What are the Different Types of Telecommunications Equipment?

Jessica Bosari

Telecommunications equipment encompasses many different types of telecommunications, including telephones, computers, and radios. All of these types of telecommunications networks transmit signals by connecting to the Internet. Telecommunications equipment relies on software to function and therefore depends on technicians who understand the hardware and software components of the technology.

A webcam for use with VoIP.
A webcam for use with VoIP.

Switching hubs and routers are used to transmit, process, amplify, and direct packets of information to their destinations. Installers and repairers set up those switches and routers, along with cables and other equipment, at central offices. This type of equipment uses fiber optics to relay information, resulting in a greater capacity and clearer signals than were previously possible in copper lines. Newer packet switching telecommunications equipment technology has also increased the transmission capacity of each line.

Wireless routers are a type of telecommunications equipment.
Wireless routers are a type of telecommunications equipment.

As the technology advances, the reliability of switches and routers increases. Telecommunications equipment has become so easy to maintain that some systems use self-monitoring switches to alert central offices when there is a malfunction. Some switches even help repairers diagnose and correct malfunctions from a remote location.

Phones with conference calling features are used in business.
Phones with conference calling features are used in business.

Other technological advances have taken place in the cable television industry. Cable technology is rapidly becoming more like telecommunications networks. Cable television companies use centralized locations, much like the central offices in the telecommunications sector to relay and route signals. Cable television is becoming an interactive medium, allowing customers to request information and receive real-time responses, much like the Internet or automated telephone systems.

Taxis typically use radios to communicate with a dispatcher.
Taxis typically use radios to communicate with a dispatcher.

Private branch exchange (PBX) switchboards are a type of telecommunications equipment used by businesses to relay incoming, outgoing, and interoffice telephone calls at one location or organization. Modern PBX switchboards rely on software like other types of telecommunications equipment and run on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In private homes, the most common types of telecommunications equipment are telephones, VoIP and Internet.

Electronic and optical switches route telephone calls and packets of data to their destinations, relaying signals from radios in taxis, airplanes, boats, and emergency vehicles. This can include cellular communications including transmission towers or other two-way systems. Radio equipment is often self-monitoring, alerting mechanics about potential malfunctions.

Cell phones require transmission towers.
Cell phones require transmission towers.

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Discussion Comments


@clintflint - I hate to say it, but I suspect that if they did start using haptic technology it would be co-opted by the porn industry pretty quickly. They always seem to be at the forefront of telecommunications technology.


@pastanaga - Well, I think the next big innovation is probably going to be flexible screens. Once they get the technology right for that, you're going to be able to do all kinds of things with them that aren't possible now.

I also think that haptic technology is going to be a big thing at some point in the business of telecommunications. I know there are already some gadgets that will respond to touch and transmit it, but I can imagine those becoming more sophisticated.

I don't think it will ever be the same as having a person right in front of you, but I do believe there will come a time when you will be able to hug your friend through a computer screen.


It's really amazing how far technology has come even within a single lifetime. There are teenagers alive today who don't remember what it's like to be without a cell phone. I still remember being reluctant to get one because once they were supposed to cause brain damage if you used them too often (which turned out to be just an urban legend). Now I can't imagine being without one and I don't have a landline because it just seems like an unnecessary expense.

But watching shows like Downton Abbey, they have characters who think of a telephone as some kind of magical device and refuse to use it.

It makes me wonder what kind of technology we'll have making us nervous in the next hundred years.

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