Technical Terms and Definitions

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T-Carrier - Telecommunications

The T-carrier system, introduced by the Bell System in the U.S. in the 1960s, was the first successful system that supported digitized voice transmission. The original transmission rate (1.544 Mbps) in the T-1 line is in common use today in Internet service provider (Internet service provider) connections to the Internet. Another level, the T-3 line, providing 44.736 Mbps, is also commonly used by Internet service provider. Another commonly installed service is a fractional T-1, which is the rental of some portion of the 24 channels in a T-1 line, with the other channels going unused.

The T-carrier system is entirely digital, using pulse code modulation and Time-Division Multiplexing. The system uses four wires and provides duplex capability (two wires for receiving and two for sending at the same time). The T-1 digital stream consists of 24 64-Kbps channel that are multiplexing. (The standardized 64 Kbps channel is based on the bandwidth required for a voice conversation.) The four wires were originally a pair of twisted pair copper wires, but can now also include coaxial cable, optical fiber, digital microwave, and other media. A number of variations on the number and use of channels are possible.

In the T-1 system, voice signals are sampled 8,000 times a second and each sample is digitized into an 8-bit word. With 24 channels being digitized at the same time, a 192-bit frame (24 channels each with an 8-bit word) is thus being transmitted 8,000 times a second. Each frame is separated from the next by a single bit, making a 193-bit block. The 192 bit frame multiplied by 8,000 and the additional 8,000 framing bits make up the T-1's 1.544 Mbps data rate. The signaling bits are the least significant bits per frame.