Wire Systems in Telecommunication Research Paper

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Wired Communication

Wire Systems in Telecommunications: Historical Development, Current State, and Future Issues

The twentieth century has been a time of enormous and rapid advancement in telecommunications. The early nineteenth century saw the connection of the entire continent via phone and telegraph wires and by the close of the twentieth century cell phones and satellite communications had become standard technologies throughout the developed world, as ubiquitous as a horse and buggy had been a century ago. In between, technologies such as the radio, television, and the Internet had all done their part in changing the shape of telecommunications and thus bringing the world ever closer together. Understanding the development of telecommunications can help to lead to an understanding of the cultures and societies that used these technologies, and helps point towards the future trends and technologies that we can expect to develop in the field of telecommunications in future generations.

The past two decades have shown one trend that has promised to substantially change the telecommunications industry, and indeed such changes have already begun to take place in many regions. Instead of the many cables and long wires that have provided telecommunication services for all large-scale and efficient telecommunications systems throughout most of their development, telecommunications technologies are coming to depend increasingly on wireless technologies. Cell phones communicate wireless with cell phone towers, and from there to satellites and other towers; the Internet is distribute through wireless networks, and even satellite TV is becoming more common.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Paper on Wire Systems in Telecommunication Assignment

At the same time, there are few telecommunications systems that operate on a truly wireless basis. Wireless Internet networks still depend almost entirely on wired delivery to network nodes, cell phone towers include some level of wired connections with support technologies, and television services depend on wired delivery to some extent even for satellite services. Though wireless is the new catchphrase and is certainly a profound development in the way telecommunications services are provided and experienced, wired systems in telecommunications are still highly important for everyday use by private citizens and in large-scale governmental and business applications. This paper will briefly examine certain key aspects of the development, position, and issues facing wired telecommunications systems in this era of increasing wireless technologies and capabilities.

Historical Background

Samuel Morse first demonstrated the electric telegraph in 1844, and by 1851 there were already fifty-one independent telegraph companies operating in the world and many miles of telegraph wire connecting various important communication nodes throughout North American and Europe (von Alven 1998). The first trans-Atlantic cable was laid in 1867, Edison invented multiplex telegraphy in 1870, and six years later the telephone was invented (by whom is a matter of ongoing debate (von Alven 1998). By the dawn of the twentieth century, there are an estimated twenty-thousand telecommunications providers and just over eight-hundred and fifty-thousand telephones in service: the age of wired telecommunication had reached beyond its infancy (von Alven 1998).

Sustainability

Sustainability was not really seen as a major issue throughout much of the development of wired telecommunications systems, and the industry is still not especially focused on such issues; relative to many other industries, telecommunications companies are simply not threats to environmental resources or users of inordinate amounts of energy (Hoovers 2011). At the same time, the cost of maintaining extensive wire networks is quite substantial, which is one of many reasons that wireless technologies have begun to be viewed as preferable to older wired systems for telecommunication (Hoovers 2011). Sustainable development in wired telecommunications systems is something that is not likely to lead to a great deal of progress, as wire capacities cannot be substantially increased without shifting to entirely new materials such as fiber optics (von Alven 1998; IBIS 2011).

At the same time, there is some degree of sustainability found in the ability for the reuse of wires and many other parts of the infrastructure as they are replaced; the metals used in the construction of telecommunications wires are valuable in many different applications, including being repurposed into newer wires for the telecommunications industry (IBIS 2011). Expenses and resources for ongoing improvement and construction operations are somewhat offset by the reuse of these old materials, making wired telecommunications somewhat more sustainable (IBIS 2011). On the whole, however, there is very little that can be done to advance wired telecommunications in a truly sustainable fashion.

Planning Considerations

The lack of sustainability or a cheap and efficient way to move forward, increasing wired telecommunications performance without incurring the costs of manufacturing and connecting countless miles of new wiring, is a serious problem for the wired telecommunications industry (IBIS 2011). The needs of individuals served by telecommunications devices have increased dramatically since the original days of the telephone, and though the infrastructure supporting wired systems has kept pace with growth for some time this is no longer the case (IBIS 2011). Growth in services and demand has increased at too fast a rate in recent decades for wired infrastructures to keep up.

The wired telecommunications industry has been shrinking for some time, and many analysts are claiming that the industry is on its way out, to ultimately be replaced by much newer and more efficient technologies (IBIS 2011). This seems unnecessarily pessimistic, as even now current plans for the growth in high-speed Internet availability (along with redefining what is thought of as "high speed" in this country) include the necessity of distributing wires capable of transmitting data more efficiently, but it is true that many telecommunications services that are seen as more traditional -- the telephone, specifically -- is likely to become almost entirely wireless in the relatively near future (IBIS 2011; Hoovers 2011). The telecommunications industry needs to be honest with itself about where wired systems can still be of use, and not attempt to forestall the inevitable with wasted growth plans.

Materials

A variety of different materials are needed for the construction of wired telecommunications systems, from the wires themselves to the poles that hold them up to the equipment and data centers, servers, etc. that route calls, store and distribute information, and perform all other functions of such a system. A variety of metals are used in wires for such technology, depending upon the intended use of the wire and a variety of other factors, including costs of various metals at the time of production (von Alven 1998). Steel poles are about as common as wood, anymore, yet the real expense is incurred in the upgrading and maintaining of data centers, routing computers, and other related technologies and workforces, making the industry incredibly capital intensive (Hoovers 2011).

Construction Methods

Early telephone signals were weak, and grew weaker as the distance between the two phones increased, yet the invention of vacuum tube amplifiers in 1915 helped to change this, making trans-continent calls truly practical and possible through direct connections (von Alven 1998). In 1930, at&T rolled out a new, much higher quality insulated wire that preserved call quality better than previous wire, was capable of carrying higher current loads, and was more efficient overall (von Alven 1998). Fifteen years later, the same company was at it again, introducing coaxial cable to the telecommunications industry in a major way -- two thousand miles of such lines were laid in 1945 alone (von Alven 1998).

In the meantime, various companies (including Bell Laboratories and at&T) kept introducing new and improved handsets, with better speaker amplification and voice receivers, different chimes, and simply different design aesthetics (von Alven 1998). The telecommunications industry had become a major revenue generator, and there were always new ways of gaining a larger share of the telecommunications pie (and of making the pie itself grow, too) (von Alven 1998). In the 1950s, answering machines, fax machines, and a host of other devices useful especially in the business world were created, increasing the volume of use and necessitating ever more changes in the materials that provided the basic infrastructure for wired telecommunications services (von Alven 1998). Ongoing changes and developments in the actual materials used in wires, the type and amount of insulation used, and the interstitial circuitry continue to be developed to this day.

Perhaps more to the point, however, construction methods have developed far beyond the limitations of wired technologies, rendering many major achievements in the materials and construction projects of the wired telecommunications industry obsolete. Satellite communications were first proposed by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke in the 1940s, and they were a reality less than three decades later, making trans-Atlantic and even trans-Pacific telecommunications possible in a much more efficient manner than could ever have been possible through the use of wired systems (von Alven 1998). It has been changes in construction as an offshoot of wired systems that has typified efforts in the past four decades.

Funding

Funding for the growth of the wired telecommunications network has been undertaken both by private and public entities over the past century, and even in situations where there was no direct public funding there have definitely been incentives given to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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