Types of Telecommunication Systems

Updated July 20, 2017

Telecommunications of one kind or another are not a modern invention. The first successful attempts at telecommunication systems included signal fires which were used since ancient times. The 18th Century saw the invention of optical telegraphy communications systems, also known as semaphore lines while the late 19th Century gave rise to radio technology. Today, we use the Internet and telephones for the vast majority of our telecommunications although there is an even wider variety of telecommunication systems in use today.

Optical Telecommunications

Optical telecommunication is the oldest and simplest type. Optical telecommunications systems include everything from signalling flags used on boats to the semaphore optical telegraphy lines of the past. Although fibre optic communication falls into the same category, it is rather different to every other form of optical telecommunication in that it relies on converting data into beams of light. These may be carried over fibre optic cables or by using an infrared connection.

Radio Telecommunication Systems

Radio technology allows for wireless communication over large distances. Radio broadcasts are sent out by radio transmitters and then decoded at the other end in real time. Perfected about the turn of the 20th Century, radio remains one of the main forms of communication in the world today. Television is also a form of radio communication.

Full-Duplex Systems

Today's telephones, cellphones and most forms of Internet access are full-duplex systems. Full-duplex means both parties can communicate with each other at the same time.

Half-Duplex Systems

Radio communications are a good example of half-duplex communication systems since only one party can send a message at a time. In a half-duplex system, the recipient has to wait for the message before sending out a new one. Some types of Internet connection work the same way.

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About the Author

Based mostly in Norwich, UK, Charles Jackson has been writing articles professionally for the Web since 2007. He has completed college-level English language and English literature studies. Jackson maintains a travel blog and regularly writes for the travel market.