‘Mr. Watson, come here, I want you’. These were the first words spoken by Graham Bell to his assistant, way back in 1876. The telephone, and somewhat before that, the telegraph, started the telecommunications revolution that has joined the world like never before. A hybrid word, Telecommunications comes from the Greek prefix tele, meaning ‘far away’, and the English suffix ‘communications’, and thus means ‘far away communications’ (the meaning of telephone and television proceeds similarly), and includes all forms of advanced communications technology, like the telegraph, telephone, television, radio, data communications, VOIP, computer networking, and the internet itself.
Since the 1950s, the computer and the telecommunications revolutions have proceeded side by side, and each has influenced the other. Thus, the relationship has proceeded both ways – at times computer technology has helped telecommunications, at times telecommunications has helped computing. Today, when the internet is prevalent and rides on the fiber optic networks that carry both voice and data, the distance between telecommunications and computers have receded further.
Internet is the latest facet of telecommunications which has opened up many forms of telecommunications hitherto unthought-of. Now one can send data and messages through email and FTP, broadcast data via World Wide Web, chat with one or many in internet forums, voice and video chat with friends, and even call a phone on the telephone network from a computer. It has thus ‘converged’ all other forms of telecommunications. Today, deferred broadcast, recording or streaming webcast of television programs are common on the internet. Video on demand and audio on demand open up new audiovisual dimensions. The internet has brought the cutting edge of telecommunications to the bottom, thus democratizing it.
In this section we provide links to vendors of various telecom solutions and software, phone cards, VOIP solutions, and other related resources.