines fed from a single phone line. DECT is found to be ideal in congested office or domestic areas where several lines and radio waves and Wi-Fi are bound to clash with the phone waves.

I Have Seen the Future of PR – Integrated Digital Communications

The continuing explosion of content creation tools in cyberspace has me feeling both nostalgic and prophetic these days. It’s an odd combination, I grant you, but hear me out. I suspect many of you are seeing the same thing and are having the same experiences.

Way back in the bad old days of the 1980s, when hair was big and glam metal was bigger, aspiring young communicators and marketers began learning a new discipline: Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC. While practitioners have tried to sex up the definition of IMC in recent years to include social media, cell phones, the Internet, etc., the fact remains that when it was conceived, IMC contemplated one-way communication, primarily through advertising or direct mail, supported by a limited interpretation of public relations and a smattering of point of purchase or other marketing disciplines that barely resemble their descendants (such as guerrilla marketing or street marketing).

When IMC was conceived, MTV was in its infancy, CNN was still a toddler and Fox News hadn’t even been sketched out by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch. The three over-the-air networks still ruled the marketing roost and the idea that an audience would talk back to someone practicing IMC with a response other than “Yes, yes, I will buy your product!” was a concept beyond imagining. Ah, the good old days. (Most of my nostalgia is directed at bands such as Queen or Poison, and not at one-way marketing).

As we prepare to enter the second decade of the 21st century, it’s time to retire Integrated Marketing Communications along with the bad hair and hair bands. Social media tools have changed the game. It’s all about the conversation now.

It’s time for a new paradigm, one I call Integrated Digital Communications. Like its predecessor, IDC contemplates the seamless use of a variety of tools to achieve communication or marketing objectives. The difference is that it’s a different world that demands different tools. For example, no one calls it “direct mail” any more, and fewer and fewer marketers use it. We have hundreds of cable channels with smaller audiences and thousands of cell phones with small screens and iPods and PDAs and netbooks and web cams and on and on.

In the place of printed phone books, direct mail postcards, or a limited selection of one-way, bombastic network ad vehicles, this exploding universe of social media tools, when used best, really do support each other. They are best when they are integrated – Twitter twinned with Facebook or LinkedIn driving traffic to a company’s HR page or, YouTube video to a contest, or in my business, the plethora of SEO-optimized press release wires driving traffic to a company web site, a YouTube video, or any one of these vehicles and vice versa.

The common denominator for all of these social media tools is that they crave content by the bucket load, and not just any content – the kind that drives the conversation. This is what PR, and PR practitioners, have been doing for decades.

In this new universe, PR is the only discipline properly equipped to create, deliver and manage content in the new social media universe.

They call it public relations because it’s about relationships. Forget spin and all that other crap wannabe practitioners and charlatans peddle at the bottom of the PR food chain. True public relations begins with conversations, which can lead to deeper dialogue, which can lead to long-term relationships.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter or YouTube or whatever other social media tool you might name, it’s about creating community, and that’s built through relationships. This is what public relations does better than any other communication or marketing discipline.

So what’s the next step for public relations and integrated digital communications? The content gap, if anything, is only yawning wider. In my experience, I find more and more often that clients “get” the social media concept as an engine in their public relations efforts and they are asking us to help.

How will this shift toward communities of conversation affect the overall communication or marketing world? The battle is on. Ad shops are buying social media shops. “Interactive” shops are becoming social media shops. Direct mail has become direct marketing, and guess what, direct marketing is a form of social media!

None of these disciplines, whatever they may call themselves, understand conversations. They are pipe people, technologists rather than communicators, or they are communicators in love with one-way bombast.

So as the fight to rename or reclaim traditional marketing territory moves into cyberspace, the demand for content grows. And as the demand for content that feeds conversation grows, so does the need for public relations and public relations practitioners who understand Integrated Digital Communications. Welcome to the brave new world. May the best conversationalists win!

Does Digital Communication Have Its Own MIND?

While there has been an ever increasing usage of various methods of digital communications, it is important for every leader to realize and understand that there are certain inherent dangers and the need for essential caveats. When these methods are used properly, they can be an effective and meaningful component in a leader’s skill set, but when they are either overly/ exclusively relied upon, or used haphazardly or without understanding needs or ramifications, they can create certain dangers and issues. We need to recognize that there is something I refer to as the MIND of digital communications: the risk of misunderstanding or being misconstrued; the often impersonal nature of these vehicles; the potential for false negative interpretations; and that lack and are devoid of two – way give and take (or real communication). Everyone utilizing digital communications (which includes things such as a website, social media, email, texts, etc.) must fully comprehend that communication requires parties speaking to, not at, each other!

1. Why are written words so often misconstrued and/ or misunderstood? The way we phrase things varies from individual to individual, especially from regional area to other areas, etc. In addition, there is far more to communicating than merely using words, but rather includes factors such as facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, etc. What may be written and meant as a sense of humor is often misconstrued by others!

2. What joins, motivates, inspires, and unites various members and constituents of any group or organization, is what is often referred to as the personal touch. However, the risk of overlying on digital methods is that it is impersonal by nature, and is followed more by certain groups, heritages, cultures, age group members, etc., than it is by others. Abandoning the older but more conventional methods of communicating often turns off those that more heavily rely on, and feel comfortable with, these age – old methods.

3. When we rely on getting our message across in this way, there is often the risk that others will put their own “spin” on what they see and read, which often may be significantly different than what is meant or intended. These negative interpretations often create a counterproductive environment, rather than the intended and hoped for, positive and unifying feeling.

4. True communication invariably depends on two – way give and take. While there are ways to create some degree of give and take with these methods, far too often, groups do not consider this need when they create their programs. Those that are devoid of interaction restrict their potential and effectiveness. Some areas that may be used to enhance the interactive abilities include: permitting, monitoring and responding to comments, questions, etc.; creating a live chat component; interspersing video, questions and answers, etc.

Leaders must understand that digital methods of communicating are here to stay, and will only become more prevalent in days and years to come. However, they should be focused, planned, and used in conjunction with face to face, more personal campaigns.

History of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

Before the coming of age of ISDN, original analogy telecommunication services, also known as Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) were the only source of telecommunication worldwide. POTS was the originally acronymic for Post Office Telephone Service/System but changed when post offices stopped offering telephone services. POTS comprised mainly of copper wires which linked the subscriber’s home to the central switch office. This form of telecommunication had its limitations. Long distance calls had to be routed through operators and switchboards which made them highly unreliable and time consuming. There was also the issue of static inference known as line noise which disturbed communication.

In the 1960s, the telecommunication industry began working on converting its analogue systems to transmit ‘packets’ of digitized data by digital switching. The United Nations’ International Telephone and Telegraph Consultative Committee (CCITT, French acronym), now known as International Telecommunications Union Telecommunications (ITU-T) actively pushed and encouraged the research for Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) by starting a movement to recommend and provide standards for international digitization of the telecommunication services. This was initiated in 1984.

Two major US networks, Northern Telecomm and AT&T took the first steps towards implementing ISDN, but it did not interoperate with existing equipments and software available to telecommunication networks, this led to a setback for ISDN worldwide. By 1990, due to a world wide effort, National ISDN 1 (NI-1) was made compatible with existing proprietary equipments for telecommunication services, this way people did not need to switch brand or buy software for the network. This set the standards and procedure for future digital telecommunication technology to be used by everyone.

ISDN has resulted in better voice quality and Internet access due to its packet-switch connection. With ISDN, voice and data are carried by a bearer channel (B channel) with a bandwidth of 64 kb/s, sometimes 56 kb/s as opposed to telephone line which carry 52 kb/s. A data channel (D channel) is used for controlling network services and signalling to construct, break connections and carry data over the bearer channels. This carries a bandwidth of 16 kb/s or 64 kb/s.

There are two services offered by ISDN. This is known as the BRI and PRI. BRI – Basic Rate Interface consists of two 64 kb/s bearer channels and one 16 kb/s data channel, totaling 144 kb/s; as the name implies, BRI usually has enough bandwidth for individual users. PRI – Primary Rate Interface is used for clients that require greater bandwidth. It usually comprised of 23 64 kb/s B channels and one 64 kb/s D channel, totaling 1.536 Mb/s. Sometimes, the PRI service can have 30 B channels and one D channel for a total of 1.984 Mb/s.

For now, the future of ISDN lies with Broadband ISDN (BISDN). This entails transferring data, voice and video all at the same time using fibre optic telephone line which can carry data rates from 155 Mb/s to 622 Mb/s and beyond. This is a major topic for research and development.