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7.09 - Telecoms for EDI

Telecommunications is an important element of IS strategy and is fundemental to gaining competitive advantage for any organisation.

The appropriate use of telecommunications can:-

  • Reduce the effect of geographical distance on any nationally or internationally dispersed organisation
  • Reduce the effect of time and time zones on the transmission of any form of information whatsoever (i.e. allows 24 hour working on projects that are suitably organised for it).
  • Allows the timely and unhindered transmission of information between an organisation and any of its customers, suppliers, and trading partners
  • Enhances and speeds up and adds value to an organisation’s existing marketing and distribution channels, and gives generally much improved customer access
  • Create completely new promotion, support and distribution channels and linkages
  • Reduce development and manufacturing lead times
  • Play key role in supporting an organisation’s New Product Introduction (NPI) process
  • Play a significant part in supporting an organisation’s support and manufacturing process

There is a bewildering array of tools and technologies that can be utilised.

Wide Area Networks (WAN’s)

Wide Area Networks (WAN’s) are used to connect Local Area Networks (LAN’s) and other types of networks together, so that users and computers in one location can communicate with users and computers in remote locations. WANs are usually built using leased lines for a particular organization and are private. Others, built by Internet service providers, provide connections from an organization’s LAN to the Internet. At each end of the leased line, a router connects to the LAN on one side and a hub within the WAN on the other. Instead of using expensive leased lines, WANs can also be built using less costly circuit switching or packet switching methods. Network protocols including TCP/IP provide data transport and addressing functions.

Recently with the proliferation of low cost of Internet connectivity many companies and organizations have turned to Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) to interconnect their networks, building a WAN in that way. Some commercial organisations offer solutions to create VPN networks.





Leased line

Point-to-Point connection between two computers or Local Area Networks (LANs)

Most secure


Circuit switching

A dedicated circuit path is created between end points. Best example is dialup connections

Less Expensive

Call Setup

Packet switching

Devices transport packets via a shared single point-to-point or point-to-multipoint link across a carrier internetwork. Variable length packets are transmitted over Permanent Virtual Circuits (PVC) or Switched Virtual Circuits (SVC)

Shared media across link

Cell relay

Similar to packet switching, but uses fixed length cells instead of variable length packets. Data is divided into fixed-length cells and then transported across virtual circuits

Best for simultaneous use of voice and data

Overhead can be considerable

Value Added Networks (VAN’s)

Value Added Networks is the generic term for a Wide Area Network operated by a third party who resells capacity on a commercial basis. The added value can take numerous forms including:-

  • Technical Support for application design,
  • Fault Finding and Diagnostic support (usually on an international basis)
  • The ability to support multiple terminal and computer types

Local Area Networks (LAN’s)

Local Area Networks (LAN’s) are telecommunications infrastructures for connecting PC’s, workstations and Servers within a single geographical site or building. At one time different LAN’s were available for Administration Offices and Manufacturing and Engineering Operations. There are still a few (almost none) sites where this difference still exists.

EDI and the Internet

Information to be provided at a later date.

Further Reading