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Concepts of Data Communications

When we communicate, we are sharing information. This sharing can be local or remote. between individuals, local communication usually occurs face to face, while remote communication takes place over distance. The term  Telecommunication, which includes Telephony, Telegraphy, and television, means communication at a distance.
The data refers to facts, concepts and instruction presented in whatever form is agreed upon by the parties creating and using the data. In the context of computer information system, data represented by binary information units produced and consumed in the form of 0s and 1s.

Data Communications is the transfer of data or information between a source and a receiver. The source transmits the data and the receiver receives it. The actual generation of the information is not part of Data Communications nor is the resulting action of the information at the receiver. Data Communication is interested in the transfer of data, the method of transfer and the preservation of the data during the transfer process.

The purpose of Data Communications is to provide the rules and regulations that allow computers with different disk operating systems, languages, cabling and locations to share resources. The rules and regulations are called protocols and standards in Data Communications.

For data communication to occur, the communicating devices must be part of a communication system made up of a combination of hardware and software.

The effectiveness of a data communication system depends on the three fundamental characteristics:

1. Delivery: The System must deliver data to the correct destination. Data must be received by the intended device or user and only by that device or user
2. Accuracy: The system must deliver data accurately. Data that have been altered in transmission and left uncorrected are rustles
3. Timeliness: The system must deliver data in a timely manner. Data delivered late are useless. In the case of video, audio, and voice data, timely delivery means delivering data as they are produced, in the same order that they are produced, and without significant delay. this kind of delivery id called real-time transmission.


Basic Components of a Communication System
The following are the basic requirements for working of a communication system.
1. The sender (source) who creates the message to be transmitted
2. A medium that carries the message
3. The receiver (sink) who receives the message

Data Communication system components

  1. Message: messagein its most general meaning is an object of communication. It is a vessel which provides information. Yet, it can also be this information. Therefore, its meaning is dependent upon the context in which it is used; the term may apply to both the information and its form.

2. Sender: The sender will have some kind of meaning she wishes to convey to the receiver. It might not be conscious knowledge, it might be a sub-conscious wish for communication. What is desired to be communicated would be some kind of idea, perception, feeling, or datum. It will be a part of her reality that she wishes to send to somebody else. 

3. Receiver:These messages are delivered to another party. No doubt, you have in mind a desired action or reaction you hope your message prompts from the opposite party. Keep in mind, the other party also enters into the communication process with ideas and feelings that will undoubtedly influence their understanding of your message and their response. To be a successful communicator, you should consider these before delivering your message, then acting appropriately.

4. Medium: Medium is a means used to exchange / transmit the message. The sender must choose an appropriate medium for transmitting the message else the message might not be conveyed to the desired recipients. The choice of appropriate medium of communication is essential for making the message effective and correctly interpreted by the recipient. This choice of communication medium varies depending upon the features of communication. For instance – Written medium is chosen when a message has to be conveyed to a small group of people, while an oral medium is chosen when spontaneous feedback is required from the recipient as misunderstandings are cleared then and there.

5. Protocol:  protocol is a formal description of digital message formats and the rules for exchanging those messages in or between computing systems and in telecommunications. Protocols may include signaling, authentication and error detection and correction syntax, semantics, and synchronization of communication and may be implemented in hardware or software, or both.

6. Feedback: Feedback is the main component of communication process as it permits the sender to analyze the efficacy of the message. It helps the sender in confirming the correct interpretation of message by the decoder. Feedback may be verbal (through words) or non-verbal (in form of smiles, sighs, etc.). It may take written form also in form of memos, reports, etc.


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