A couple of words about telecommunications in images.

I bumped into this problem when the time came to order a new site for our company. It seems that most designers working on this topic usually slightly misunderstand how modern telecommunications look like.

From one side it's an issue of general thought on the telco stuff and from another -- the field of telecommunications is actually quite closed. You don't really often bump into a piece of DWDM equipment on the street, do you? Or have you ever seen how modern router or even server looks like.

It's strange, because we use this things every day for sending our e-mails and uploading the images to dreamstime.

I think most people hearing the word router imagine a piece of plastic with blinking leds and WiFi horns, just something like a mobile phone. It really goes like this when we talk about home Internet or your own tiny WiFi network. But I'm afraid, most designers, working on a site for ISP, will be thinking this way.

Let's try to type router in the search bar of dreamstime. :) Yep! In our glossy world everything tends to be glossy, tiny and slim.

Router usually looks like a box. Just a box for stuff. Much bigger than a mobile phone. More like a suitcase. Here I wanted to insert a picture of a real router like Juniper J-Series or Cisco 3800 to compare with a box, but didn't even find any sufficient image in dreamstime database. I have nothing to do but refer you to Google.

© Plunin
Most of telecommunication equipment lives in special iron coffins called racks. Rack is just like a wardrobe or a fridge: two meters high, stands on the floor, and has doors. Usually no beer inside, but exceptions are not impossible.

They are installed in special place called equipment hall. All this seems like a large frozen noisy room with rows of racks here and there. Noisy because each piece of telecommunication equipment has fans which are needed to make a few additional decibels of noise. And frozen because each router, server or even ethernet switch does a bit of global worming and we need good air-conditioners to cool all that and of course to do some more global warming.

© Plunin
If there had been no coolers and no conditioners, our equipment hall would've became an equipment hell. Another thing used to prevent the hell is fire suppression system: a few red bottles with Aragonit or Nitrogen. To make our services reliable we need strong power suppliers and UPS. Industrial UPSes are also like refrigerators. They are usually bigger than ordinary racks and stand aside.

Well, telecom is not just wires and lights as we could understand examining the web sites. From inside it's rather an industrial plant than a spaceship from a movie. Just imagine, how it works. You press a key on you computer at home and all that incredible stuff begins work on it: transmits bits in and out, blink leds, make noise with fans and do the global warming.

Here are a few my examples of how modern telecommunication look like.

© Plunin
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Photo credits: Andres Rodriguez, Kalvis Kalsers, Pavel Lunin, Spectral-design.

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February 17, 2008


Reading this I could not help but think of the mess of all the cords and wires at my company. When I get a better camera I will have to take some shots. Not as big as the Cisco, but bigger than the usual router.

Thanks for planting the seed.....

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