Data and Telecommunications: Systems and Applications
Author: Charles N. Thurwachter
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Price: $98 US
Reviewer: Derek Vadala
I have been looking for a book like this for a long time. While TCP/IP, Internet routing and Ethernet are well-covered topics, the telcommunications network that connects the Internet to other data networks, public and private, and to individual organizations and networks is often overlooked.
Many of us use dial-up networking, dedicated circuits (T1, DS3) and DSL on a daily basis, but it's not often that Linux users and system administrators are exposed to the physical or network layers of telecommunications systems. In fact, we're often forced to rely on ISP help desks and specialized phone company personnel who rarely grasp the big picture and are armed with only troubleshooting checklists. This book would make a good reference for any hobbyist or professional who needs to understand these technologies on a more fundamental level, although it might not be the best choice for casual readers.
Billed as an in-depth discussion of data communications presented in a way that is “understandable for students who have a limited mathematical background”, Data and Telecommunications covers concepts behind analog and digital communications and the way they have been applied to telecommunications systems and data networks. Thurwachter begins with a concise introduction to the topic, after which he covers electromagnetic signals, metallic (copper) and optical (fiber) media and antennas. These chapters, like most of the book, take an academic approach to their topics. Because of this, I think many readers will find the book a bit inaccessible.
After covering the basics, Thurwachter launches into a fairly academic discussion of signal and fourier analysis, and amplitude, angle and pulse modulation and demodulation. Although the book prides itself on non-mathematical discussions of the topic, I found that mathematical concepts had not been replaced with thorough real-world analogies and clear high-level explanations.
Chapter 11 (multiplexing) will likely have the biggest appeal to readers who come from UNIX and TCP/IP-based networking backgrounds. It covers channelized T1 and DS3 circuits, as well as signaling associated with these circuits. Thurwachter follows with coverage of error correction and digital modulation.
Chapters 14 and 15 attempt to cover the OSI model and networking hardware. These chapters are better covered by Tannenbaum and Stevens and are clearly written for an audience without any networking experience. Chapter 16 on telecommunications thoroughly covers the details of phone-switching equipment and call routing, but it lacks a practical discussion of the topic. For example, in a discussion of 2-wire vs. 4-wire circuits, no mention of T1 being a common 4-wire circuit is made, despite the fact that it is a widely deployed communication link.
The book finishes with a brief discussion of networking protocols, but like earlier chapters, this topic is covered more thoroughly and with better clarity in other texts. While there is some good information in Data and Telecommunications, it's hard to find it in the middle of a book meant for students. Because of its hefty price, this book probably won't make a good addition to home libraries. But since it does contain some useful, hard-to-find information, I'd recommend buying a copy for the office and passing it around.
Derek Vadala lives in Portland, Oregon where he is currently writing a book for O'Reilly. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide