Goodman, Matthew S. Bell Communications Research, Inc., Morristown, New Jersey.
- Transmission and the data channel
- Packet-switched networks
- Other networking protocols
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The conveyance of information from a source to a destination. Data means the symbolic representation of information, generally in a digital (that is, discrete) form. (Analog information refers to information encoded according to a continuous physical parameter, such as the height or amplitude of a waveform, while digital information is encoded into a discrete set of some parameter, for example, a voltage level.) Usually, this digital information is composed of a sequence of binary digits (ones and zeros), called bits. The binary system is used because its simplicity is universally recognizable and because digital data have greater immunity to electronic noise than analog information and allow flexible processing of the information. Groups of eight bits create a data byte or character. These characters make up the alphabets (including alphabetic, numeric, and special symbols) which are used in data communications. The most common data sources and destinations are computers, computer peripherals, and other data devices [such as digital phones, cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and digital imaging applications], and the data represent groups of characters to form text, hypertext (text organized according to topic rather than linear sequence), or multimedia information, including audio, graphics, animation, and video information. See also: Bit; Computer; Computer graphics; Computer peripheral devices; Digital computer; Electrical noise; Multimedia technology; Numbering systems
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