This presentation on telecommunications is part of a larger presentation on information technology for Company X.

What is Telecommunications?

Simply put, telecommunications is the sending and receiving of messages over long distances. In the past, this might have taken the form of smoke signals or telegraphs. Today, telecommunications takes place using the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the Internet. These technologies allow individual users to communicate, as well as, connect entire organization branches together to facilitate wider communication and sharing (Daley, 2007).

Essential to Company X

Company X currently operates six locations in three states. These locations maintain independent inventory, accounting, and point of sale systems. Store managers send paper reports and backup floppy disks containing vital information via the United States Postal Service. These items are frequently lost in the mail and require the reports and disks to be regenerated and resent.

By overlaying a virtual private network (VPN) on top of inexpensive, broadband Internet connections, Company X can create a company-wide network (Senn, 2004). This network can facilitate near-real-time updates of the systems that current exist independently at each location. The key to this wide area network (WAN) is the use of broadband Internet connections rather than expensive, long haul telephone lines.

IT Role

The telecommunications network is the foundation that the new information system will be built upon. The near instantaneous communication of locations allows other elements of the information system to achieve their goals of improved productivity and effectiveness. Without the telecommunications network, store managers would still be forced to transmit reports and data via mail.

Growing the System

The beauty of the virtual private network (VPN) is that the underlying telecommunications technology is relatively easy and inexpensive to manage. For example, increasing capacity of a cable modem connection requires a phone call to the provider and can be implemented immediately. Adding an additional T1 or upgrading to a DS3 requires days or weeks of planning and will likely mean new hardware on both sides of the connection. Therefore, the VPN-based telecommunications infrastructure allows the information system to expand without expensive, long-term planning.

System Relevance

A well-designed wide area network (WAN) should be transparent to the rest of the information system. The WAN facilitates communication between the various locations, but the specifics of its implementation should not be necessary for the design of the rest of the information system. This is a somewhat unique aspect of the telecommunications network in general. For example, the user interface must either understand how the database is implemented, or how to communicate with a middleware product that understands the database implementation. None of these systems need to know how communication between two stores happens.

References

Daley, B. (2007). Computers are your future (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Senn, J. A. (2004). Information technology: Principles, practices, opportunities (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.