from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old telegraph pole with bare
wire lines
and box for line telephone (telephone) on the Preßnitztalbahn . Behind it a crossing aerial cable

As telecommunications ( ancient Greek τηλέ , far ' and Latin communicare make together', 'tell') or Telecommunications is any exchange of information referred to and data over a spatial distance.


Telecommunication is necessary as soon as the sender and recipient of information are out of sight or call range. It thus serves to bridge space and time. In order to transmit messages , the sender and recipient need a medium or means of communication that transports the information to be transmitted. According to § 3 No. 22 TKG , telecommunication is the technical process of sending, transmitting and receiving signals by means of telecommunication systems . Under the latter, § 3 No. 23 TKG understands "technical facilities or systems that can send, transmit, convey, receive, control or control electromagnetic or optical signals identifiable as messages ".

Definition and demarcation

The German word belonging to the foreign word “telecommunications” is telecommunications . Since the mid-1990s, however, it has practically only been used in military installations and in disaster control (recently in disaster control the term “ information and communication ” (IuK) has also been used) and has almost completely disappeared in everyday language , especially since the Companies operating in this field use the word "telecommunications".

In the narrower sense, telecommunication is understood today as data exchange using electrical engineering , electronics , radio engineering and other modern transmission technology . The first telecommunications services in this sense were telegraphy ( telex ) and telephony , also known as telecommunications . Before the advent of computers, there were already as remote operation called data transmission services for controlling systems. Telecommunication facilities are an essential part of the infrastructure today . For this reason, to avoid spatial disparities, their provision is a joint task of spatial development (i.e. in practice a state task).

Since the beginning of liberalization (in Germany from July 1, 1989), telecommunications services have been provided in competition, the basic service is guaranteed by a universal service obligation. Various operators have since set up their own networks for transmission and nodes for distribution or corresponding parts of other networks under contract.


The first forms of telecommunication are messengers or couriers who delivered verbal or written messages, as well as smoke signals and drum signals . Smoke signals, fire signals and drum signals for the purpose of transmitting messages already existed in prehistory . Messengers or couriers could only cover shorter distances, so that smoke and fire signals as the starting point for optical telecommunication in antiquity made it easier to cover longer distances.

All great civilized peoples, from the Aztecs to the Romans , used so-called vexilloids ( Latin vexillum , "flag"), an early type of standard . These rods, decorated with emblems made of wood, metal or leather, have already been found as images on 5500 year old ancient Egyptian pottery. Aeschylus described fire mail (torch mail) in Oresty in 458 BC, which was used in the Trojan War in 1148 BC. The news of the capture of Troy was spread. Around 1000 BC There was the first pigeon mail by carrier pigeons . The messenger Pheidippides brought in August 490 BC After the Battle of Marathon, the news of the victory over the Persians came about in BC and was the forerunner of today's marathon . In 405 BC The heliograph (mirror telegraph) was first used. In the Roman Empire , the Romans on the Limes used mirrors, smoke, fire signals or trumpets ( Latin tubae ) as alarm signals until the 6th century AD . In the 4th century AD, Flavius ​​Vegetius Renatus explained in his outline of military affairs ( Latin Epitoma rei militaris ): “When troops are separated, they show the allies by fire at night and smoke during the day, which is not communicated in any other way can. ”In the late Middle Ages and early modern times , chalk fires or noise fires were used to signal approaching dangers.

The considerations made by Robert Hooke in 1684 on optical telegraphy could not initially be implemented, Christoph Ludwig Hoffmann's attempts from 1782 were forgotten. Only Claude Chappe succeeded in 1794 with a 270-kilometer optical telegraph line between Paris and Lille . The electrical telegraphy invented in April 1833 by Carl Friedrich Gauß and Wilhelm Eduard Weber received important impulses with the writing telegraph designed by Samuel Morse in April 1838 and improved in 1844 . On May 24, 1844, Morse sent the first telegraph from Washington, DC to Baltimore . The word " telegram " ( English telegram ) was proposed in the USA in 1852 for the messages transmitted by telegram . The Pony Express with mail riders started operating between St. Joseph and Sacramento on April 3, 1860, on the initiative of William Hepburn Russell . Philipp Reis presented the first fully functional telephone in Frankfurt am Main on October 26, 1861 , and Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for its design on March 7, 1876 in the USA . After the postmaster general Heinrich von Stephan had read a report in the "Scientific American" of October 6, 1877 about Bell's device and its possibilities, copies were immediately ordered and tested. Since Bell had (probably by mistake) not applied for a patent for Germany, the telegraph construction company Siemens & Halske was able to replicate and improve Bell's telephone set. As early as 1877, the daily production there increased to up to 700 devices, Stephan gave them the name " Telephones ". Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for wireless telegraphy on June 2, 1896, which he presented to the public on July 27, 1896.

In the meantime, on July 28, 1866, the first permanent cable connection for telegraphy across the Atlantic ( transatlantic telephone cable ) was put into operation. In 1875 Werner von Siemens described a photocell made of selenium, George R. Carey pursued the idea until 1879 of transmitting images with the help of a field of selenium photocells (only realized in 1909). Édouard Estaunié is considered to be the creator of the word telecommunications, which he used as a book title in 1904. In August 1906, the first 12 km long Untersee telephone cable was laid in Lake Constance , and on July 10, 1908, Europe's first public telephone exchange was put into operation in Hildesheim . As the legal successor to the Reichspost , which was founded in May 1871, Deutsche Post was created in December 1947 and renamed the Deutsche Bundespost in April 1950 .

In the 20th century revolutionized important inventions , the telecommunications technology . The development of the Internet since October 1969 promoted digitization and brought about the digital revolution , which in addition to digital sound carriers also encompassed image carriers ( photography , film ). As inventor of the e-mail applies Ray Tomlinson when he sent in November / December 1971, a web-based e-mail to yourself. Michael Rotert received his first email on August 3, 1984 in Germany. The first fax machine came onto the market on October 28, 1974 as “Infotec 6000” , and the German Federal Post Office introduced the fax service “ Telefax ” in January 1979 with a transmission time of three minutes per A4 page. This was followed by teletex (March 1981), on-screen text ( Austria in June 1982 Germany in September 1983) or teletext ( WDR television since January 3, 1983, in Germany since January 1990). Japan began piloting ISDN in 1984 , and Germany followed in 1987. The transatlantic telephone cable was first used in fiber optic technology in 1989 . The rapid IT industrialization brought by Motorola International 3200 in September 1991 the first digital GSM-enabled mobile phone indicates that the digital media added. It triggered a real mobile phone boom in Germany from 1998 onwards .

Worldwide capacity

The effective worldwide capacity to exchange information over bi-directional telecommunications networks was 281 (optimally compressed) petabytes in 1986 and was estimated at 65 (optimally compressed) exabytes (or 65,000 petabytes) in 2007. This corresponds to 2 pages of daily newspaper per person in 1986, and 6 full daily newspapers per person in 2007. The average growth rate is 28% per year.


A distinction is made between asynchronous and synchronous telecommunications. With asynchronous telecommunications , messages are recorded or written down, transported to the recipient with a time delay and only then (perhaps) received by him ( letter , e-mail , fax , answering machine ). The synchronous telecommunications provides a two-way communication connection, the sender and recipient are in direct contact brings ( telephony , video conferencing , chat ).

With regard to signal transmission, there are:

In today's communications technology , telecommunication takes place almost exclusively via cables ( telecommunication cables , coaxial cables , also via the power grid ) or wirelessly using radio technology . Until recently, optical telecommunications also had a certain importance in the context of infrared remote controls and modems.

Telecommunication technology

Interfaces - connections

TAE stands for Telecommunication Connection Unit and is a junction box used in Germany for telecommunication connections. After liberalization, this junction box was the prerequisite for connecting a private telephone, answering machine , etc. Previously there was the connection box (VDo) or the socket (ADO). Other connections: RJ plug connection or WE plugs / sockets (Western plug), also called UAE for universal connection unit . The TAE socket is still used as a transfer interface for ISDN and DSL. With other providers, this interface may not be disclosed and a forced installation of the provider equipment must be used.

Modem (analog)
The transmission of the signals in sine waves, which z. B. generated by speech in electrical form transmitted in sound waves are output again. (Language → microphone → conduction path → loudspeaker → sound wave).

Modulators and demodulators (modems) are used for this purpose. Modem connections are available in Germany with a data transmission rate of up to 56 kbit / s.

ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network (Digital)
ISDN is the abbreviation for Integrated Services Digital Network and is the international standard for a digital telecommunications network. This network will be different services such as telex ( Telex ), Teletex , Datex-L (circuit-switched data transmission), Datex-P (packet switched data transmission) and telephone transmitted and communicated.

ISDN connections are offered in Germany with a data transfer rate of 64 kbit / s. With a basic connection, the capacity can be doubled by bundling channels. A primary rate connection (30 B-channels bundled) has a capacity of 2 Mbit / s in downstream and upstream.

DSL - Digital Subscriber Line
Via the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL, English for digital subscriber line), data can be sent and received at high transmission rates (1,000 kbit / s to 500 Mbit / s).

The different DSL variants (Digital Subscriber Line) all use the previous telephone connection as customer access, i.e. a single twisted copper pair.

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
ADSL or ADSL 2+, the asymmetrical digital connection line, allows the provision of asymmetrical transmission capacity so that the transmission speed in the downstream (1.5 to 16 Mbit / s) is higher than in the upstream (16 to 768 Kbit / s). With the help of an upstream switch, the “splitter”, the telephone service on the copper line is separated from the high bit rate data applications so that the line can be used in parallel with data transmission.
VDSL - Very High Speed ​​Digital Subscriber Line
The fastest asymmetrical DSL variant is VDSL (Very High Speed ​​Digital Subscriber Line) with transmission rates between 12 and 52 Mbit / s in the downstream and between 1.5 and 2.3 Mbit / s in the upstream in the network connection area via a pair of copper wires. However, transmission is only possible for relatively short transmission distances. The VDSL technology was specially developed for use in hybrid fiber optic / copper cable networks, as a supplement to ADSL and SDSL in the connection area from the local exchange via the cable distributor to the junction box.
SDSL - Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line
SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) enables identical transmission rates in both directions (symmetrical) between 2 and 20 Mbit / s. Since upstream and downstream take place simultaneously and at the same full speed, symmetrical Internet access is particularly suitable for companies that transmit large amounts of data with customers or partners or operate their own servers. In voice traffic, the transmission rates correspond to between 24 and 240 simultaneous calls.


In the telecommunications industry, a distinction between the operators of telecommunications networks ( English Carrier ), providers of services - the so-called service providers - and the manufacturers of telecommunications solutions, which (as a supplier English Supplier ), respectively.

The ten largest telecommunications companies in the world are (by revenue, as of 2015).

  1. AT&T
  2. Verizon Communications
  3. China Mobile
  4. Softbank
  5. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone
  6. Deutsche Telekom AG
  7. Telefónica
  8. KDDI
  9. China Telecom
  10. orange

The six largest network equipment providers in the world are (by turnover, as of 2015):

  1. Ericsson
  2. Huawei
  3. Nokia
  4. Alcatel-Lucent
  5. ZTE
  6. Samsung

Telecommunication costs

As reported by the Federal Network Agency , from the perspective of private households, spending on telecommunications services was 3.3 percent lower on average in 2008 than in 2007. Domestic calls to German landlines cost only one twentieth compared to 1997 at the beginning of 2009. Mobile phone calls in 2008 cost an average of 2.3 percent less than in 2007.

So-called value - added services (area code 0190 and 0900 ) and service (area code 0180 ) have been available in the fixed network since the early 1990s . The costs for special telephone and other services are processed via the normal billing of the caller (see also Audiotex , Call Center ).

See also


  • Fridhelm Bergmann (Ed.): Taschenbuch der Telekommunikation . 2nd Edition. Hanser, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-446-21750-9 .
  • Frank Hartmann: Global media culture. Technology, history, theories . WUV, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-8252-2723-5 .
  • Jan de Vries, Gerd Ballewski: Telephone / ISDN installations . Hüthig, Heidelberg 2002, ISBN 3-7785-2891-2 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Telecommunications  - Explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ VEB Fotokinoverlag Leipzig, Image and Sound , Volume 39, 1986, p. 180.
  2. ^ Aeschylus, Oresty: Agamemnon , verses 280-311.
  3. ^ Edwin Teale, Mile-a-Minute Pigeons , in: Popular Science Monthly 128 (6), June 1936, pp. 25 ff.
  4. Volker Aschoff, History of communications engineering , Volume 1, 1989, p. 60 .
  5. Thomas Birch , The history of the Royal Society of London for improving of natural knowledge , Volume 4, 1757, p. 299.
  6. Fritz Jörn, How do I connect the telephone, answering machine, fax and modem myself , 1999, p. 93 .
  7. ^ Rolf Oberliesen, Informations, Daten und Signals , 1987, p. 143.
  8. Édouard Estaunié, Traité pratique de Télécommunication électronique , 1904.
  9. Dietmar Strauch / Margarete Rehm, Lexicon Book - Library - New Media , 2007, p. 417 .
  10. ^ Martin Hilbert, Priscila López (2011): The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information. In: Science , 332 (6025), 60-65; Free access to the article is available on this page:
  11. Video animation about The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information from 1986 to 2010. .
  12. The World's Largest Telecom Companies 2018 , June 2018, accessed February 22, 2019.
  13. Süddeutsche Zeitung of July 29, 2015, Nokia is practicing the comeback, accessed on February 28, 2018.
  14. Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merged in January 2016 and rose to second place ahead of Huawei.
  15. Annual report 2008 of the Federal Network Agency ( Memento of the original from February 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /