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What are Channel Banks?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 16, 2024
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Channel banks are communication devices used within the telecommunications field. Their purpose is to connect multiple voice channels, which is achieved through voice digitization and multiplexing. Therefore, they are important devices when it comes to transmitting digital communication.

The multiplexing of voice grade channel banks can be performed on both analog and digital carriers. This takes place through the conversion of a person’s voice to a kilobits per second (kbps) or megabits per second (mbps) signal. They can be grouped into high bit-rate digital channel banks, or they can easily be decreased to individual ones. These devices received their name because of the equipment’s ability to contain a sufficient amount of power to convert a bank of 24 individual channels from an analog to a digital format. In essence, they “bank” the power to be reused later.

There are quite a few different types of channel banks for a user to choose from. Each of these is capable of telling the user what type of formatting is required in order to receive the desired results. Types include the T1 circuit, which is made up of 24 channels, and the D4 channel bank, which should always contain a DS-1 signal. This signal is meant to ensure the data is properly formatted in accordance with the D4 format.

The D2, D3, and digital carrier trunk (DCT) are other types of channel banks. The majority of telephone companies use them. D1 channel banks, which are also known as D1A, were first introduced in 1962. Other versions included D1B and D1C.

The first D1A, B, and C channel banks all utilized close to seven bits of voice sample each, with one bit in each being in code word. These bits of information were used for transmitting signals, such as the sound of the telephone ringing and the sound heard when the phone is off the hook.

D2 channel banks now utilize eight bits of time slot for encoding analog signals. In addition, they have increased density to 96 channels. D1 banks, on the other hand, hold 72 channels. Both D3 and D4 can allow up to 144 channels within their packages in just one single bay.

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Discussion Comments
By PatMorgan — On Nov 06, 2008

Are there Analog to Digital Channel Banks available in a PRI configuration?

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