Telecommunication Terms and Technology

Telecommunication Terms and Technology

By Ramona Smith / Published July 2023

Telecommunication Terms and Technology

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Navigating the broadband provider selection process can be challenging and confusing, but finding the right service solution for your community can be one of the most important tasks a board undertakes. Do you, like many other people we talk to every day, find yourself scratching your head over the technical terms being tossed around about telecommunication services? If so, the following information may help you out. 

What is telecommunications?

     Telecommunications means transmitting signals from one device to another over a distance to communicate. The classic “tin can” telephone is a remarkably simple telecommunications system that you may be familiar with, but emerging technologies have brought us far from that model. Today’s communications now include telephone, television, radio, satellite, wireless network, computer network, and telemetry, to name a few. As these technologies continue to evolve, we also see how they converge to bring us new advancements. For example, you can use your cellphone to access the internet, play videos, or track your children’s movements via global positioning system (GPS) technology, illustrating how the lines are blurring between telecommunications and other industries like computer hardware, application software, consumer electronics, and entertainment.

What is bandwidth?

     Bandwidth is the size of a communications channel. In analog communications, bandwidth is typically measured in hertz (Hz). In digital communication, bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps).

What do the terms bandwidth and broadband mean?

     Bandwidth and broadband both refer to the capacity to move electronic signals through some form of transmission network. This can be visualized as a pipeline—the larger the diameter of the pipeline, the more fluids can pass through over a given period. In the electronic world, the greater the bandwidth capacity, the more electronic signals can be transmitted at faster speeds and in higher volumes.

What is standard broadband?

      Standard copper wires (coax cable) are used in standard broadband connections. Fiber-optic broadband is the latest advancement in broadband technology, delivering superfast speeds for all your daily internet and streaming needs. Its name comes from the use of glass cables, which allow for faster data transfer than through copper wires. Fiber-optic cable also has a much longer life span than coax.

What is home wireless broadband?

     Home wireless broadband is technology that allows a modem to connect to the internet via cellular towers. Home wireless differs from mobile broadband in that it comes packaged with a router meant to replace a fixed-line connection.

Broadband versus Wifi?

     Broadband is a connection in which electronic data is brought into your home through a cable. Wi-Fi is a way of accessing data made available by broadband without the use of cables. You can also use Ethernet cables to access the data made available by broadband.

What do upload and download mean?

     Uploading is the transmission of digital information, usually from a personal computer/tablet/etc., to another usually larger computer system located elsewhere on the internet. On the other hand, downloading is receiving requested information from another computer located elsewhere on the internet.

What is fiber/fiber-optic cable?

     Fiber-optic cable transmits light signals along glass strands, permitting 10–100 times faster transmission than traditional copper wire. What this means to the consumer is faster, more efficient, and higher-quality cell phone and internet connections.

What is bluetooth?

     Bluetooth is a short-range wireless connection standard. Its function is to link a wide range of computers, electronics, and telecom devices within proximity to one another. The technology uses a low-power, two-way radio link built into a microchip. The Bluetooth standard allows for greater wireless internet capability in the office and for consumers.

What is a modem and how does it work?

     The word “modem” is short for modulator-demodulator. A modem is typically used to send digital data over a phone or cable line. The sending modem modulates the data into a signal that is compatible with the phone or cable line, and the receiving modem demodulates the signal back into digital data.

Is a modem necessary?

     Given that modem stands for modulator-demodulator, you will need one to connect to the internet. Many modems come with built-in routers, and a few routers come with modems built in. Most modems with routers have firewalls for data protection. You do not need a separate router if the modem has a firewalled router.

What does a router do?

     A router is a small device that sits between your modem and computer. Most routers are about the same size and shape as a modem. The purpose of the router is to take the information from the modem and deliver it to your computer.

Do you need a router if you have a modem?

     Routers connect to your modem via an Ethernet cable and pass that internet connection on to other devices in your house either via an additional Ethernet cable or wirelessly over a Wi-Fi network. If you want or have multiple devices to connect to Wi-Fi, you need a router to plug into the modem.

Ramona Smith

Blue Stream Fiber

Blue Stream Fiber works with board members and property managers to help simplify the process of bringing world-class fiber-to-the-home solutions to their community. To learn more about Blue Stream Fiber, our fiber infrastructure, and whether your community qualifies to have fiber built at our cost, please reach out to 888-960-BULK or visit