Telecom, or telecommunication, means communication over vast distance with help of technology and the term can therefore contain things such as radio, satellite navigation, telephony, fax and computer communication. Deriving from a broad definition you can also say that smoke signals or jungle drums are examples of telecommunication.
To account computer communication as an example of telecom according to a more narrow definition, it requires data traffic that travels via infrastructure such as cable TV network or the landline telephony copper wires. Due to the countless different ways to communicate today, the definition has become more less distinct than before.
Telecom is often used as an indication for the entire field. Actors within telecom can do anything from construction of technical tools to develop services that require telecom. There is also a big market for consultants, repairers and researchers within this huge and for society meaningful field.
- Telecom is communication over distance with different tools.
- Telecom is continuously under development and new systems replace the old.
- Information- and communication technology (ICT) is a modern synonym for telecom that includes IT solutions.
- Telegraph and telephone were milestones in telecom.
- Progress in telecom can change people’s lives.
- Internet is fundamental for many of today’s telecom solutions.
- Today people can share enormous amounts of data in just a few seconds, through telecom.
From telegraph to broadband
The earliest from of telecommunications included drums and smoke signals whereas talking drums were used by natives in Africa while smoke signals were used in North America and China. These systems were however mostly used to announce presence of a military unit. The early forms also came to include homing pigeons with origins in Persia. The acoustic telegraphy with help of whistles is also an early use of telecom. In addition, another example is optic telegraphy, meaning visible signals that carry different meanings. This may best be recognized as lighthouses.
In 1790, the French engineer Claude Chappe began work on visual telegraphy that used clocks pointing at different symbols. However, they proved to be unsuccessful at long distances and the model was revised with two sets of jointed wooden beams. The officially built the first telegraph line between Paris and Lille. A Swedish engineer called Abraham Edelcrantz built a different system for Sweden shortly after that involved
In the beginning of the 1800s communication was conducted with electric telegraphs that sent simple messages in form of pulses. The first was created by the German physician and inventor Samuel Thomas von Sömmering based on a previous robust design by Spanish scientist Francisco Salva Campillo. The system used multiple wires to visually represent almost all Latin letters and numerals to convey messages electrically over a few kilometers.
The first telegraphs meant a huge and important breakthrough in communication because news were able to spread very fast. The next big step in development of telecom were phones the gave individual households the ability to community to communicate with each other, irrespective of distance. In the 1920s it was possible to communicate wireless across the atlantic. The first real working telegraph was built in 1816 by Francis Ronalds which used static electricity.
On the other side of the world, Samuel Morse developed his own version of a electrical telegraph. The telegraph had an integrated logging device that recorded messages onto paper tape. This was successfully demonstrated over five kilometers between Washington. D.C. and Baltimore in 1844. The invention proved to be useful with the highly efficient Morse Code.
The next step in telecom evolution was the electric telephone which was invented in the 1870s and were commercially available in 1878 and 1879. Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. The first model only allowed one-way communication and you couldn’t dial any numbers. Think of the invention of as how kids use tin cans connected with a wire to communicate, the first phones and phonelines weren’t that different. In addition, the first phones didn’t ring as we know today, but you instead had to ring a bell and notify the other person on the line that you wanted to say something. The phones were also connected one by one from each household and with increased popularity this became a problem. The solution became a switch office located in every city to transfer all calls.
The technology quickly grew after its initial arrival and after the built exchanges were in every major city in the US. However, transcontinental phone calls remained impossible until 1927 when a connection was established using radio. Alexander Graham Bell and his partner Charles Sumner Tainter also conducted the first wireless phone call which via modulated light beams projected by photons. The invention couldn’t be utilized for several years, but later came to become what we know today as fiber-optic communication.
The next step in development was TV and radio, and over several years from 1984 the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi worked on the newly discovered phenomenon of radio waves to telecommunication. He built the first wireless telegraphy system using this idea and established connection between Newfoundland and Cornwall which ultimately earned him a Nobel Prize in physics. In 1925 the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird publicly demonstrated transmission of the first moving silhouette pictures which became known as the mechanical television. He was successful in obtaining moving pictures in halftone shades which ultimately was the first real television pictures.
The development of video telephony enabled the use of live video and was first popularized in the 1870s. The first trials were first however possible years later and was first embodied in a device that was known as video telephone. The development of video codecs and high-speed broadband allowed regular use and with the launch of internet, it became a widespread phenomenon. This came to include use of videoconferencing and webcams which has greatly reduced the need to travel.
The wireless revolution had its start in the 1990s with digital wireless networks that allowed the cell phones and mobile telephony we know today. However, even though mobile telephony began development as early as in the 1950s, it required an expressive and heavy equipment that it wouldn’t be called mobile today. Internet thus meant revolution for telecom that continues to expand at fast pace and provide of with better ability to communicate over vast distance.
The future telecom
The telecom field is stronger than ever, but what goes under the term today is continuously changing. The only thing we can really be sure about is that we will be able to communicate with different technology than we use today. We will continue to view the development in the works right now.
Internet has implied a breakthrough in many to many communication. Telecom isn’t solely about connecting individuals, but also about spreading information in order to provide the world’s population with access at any given moment.The development regards coverage and data amounts.
The white spots that can’t be reached with modern systems for telecom diminish all the more with the 5G mobile network as it enables sharing enormous amounts of data. In the woodworks is the ability to send and recieve more than a gigabyte in a second.
At Dstny we are experts in telecom. Contact us if you want to know what we can do to improve your company telephony.
Last updated 24 November 2022Glossary