Telecommunication Protocols

By Saifuddin Abdullah

Telecommunication systems operate with an array of protocols.
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In telecommunications terminology, the word protocol is used to address some specified sets of rules and regulations that govern the process of digital information exchange between two distant entities. Further, as telecommunications is a vast field that embodies many communication technologies, multiple protocols work in different areas of digital communication to serve the process of data exchange. Some major areas include PSTN (public switched telephone network) communication protocols, cellular communication protocols, data networking protocols and hybrid communication protocols.

PSTN Protocol

PSTN protocols (or telephonic communication protocols) are the oldest communication protocols in action, and generally regulate the process of communication between local exchanges, home telephones and gateway exchanges. Some major protocols include SS7 (signaling system 7), SCTP (stream control transmission protocol), V5.1/V5.2 protocols and ISDN (integrated services digital network) protocols. These protocols primarily serve the voice communication procedures within a PSTN.

Cellular Communication Protocols

Cellular communication employs transmitting data towards mobile data units roaming within the coverage area. This communication procedure is a prevalent method of data communications, and it has many different specially designed protocols for its data exchanging and transmission controlling procedures. Some common cellular communication protocols include BSMAP (base station management application part), BSSMAP (base station subsystem management application part), BSSAP (base station subsystem application part), DTAP (direct transfer application part), SMSTP (short message service transfer layer protocol), BTSM (base transceiver station management) and MAP (mobile application part).

Data Communication Protocols

The domain of data communication includes all the local, private and public networks that employ computers for exchanging data among users. Some examples of these are local area networks, metropolitan area networks, wide area networks and the network of networks -- the Internet. These networks use various sets of communication protocols to regulate and control the process of data communication, and some major ones include TCP (transmission control protocol), IP (Internet protocol), FTP (file transport protocol), HTTP (hyper-text transfer protocol), POP (post office protocol), SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol), DHCP (dynamic host control protocol), BGP (border gateway protocol), UDP (unified datagram protocol), RTP (real time protocol) and RSVP (reservation control protocol).

VoIP Protocols

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a communication technology that provides solutions of transferring voice, multimedia, and text-based data simultaneously over a single carrier. This technology is developed by amalgamating data networks and PSTN, and for this reason, it uses many protocols from both mentioned categories of telecommunication systems. It has some specific protocols developed for its core operations as well, which mainly include MGCP (media gateway control protocol), SIP (session initiation protocol), H.323, H.248, SDP (session description protocol), SAP (session announcement protocol), MIME (multipurpose Internet mail extensions) and SGCP (signaling gateway control protocol).