## Tuesday, December 6, 2011

### T1 Lines - What They Are

Most of us have heard about "T1" lines. We know they are some kind of (expensive) communications line you can get from one of the telephone companies. It turns out T1's are part of the Digital Signal (DS) Level System.

Back in August, I wrote a post titled More on CODECs: Quantization + Sampling Rate = A PCM Wave. In that post I described how a piece of an analog signal is quantized and companded and then given an 8 bit binary code in a process referred to as encoding. From that post, we know to convert an analog signal to a digital signal the analog signal is sampled 8000 times per second and, after matching the instantaneous voltage sample level to one of 256 discrete levels, an 8 bit code is generated for each sample. If we multiply the sample rate by the bit code we get:

(8000 samples/second)(8 bits/sample) = 64,000 bits per second (bps)

So we can say a single analog voice channel, after conversion from analog to digital, requires 64Kbps of digital bandwidth. This 64Kbps is referred to as Digital Signal Level 0 (DS-0) and is the basic building block or channel for the existing digitally multiplexed T carrier system in the United States and the digital E carrier system used in Europe.

Voice calls are digitally multiplexed using either time division multiplexing or statistical time division multiplexing. Calls are grouped in a way similar to frequency division multiplexing. Let’s look at how this is done.

Digroups or DS-1 signals
Individual analog voice call channels converted to digital and require a bit rate of 64 Kbps each. 24 64 Kbps digital voice channels are multiplexed into digroups or DS-1 signals. If we have 24 DS-0 signals per DS-1 signal and each channel is 64 Kbps we can calculate:

Adding overhead consisting of timing and synchronization bits brings the DS-1 bit rate to 1.544 Mbps - that's a T1!
DS-1 Formation

We’ve described the process of encoding where an analog signal is sampled 8000 times per second, quantized into one of 256 discrete signal levels, companded it is then given an 8 bit binary code. After a single analog signal sample has been encoded it is multiplexed, with 24 other encoded 8 bit sample signals. This generates a 192 bit (8 bits/sample signal × 24 sample signals) sequence for the 24 sample signals. A process called framing then adds one framing bit to create a 193 bit frame.

The framing bits are used to keep the receiving device in synch with the frames it is receiving. Every twelve frames are grouped into a masterframe, also referred to as a superframe. Included within each masterframe is a twelve bit frame pattern from the 12 grouped 193 bit frames This twelve bit frame pattern carries a bit pattern of 000110111001 and repeats itself with each masterframe.

Masterframe

This masterframe bit pattern is used for synchronization.

Remember each channel is sampled 8000 times per second so a single frame represents one eight-thousandth of 24 individual channels or telephone calls. We can also say that, in one second a DS-1 signal transmits 8000 193 bit frames. We can use these numbers to calculate the true DS-1 bit rate which includes both data and overhead (framing) bits:
Each DS-1 signal carries a bit rate of 1.544 Mbps and.... that's a T1!