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What is telecommunications engineering?

Background

The telecommunications industry is the backbone of today’s mobile landscape, deploying voice, data, graphics and video at ever increasing speeds and in a growing number of ways. Wireline telephone communication was once the primary service of the industry, now wireless communication and satellite distribution are becoming increasingly dominant. Specialists in telecommunications engineering, are needed to keep up with this ever changing fast-paced industry.

The basics of telecommunications

Telecommunications engineering is a discipline founded around the exchange of information across channels via wired or wireless means. It brings together all of the elements of electrical engineering including computer engineering and system engineering to create and improve telecommunications systems.

Telecom engineers work to develop, design and maintain voice and data communications systems including fiber, satellite, wired and unwired, as well as the encoding, encryption and compression of data. Put simply, telecommunications engineering can be found in just about every aspect of our lives, from GPS navigation to the internet.

telecommunications engineering
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The work of a telecommunications engineer ranges from creating basic circuit designs to deploying wireless networks. They are responsible for designing and overseeing the installation of telecommunications equipment and facilities, such as complex electronic switching systems, copper wire telephone facilities, fiber optics cabling or IP data systems.

Some of the main areas of focus for telecommunications engineers are the installation of high-speed broadband computer networks, optical communications and wireless or satellite communications. To give a better idea of the scope of work a telecom engineer operates within, here are some career opportunities for individuals working within the discipline, according to the University of Texas at Dallas.

  • Computer communications and networking
  • Mobile communications
  • Voice and data networks
  • TV and radio broadcasting
  • Optical networking
  • Remote sensing, measurement and control
  • Next-generation networks

Roles

Telecommunications engineers are part of every process of creating a telecom system, dealing with both software and hardware. Here are some roles a telecom engineer might take on.

Design – electronic components, software, products, or systems for commercial, industrial, medical, military or scientific applications;

Develop – maintenance and testing procedures for electronic components and equipment;

Test – Evaluate systems and recommend design modifications or equipment repair;

Debug – Inspect electronic equipment, instruments and systems to make sure that they are safe.

The future

With 5G and the expansion of the internet of things (IoT) ahead, telecommunications engineering will be as important as ever. The discipline will help expand both LPWAN networks and networks that produce data speeds never before seen. Telecom engineers will have the important task of ensuring that telecommunications systems, from small components to entire networks, are running as effectively and efficiently as possible.

 

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