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FUNDAMENTALS OF DATA COMMUNICATIONS – PART1

In these series of tutorials, I am going to discuss some basics about the data communications like, definitions of data, information, communication, types of communication, basic types of data communications, classification of serial communication, how asynchronous serial communication can be handled, and why it popular, types of communication channels, what is need of OSI model, Data communication standards, Why TCP/IP protocol is popular etc.

Introduction to Data Communication:

1.   What is data?
Data is collection of unorganized raw symbols like letters, symbols, numbers, etc. Data itself has no meaning until it is interpreted.

2.   What is Information?
Information is the well organized data that can be interpreted.

Example1: The light coming from a torch is raw data, if the same torch produces ON –OFF light continuously then it will be treated as information as shown in the below figure. Generally this type of technique is used to send message like “SOS-save our shape”.


Figure1: Sending light signals using torch light - animated



Example2:  Similarly, some signals are used to send messages in olden days.

Figure 2: Sending signals using smoke - animated
                                                             

Data
Information
Raw facts of things                        
Data with exact meaning which can interpreted
No contextual meaning
Meaningful

3.   What is communication?
It is the activity of exchanging or conveying information by using different variety of means (speaking, writing, smoke    signals, light signals etc).
Based on the nature of the signals that can be transmitted, the communication is broadly classified in to two.
a.   Analog Communication – In this communication, the information is conveyed through analog signals.
b.   Digital Communication – Because of advent of digital circuits and computers, it is possible to send the data through digital communication. This is also referred as data communication.

4.   What is data Communication?
It is the way of exchanging of digital data information from one place to another place through digital signals and their processing techniques.

The data communication is further classified into two types based on the number of bits transmitted at a time.
a.   Parallel Communication – In this communication, it is possible to transfer or receive the data as N-bits (8,16, 32, 64) at time. To transfer N bits at time, we need a bus cable. For example, the FRC bus cable is used between hard drive and mother board in your PC for parallel communication.
b.   Serial Communication – Here, the data is transmitted or received bit by bit. A single or two wires are enough to transmit or receive the data in bit by bit pashion. For example, the connection between mouse and CPU is a serial communication.

S.NO
Parallel Communication
Serial Communication
1
N bits are transmitted/received at a time
Bit by bit are transmitted/received at a time
2
Bus cable required      
One or two wire are enough
3
Cost - Bus cable cost increases as distance increases
Cost – comparatively less cost
4
Speed – because of N bits transmission/ reception at a time, the speed is high
Speed – Comparatively low speed due to bit by bit communication.
5
Complexity- easy to implement (a simple latch is enough to copy the data onto a bus and vice versa).
Complexity- difficult to implement (serial data must be converted back to parallel before processing).
5
Ex: FRC bus cable connection between mother board and hard drive or DVD-drive
Ex: connection between PC to mouse or keyboard is an example of serial communication.
To establish a proper communications between two devices, a set of rules (agreements between devices) to be defined and should be followed by the devices at the time of communication. Those set of rules to govern the communication in proper way is referred as “PROTOCOL”. The following types of serial communications are referred as types of serial communication protocols.

FUNDAMENTALS OF DATA COMMUNICATIONS – PART2

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