What is Telecom Engineering
From the practical point of view, there is only a thin differentiation between IT and Telecom.
Information Technology deals with all the techniques, skills, protocols that has to do with generating data, processing it, pushing it from one system to another whether with the same area (LAN) or across a different network in another part of the world (WAN).
This way, even voice and video can be converted and transported as data over network originally built to carry only data (IP) in contrast to networks that were built to carry voice (telephony networks) or video (Television). This concept of converting all signals to digital and then transporting them all together simultaneously on a single IP network is called Convergence. All IP networks converge. Analog networks are increasingly being replaced with digital networks to allow convergence, boost bandwidth and improve quality of signal delivery among many advantages.
So, if IT is already taking care of all of this, then what is telecom and where is its place? Telecom comes into play when there’s need to build infrastructure to carry the IP packets explained above over distance from Source to Destination. Left by itself, the signal will attenuate very fast along its medium of transportation, wired or wireless, and would have depleted completely by the time it gets to destination.
While IT prepares the signal with all necessary encapsulations, encoding, addressing, encryption, etc, it is the work of telecom to physically deliver it to destination while maintaining as much quality and integrity for the signal so that there is very little or no difference between samples of signal at source and at destination.
- What are the frequency requirements for the signal to be transmitted.
- Over how much distance are we transmitting the signal? .
- What is the minimum bandwidth we much have to transport the signal .
- What’s the budget available for this project and what’s the most economical way to achieve the objective without wasting resources while at the same time making allowance for near future expansion.
- What transport medium do we need to achieve this, is it wire or wireless .
- If it’s wire, what kind of wire: RG6, RG11, UTP, STP, Fiber? .
- If it’s wireless, would it be RF or microwave? .
These and many more questions are questions for telecom.
Telecom Engineers are responsible for designing, preparing, and manufacturing equipment that solves above problems on one hand. On the other, telecom engineering also covers the proper deployment of equipment on Networks. Essentially therefore, as telecom engineer, you will mostly be installing and configuring 3rd party telecom equipment such as STMs, Radios, Base Stations, Routers, and CPEs at the Core, Distribution, and Access layers of telecom networks. Telecom Technicians will works with you on the downline to complete installation of equipment already configured by you.