The Cheat Sheet: ISDN: The Digital Connection

cheat-sheet-logo2by Flip Michaels

ISDwhat? I-S-D-N, Integrated Services Digital Network. It's a one hundred percent digital connection. If you haven't heard about the mighty morphin' power of ISDN, better buff your board and get ready to ride the next digital wave!

Zero To 64 In Seconds: ISDN lets you work with more information faster and more efficiently than you'd ever dream a traditional phone line could! Once, only analog service was available through regional phone companies. Most phone-based communications today consist of a hybrid collection of analog and digital conversions. ISDNs completely digital connection allows you to transmit and receive audio without the limitations and problems inherent in regular phone lines.

Total digital connection equals a very fast connection from one point to another. Imagine transmitting (not Fed Ex'n) your try read of Flip's Place to a radio station far, far away...DID THAT. How about an entire talk show? DONE THAT TOO.

A basic-rate ISDN or BRI (basic rate interface) line provides a multichannel digital connection that consists of three separate channels: two 64-Kbps (kilobits per second), B (bearer) channels and one 16-Kbps D (Delta) channel, commonly referred to as 2B+D. (Another word for the amount of information measured in Kbdps is bandwidth). The B channels move data at transmission rates of up to 64,000 bps per channel--before any sort of data compression. ISDNs smaller D channel manages the B channel connections and control information such as busy signal and connection information.

ISDNs multichannel lines provide the ability to make more than one connection at a time! For example, you could be receiving a concert feed from an LA station on one of the B channels while sending a few dry Flip's Place reads to my station here in D.C.

Have Lunch With Your Chief Engineer: There are several configurations you can choose from when and if you consider purchasing ISDN equipment. Currently, an ISDN line can cost anywhere from $40 to $200 for installation (if your phone company provides service in your area). As any engineer will tell you, service providers can be a rich source of information. Why not pass 'em a copy of this column during lunch and explore the possibilities? You can also do research about this exciting new technology via the Internet: 1) comp.dcom.isdn USENET newsgroup, 2) comp.dcom.isdn FAQ at the address http://www.crimson.com/isdn/isdnFAQ.txt

 

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