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Confusing eh !

By Philip Neville

The half duplex, micro wave radio, fiber optic, delayed distortion and digital signal are telecommunication concepts that are not familiar to the consumers. Each time any of these concepts are used by the experts, the situation gets confused further. To the experts the concepts are their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Understanding them is both helpful and convenient, but the reserve is a dilemma to many of us, who are consumers. Communication does not only mean encoding and decoding of signals or messages, it also take note of body language and eye-to-eye contact and comprehending what is being transmitted.  Signal transmission can utilize any or all of these channels during communication.

 The Half duplex – is a transmission signal which explains that transmission can be done in both ways of the transmission channel. The only difference with the half duplex is that transmission cannot be done simultaneously, which is to say after one has transmitted say Mr. A first transmit to and when Mr. B receives signals from Mr. A and he replies, but not simultaneously. Example of this transmission concept is the walkie talkie.  A walkie talkie is among the list of the telecommunication technologies that make use of the half duplex.

The Micro wave Radio – The micro wave radio otherwise known as Land Based Satellite is also a telecommunication technology and uses the electromagnetic spectrum.

One quality of the micro wave radio is that it carries a large volume of signal transmission, which is reliable and dependable and devoid of noise. It receives transmission from satellite and distributes it to the homes.  It is most time placed on top of high buildings or mountains and must be placed on a line-of-sight, which means that it should be placed in an area that is un-obstructable.

In the case of delayed distortion referred to by some experts as delayed signals is associated with television communication. It is a situation whereby pictures are seen but the sounds are delayed. It doesn’t mean that the television set is faulty, but it is as a result late transmission of signals caused by several factors; among which can be weather condition and others can be technical. This is also an example of transmission impairment.

In the case of digital signals, transmission is done with the use of digital telecommunication technology.  One quality or characteristic of digital signals is that the signals are modulated.  This modulation result into a reduction of noise that goes along with transmission. An example of digital signals is associated with wireless communication.  The digital makes a difference with the analog signal transmission which does not separate or filter noise that goes along with transmission. Sometimes, the situation is misunderstood and most time referred to as transmission impairment.

Transmission impairments – can be described as factors that hinder telecommunication transmission process.   For example, Mr. Berth Cole may have been experiencing transmission impairment and because of the frequency with which it occurs, he decided to secure a wired communication, without securing the services of a trained and qualified communication expert. The question is, can securing a wired communication devise remedy the situation when he cannot interpret the type of impairment affecting the transmission of signals to his television set? The ability to identify impairment is relevant not only in the field of communication, but also in any professional endeavour

Attenuation is transmission impairment and it is a weakening of transmission signals indicating that it had either gone outside of the area that is capable of attracting transmission or had fallen below a line- of- sight.  One way to remedy this situation is with the use of repeaters or boosters.  Another impairment is called delayed distortion which is indicative of proper transmission signals, but one characteristic of this type of impairment is that pictures are shown while the sounds are delayed.

Also, echo is an impairment which is a reflection of the source of communication.  Most time it can be remedied with the use of absorbing sounds and these boards absorb the noise or reflection.

The cross talk is impairment and is very frequent not only inSierra Leonebut everywhere.   This is a situation whereby the transmission signal is interfered with.  Example of this, is when Mr. A is speaking on a telecommunication technology and the talk/discussion crosses over/or overheard by Mr. B somebody whom he/she was not discussing with.  This happens with wireless/ cell phones and even in third world countries likeSierra Leoneit occurs with the fixed telephone lines.  Noise is another transmission impairment, which is occasioned by static

In the case of coaxial and fiber optic recommended in this 21st Century technology, it has played very crucial and significant roles in the development of communication. The coaxial cable is a collection of tubes (telecommunication units) ranging in some cases from four to twenty four or more and are insulated to protect it from transmission interferences.  Added to its quality, it is also very reliable and carries a large volume of transmission signals, which if compared may be equal to microwave radio and fiber optic.

In the case of the fiber optic, another telecommunication technology recommended is also very reliable and dependable.  It was recently discovered around the 1970s and has the capability of transporting large volume of transmission signals and very immune to noise.  This technology is found beneath the sea and made up of fine hair-like substances.

The fiber optic, coaxial cable as recommended are reliable transmission medium, which are very effective in carrying out transmission signals of large volume that cannot be easily distorted or disrupted. In the field of communication rationalization is taking into consideration. It is viewed by various proponents in different perspectives. One such individual that is proud of rationalization is Max Weber and he described it as setting work done faster and better. In today’s technology development, rationalization is a very important tool, but Frederick Taylor sees rationalization as getting work done in the scientific way, which is the use of tools.

In this period of Post modernity (information era) one of the structures that is prevalent is disassembly which is a complete fragmentalization or better still decentralization of the process.  In this era, the structures make provision for independence, whereby workers perform their duties independently and sometimes at home.  The use of telecommunication technologies have improved the era of post modernity, such as making use of teleconferences, billing systems have all been done or done electronically, video conferencing have also been developed.

In the post modern structure, trainings are done to keep employees abreast with recent technological developments, which makes a great difference between the era of modernity (industrial age) and that of post modernity. In the era of modernity, most things were done by human beings such as runners, and a large employment of work force is done in order to get work done in a faster and quicker way.  But the era of post modernity is now using technologies in place of this large number of employees which has given it not only global acceptance but also facilitates work better and quicker and also gives the feeling of confidence because what usually was done by individuals is/are done by machines, sometimes with the aid of satellite.

Satellite uses the electromagnetic spectrum for distribution of signal and browsing through the historical background, one would say that in 1945 the idea to create something that would affect global recognition was fostered by Arthur Clarke.  In 1960 the first satellite was launched called “Early bird” (ECHO 1). Unfortunately, telecommunication technologies by Mirabito was short of the two way transmission process of transmitting and receiving and in 1962 Telstar was launched, which has the capability of a two-way-transmission and the glory in development of satellite technology in the current global development could be attributed to the pioneer of this device called Arthur Clarke.

Satellite communication can be categorized into two, namely geostationary (geosynchronous) and non-geosynchronous.  The geostationary satellite has the capability of synchronizing with the earth.  As the earth surface rotates, it synchronizes with it, equating it to a total of about 22,300 miles. 

A non-geostationary /non-geosynchronizing is another type of satellite system that does not synchronize with the earth as it contains transponders and these multiples of transponders are case to conduct up link and down link of signals and also to prevent electrical interference. The Itek satellites could not be described as the LEO type, because the LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) satellites are put at 400 miles while the MEO (Medium Earth Orbiting) are put at 800 miles. As indicated earlier, the satellite system receives its signals and then down-link it to the earth station.  The earth station/transmitting station distributes the signals and this is done by converting the electrical source to signal source and then to light source. Satellites can also receive signal source and distribute it directly to the home (BBS), which we refer to as Direct Broadcasting Service.

The Low Earth Orbiting Satellite carries out the distribution process at 400 miles above the earth surface, while the Medium Earth Station (MEO) could be put at 800 miles and above.Sierra Leoneis moving fast to catch up with the technology development trend. Just few days and weeks from now, the landing of the fiber optic is expected to take place, which will not only put the country on a high scale, but will promote development. New television stations will have the opportunity of using the fibre optic, as it appreciates more of digital than the analog system. It will also attract investors, like many other developed countries for investments in the media industry as opportunity will be available to establish cable networks and more channels provided to viewers. Although problems such as contents would be experienced, however with time that will be improved as experts in the field of both radio and television may be contracted to upgrade some of the stations.

Also, the fiber optic will greatly ease and improve communications as most of the mobile phone companies would prefer to use the facility than the satellite system. NATCOM, the country’s regulatory body will have more work to do than now, but the bulk of the responsibility will be on the National Telecommunication Company (SIERRATEL). Landing of the fiber optic is the initial step, but the most crucial is the connection and establishment to various places such as institutions, offices and the provincial towns.

The Author of this piece is a holder of a Masters Degree in Communication from the Bowie State University in America   

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