Exploiting Integrated Voice and Data Networks John Lane NCC Publications, UK (1987) £12.50, ISBN 0 85012 6061, 150 pp It is now firmly established that the telecommunications infrastructure for the next few years will be based on the use of 64 kbit/s channels. This gives adequate quality PCM encoded speech; it is also a higher rate than almost all data services, and hence the integration of voice and data services is natural. There are many threads to this argument, and over the last six years the technology and standards have been evolving rapidly. This book sets out to give a broad overview of the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), integrated Private Automatic Branch Exchanges (PABX) and Local Area Networks (LAN), and the way they will be applied to practical problems. It considers the networking and interconnection of PABXs and LANs, and the future use of high speed LANs for voice purposes. In a book of this size the treatment is necessarily superficial, but the space restriction is not helped by a considerable degree of repetition. The CCITT standards on which ISDN is founded are explained and re-explained. On the other hand, this does mean that each chapter can generally be read in isolation. As a result of the rate of change there is much confusion in the minds of many involved in this area. The book sets out to throw some light on how the new possibilities can be exploited. Unfortunately, some of the confusion has been carried over into this book, particularly when it comes to the detail. For example, the work is unclear on the relationship between IDA and ISDN, ascribing to IDA some technical significance, whereas it is actually the marketing name for British Telecom's ISDN. The regulatory situation is also rendered obscure. Other weaknesses lie in the mixing of data terminology and ISDN terminology (e.g. NT, DT, TE and
vol 11 no 4 august 1988
regarded as an interesting piece of light reading for a telecommunications manager or student wishing to obtain some concept of the revolution which is about to change the way in which telecommunications are provided, and it could be a lead into other, more definitive texts. However, at the price it is expensive light reading.
NTU) without any explanation, giving the impression of a rather hurriedly assembled document. Overall this book could be
J M Griffiths British Telecom UK
Networks J Brookes, J Maynard and C Slurnan (eds) Blackwell Scientific, UK (1988) £350.00 ISBN 0 632 02066 0 (updates ISSN 0951 2365), 250 pp This is not a book in the conventional sense. Its initial 250 pages are published in a loose leaf, A4 ring binder format designed to accept quarterly updates. The cost of £350 buys the initial publication plus the three sets of updates, each of 50 pages, expected during the first year. The reader has to pay a subscription 'at a reduced cost' to obtain subsequent updates. Aimed at company directors and technical managers, the publication has an impressive steering board lineup, and a persuasive advertising pack which is being widely distributed. The commercial success of this venture will depend, of course, on establishing an adequate subscriber base. In turn, that will depend on how valuable subscribers find the published material. Following a brief introduction there are five major sections: practical networking; public services; standards; technology; and product surveys. Given the target readership, it is a wise decision to start with a section dealing with business benefits of networking and related topics,
relegating technological matters until later: in fact, the structure looks very promising. Unfortunately, to judge by the material so far (several subsections and the entire product surveys section are not yet available), the editors have been unsuccessful in producing a co-ordinated volume. This is an inevitable danger when so many authors are brought together to cover such a broad scope. Perhaps each section should be prefaced by a strong introduction, stating its intentions and outlining how they will be achieved. There may well be a role for such a publication as this in the publishing marketplace. Certainly there is increasingly more information to impart on the various aspects of networks, and a large and growing potential readership in companies which use, and supply, information technology. This publication needs firm editorial control to make the best possible impact on that marketplace.
David Hutchison University of Lancaster UK
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