Chapter 20. Telecom Nomenclature

The telecom world is a bit different from the data world, as endless telecom engineers will no doubt tell you. For example, a lot of the telecom infrastructure that exists today is the way it is because of standards that have been in place for upward of 100 years. Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1835. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876. In 1961, Bell Labs invented the T1 as a way to aggregate links between the central offices (COs) of the phone companies. It took almost 100 years to get from the first telephone to the invention of the T1.

In contrast, consider the data world: the ARPANET was started in 1969, Robert Metcalfe and David Boggs built the first Ethernet in 1973, and Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn published the original TCP/IP standard in 1974. Hayes introduced the first modem in 1977 (300 bps, baby!), and 3Com shipped the first 10 Mbps Ethernet card in 1981. The first commercial router was sold in 1983.

Let’s think about that for a moment—the first commercial router was sold in 1983. Ask anyone around you if she can remember a time when there weren’t phones.

The telecom world is built on standards that work and have worked for a very long time. How often does your phone stop working? The telecom infrastructure is so reliable that we expect reliable phone service even more than we expect reliable electrical service (cellular service is a whole different ball game, and does not apply to this discussion).

As with any technology, ...

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