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Transceivers: The Communication Key

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In war, those who can communicate information survive, those without it die. Throughout the history of warfare, information has been carried through a number of different mediums–letters, telephones, telegrams, smoke signals and even through Ethernet communication networks. No matter the medium, communication continues to be a necessary part of not just warfare, but of society as well, helping people pass on vital information. One of the most iconic images seen in any war movie is the dialogue seen across two-way radios. While common radios are now smaller and more compact than their larger, older counterparts, radio communication, as with much of the telecommunications industry, continues to use a device called a transceiver to communication information.

Transceivers are small devices implanted inside of radios, Ethernet and telephone systems that allow networks to transmit and receive information. Transceivers, as with the mediums that use them, have changed, from large, GBIC transceivers to smaller, XFP modules fond in newer Ethernet networks. Before transceivers, communication devices required a separate transmitter and receiver to gather and send information. Now, networks can communicate and receive information simultaneously due to full-duplex configurations and transceivers. For example, wired telephones contain both the transmitter and receiver inside of the handset, allowing individuals to send and receive voice transmissions.

However, Ethernet networks use special sets of transceivers to communicate and send information. The speed of the Ethernet network determines the type of transceiver needed. For example, an older, Gigabit Ethernet network uses GBIC transceivers but newer, faster networks, such as a 10 Gigabit network may use SFP modules. Modules, or transceivers as they are also called, act as links between the highway (fiber optics) and the data (motherboard) that delivers information, helping to interface the two. Without these transceivers, Ethernet networks would be unable to send out optical transmission created within the motherboard that are then transferred across fiber channels.

Each Ethernet module is configured to operate at a certain wavelength for transmitting and receiving information. For example, Cisco SFP modules may offer support for 850nm or more depending on model type and the Ethernet network configuration. In addition to the wavelength support, each module is configured to offer support for the two fiber types used by networks. Transceivers must provide support for single-mode fiber configurations that transmit one optical signal at a time, and for multi-mode fiber configurations that transmit multiple optical signals across fiber networks. In order to communicate across small and large distances, Ethernet networks employ both classes of fiber configurations, and networks use transceiver to handle both configuration standards.

No matter whether you are in a war zone or not, communication is a vital part of society. These transceivers found across communication medium are important technological devices that allow networks to create and receive messages, whether on a two-way radio or on a Ethernet network.

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