Telephony is something that impacts the lives of just about everyone on a daily basis. Here are some basics about telephony, as well as some history about the development of voice communications.
In its simplest form, telephony is simply a collective term for all types of voice equipment that are designed to allow interactive communication between two points. The most commonly identified piece of telephony equipment is the telephone itself. Considered to be an essential in just about every residence and in all businesses, the telephone provides basic point to point audio communication that many of us have come to rely on extensively during the course of the day.
Along with telephones, telephone switching systems or telephone exchanges allow for the processing of all our telephone calls. The basic framework for a telephone calls involves a point of origin, which initiates a signal to a switch that the subscriber wishes to place a call. The switch accepts the inbound signal and delivers the call to the subscriber whom the original caller wishes to speak with, also called the point of termination.
If the call is for a subscriber outside area covered by the switch, then the connection will be routed to a remote switch or series of switches, until the connection is established at both ends. Once the original switch receives confirmation that the connection is established, then the verbal communication actually begins. In a similar manner, when the connection is terminated at either the point of origin or the point of termination, the switches involve interact to confirm the disconnect has occurred and free up the circuits for use by other subscribers.
Originally, telephony equipment involved nothing more than local point to point calls. In order to make these calls, the first telephone switch was created. Essentially, calls were switched manually by an operator. A caller would pick up the line, ring the operator and tell the operator whom he or she wished to speak with. Over time, the switches became more sophisticated with the assignment of an alphanumeric number or exchange for each subscriber.
Eventually, automated switching equipment and the issuing of numeric designations, or phone numbers, made the need for manual switching obsolete. The use of automated switches also paved the way for switching from an older analog phone signal to the more sensitive digital telephony technology that we enjoy today, both with land line service and cellular service.
As telecommunications equipment and solutions continue to evolve, telephony equipment will also continue to change with the times and redefine the nature of how we communicate with one another.