Book details of 'Telecom & Networking Glossary: Understanding Communications Technology'
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Telecom & Networking Glossary: Understanding Communications Technology':
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The book is intended for non-technical newcomers to the telecom
industry, such as new hires, managers, suppliers, vendors, policy
makers, decision makers, investors, or anyone else. (Why all of these
people are considered non-technical is a bit beyond me.) Neither the
introduction nor the material itself seems to present a clear picture
of a specific area of concentration, yet the content is too narrow to
cover the full range of telecommunications.
Some terms, such as "accounting rate," are quite terse and rely on
undefined terms ("call termination charge") for full understanding.
Others, such as "asynchronous transfer mode (ATM)," carry paragraphs
of trivia, but do not provide the promised "big picture"
understanding. ISDN (integrated services digital network) gets a two
page editorial. Some are missing obvious, but perhaps non-essential
details: why does ARDIS expand to Advanced National Radio Data
While relatively few entries are affected, it is worth noting that
numbers are spelled out and listed in alphabetical order, so that
"eight hundred (800) service" appears in the "E" section. (There is
no entry for "toll free.")
The book contradicts itself in a number of places. Application
program interface (API) is defined properly on page 14, but is clearly
misused in the discussion of Internet telephony. We are told that
X.25 "data packets vary [in size] during the course of a transmission"
on page 16, but that "packets on an X.25 network are fixed in length"
on page 64. (Neither of these statements is really accurate.)
A significant number of the terms are either relatively archaic (in a
fast moving industry) or probably outside the range of non-specialist
experience or operation, such as AUTODIN.
Acronyms usually are not defined, but point to the expanded phrase for
the explanation. Not all acronyms are included, however. For
example, synchronous digital hierarchy is listed, and the acronym SDH
is noted for it, but there is no entry in the glossary for SDH. On
the other hand, "MIS" is simply defined as "Abbreviation for
management information system."
The choice of slang terms for inclusion is odd. "Cells on wheels"
probably won't ever be used or heard except by cellular network repair
people. "Choppiness" is both obvious and unimportant, as is "dial-a-
porn." The only computer or Internet related slang is "spam."
As noted in a number of places above, definitions of computer or
Internet terms suffer in accuracy even in comparison to the rest of
the book. The explanation for "Universal Resource Locator" (and the
more common expansion of URL uses "uniform") only refers to Web sites,
whereas the really important aspect of a URL is that it presents a
consistent addressing format for almost all Internet applications.
(And there is no entry for "virus.")
Even given its advantages in size and price, I find it hard to think
of anyone who would benefit from this glossary. I remember the days
when works of similar size and scope were handed out by the boxload as
freebies from networking and communications companies. I don't recall
them being either this limited, or this error prone.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999
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