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Asterisk: The Future of Telephony by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, Jim Van Meggelen

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The Digital Circuit-Switched Telephone Network

For over a hundred years, telephone networks were exclusively circuit-switched. What this meant was that for every telephone call made, a dedicated connection was established between the two endpoints, with a fixed amount of bandwidth allocated to that circuit. Creating such a network was costly, and where distance was concerned, using that network was costly as well. Although we are all predicting the end of the circuit-switched network, many people still use it every day, and it really does work rather well.

Quantized and companded at 5-bit resolution

Figure 7-12. Quantized and companded at 5-bit resolution

Circuit Types

In the PSTN, there are many different sizes of circuits serving the various needs of the network. Between the central office and a subscriber, one or more analog circuits , or a few dozen channels delivered over a digital circuit, generally suffice. Between PSTN offices (and with larger customers), fiber-optic circuits are generally used.

The humble DS-0, the foundation of it all

Since the standard method of digitizing a telephone call is to record an 8-bit sample 8,000 times per second, we can see that a PCM-encoded telephone circuit will need a bandwidth of 64,000 bps. This 64-kbps channel is referred to as a DS-0 (that’s Dee-Ess-Zero). The DS-0 is the fundamental building block of all digital telecommunications circuits.

Even the ubiquitous analog circuit is sampled ...

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