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New telecoms networks course

March 13th, 2019

The networks that provide telecommunications services for individuals and businesses have gone through rapid change in the last few years. Their evolution has been fuelled by the demands for higher capacity coupled with the growth in the use of Internet and mobile services and the need to reduce operating costs.

PTT has just released a new online course that provides a comprehensive introduction to modern telecoms networks. The topics covered range from the capabilities and applications of optical, microwave and satellite links to the structure and benefits of next generation networks and the systems that provide fixed line and mobile telephony.

The PTT “Telecommunications networks” e-learning course is ideal for those joining the sector with a technical role and who will benefit from an appreciation of the role and capabilities of the systems they are responsible for.


National Apprenticeship Week 2019

March 4th, 2019

The National Apprenticeship Week 2019, between the 4th and 8th of May, has as its theme “Blazing a trail”. This celebrates the change that apprenticeships can bring – for employers blazing a trail to new markets, apprentices to new career opportunities and for colleges and training providers raising the skills levels for everyone.

More details at https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-week-2019

PTT is blazing a trail by providing innovative online learning solutions that reduce costs and increase the flexibility of Telecommunications and ICT apprenticeship delivery.

More information at https://www.ptt.co.uk/apprenticeship.html



Tribute to a telecoms pioneer

October 5th, 2018

Last week the death of Charles Kuen Kao, the engineer who received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics for pioneering work in fibre-optic communications, was announced. 52 years ago, Kao published a ground-breaking paper that heralded the use of optical fibre for high speed communications.

The story of the birth of optical fibre communications is an example of how many of the technologies we all depend on came from international research. Kao was born in China and worked at the Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in the UK. His group at STC was set up to investigate the use of laser communications by the British inventor of pulse code modulation, Alec Harley Reeves.

Kao and his colleagues at STC had heard that Eli Snitzer at American Optical had shown that a very thin glass fibre could be used to confine light to a single path. However, because the very high loss of the glass available then made communications over more than a few metres impossible, other researchers concentrated on metal waveguides. But Kao asked the crucial question that no else had thought of asking: how transparent can glass possibly be made?

Harold Rawson, a glass expert at the University of Sheffield in the UK, told Kao that by purifying glass, fibre could carry optical signals over several kilometres.

Kao then carried out tests on glass made by Corning in the USA to withstand high temperatures. But no one apart from Kao had thought to measure its optical properties. He found the glass could be the basis of a practical communications system.

Further research by Corning resulted in glass fibre that could carry telecommunications traffic over long distances and which the Internet and mobile communications ultimately rely on.