Teracom Training Institute


Best of breed: telecom training -  since 1992



An intensive three-day modular course covering all major topics in telecom, datacom and networking. 

Telecom, Datacom and Networking for Non-Engineering Professionals is our "core training" - an intensive three-day course designed for non-engineering professionals, to get you up to speed on virtually all aspects of telecom, datacom and networking, from fundamentals and jargon to the latest technologies.

Thousands of people from organizations including Cisco, Intel and Microsoft, the CIA, IRS, FAA, and FBI, all branches of US Armed Forces, Verizon, AT&T, TELUS and Qwest, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, TD Bank, Oneida Tableware, the Portland Trailblazers and hundreds of others who needed to be more effective in understanding and dealing with telecom and networking technology have benefited from this course.  

The content, its order, our analogies and explanations have been refined over the course of twenty years… and we constantly update it.

·  We start at the beginning of the story, progress through it in a logical order, and finish at the end. 

·  We bust the buzzwords, explain the jargon, and more importantly, the ideas and concepts behind the jargon: key concept-level knowledge that you can’t get on the job, from magazines or vendors. 

·  Covering the topics in a systematic way, we build structured knowledge that lasts a lifetime. 

This core training - and our superb instructors - consistently receive rave reviews on evaluations. 
Many attendees tell us that this is training they wish they’d had years ago!

Course Objectives

   Establish a solid base in the fundamentals
of telecom, datacom and networking.

   Fill in the gaps.  Understand jargon and buzzwords.

   Understand mainstream technologies and solutions.

   Put a structure in place that project-specific knowledge can be built on in the future.

   Understand how it all fits together.

   Develop career-enhancing knowledge skills.

Course Content (High-Level Summary)

Part 1: Fundamentals of Telecommunications

   The PSTN, analog, loops and trunks, POTS

   PBX, Centrex, Hosted PBX, IP Centrex

   VoIP, Soft switches, SIP trunking

   Digital: 64 kb/s voice, MP4 video, binary pulses

   Telecom industry, LECs, CLECs, POPs and IXCs

   The Cloud & how services are provided

   Wireless: Cellular, 3G, 4G LTE, WiFi, Satellite

Part 2: “Data” Communications & Transmission

   Convergence: treat everything like data

   Datacom basics: DTEs, DCEs, LANs and WANs

   IP packets & MAC frames; ASCII, binary and hex

   Ethernet LANs, cables, LAN switches, VLANs

   TDM, DS0-DS3 & SONET vs. IP & Optical Ethernet

   Fiber, wavelengths, modes, DWDM, FTTH, PONs

   DSL and cable modems on the last mile

Part 3: Networking

   OSI Layers and protocol stacks

   Routers, IP addresses, DHCP, public-private NAT

   IPv6 address types and allocation

   Carrier packet networks, SLAs, Class of Service

   MPLS for CoS, VPNs, integration and aggregation

   Internet, ISPs, the Web, Internet VoIP and VPNs

   Practical solutions and project methodology



Who should attend

   This course is for those needing to fill in the knowledge gaps, understand the buzzwords and jargon, popular technologies like Ethernet, MPLS and TCP/IP, and more importantly, the ideas behind these technologies and understand how it all fits together. 

   Ideal for non-engineering professionals in need of a solid knowledge base to be more effective in dealing with technology projects and technical personnel.

Tuition Fees

Value priced at only US$1395 for the three-day course.
Compare to $1999+ for lower quality elsewhere.

Register online at www.teracomtraining.com or call us toll-free: 1-877-412-2700

Telecom, Datacom and Networking for Non-Engineering Professionals is our core training, organized into three modular parts: telecom, datacom and… networking.  We’ll start at the beginning of the story, progress through key concepts in a logical order, and finish at the end.  Our goal is to bust the buzzwords, cut through the jargon and doubletalk to put in place a clear, structured understanding of telecom, datacom, IP and networking.

Part 1: Fundamentals of Telecommunications

The first part provides an understanding of the telephone network, traditional telephony and VoIP, digital communications, the telecom business and players, the Cloud and wireless. We'll demystify buzzwords and jargon, provide a clear structure for understanding the components of telecom networks including loops and trunks, switches, VoIP, digital voice and video, ILECs and CLECs, the network “cloud”, how services are actually provided, plus wireless: mobile networks, cellular to 4G, WiFi… and how it all fits together.


   Understand telecom fundamentals:

   Telephony and the telephone network

   Voice over IP

   Digital voice and video

   The telecom business, ILECs and CLECs

   The Cloud and how services are provided

   Wireless telecom: cellular to 4G and WiFi.

   Fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

   Form a solid base on which to build.

What you will learn

   The structure and operation of the telephone network.

   What analog means.  The voiceband.  Loops and trunks. 

   Plain Ordinary Telephone Service

   Voice over IP (VoIP) concepts and components

   Traditional PBX & Centrex vs. VoIP Soft switches

   What digital means.  How voice is digitized.  MP4 video.

   All about LECs, CLECs, IXCs and interconnections.

   Wireless and cellular concepts, terminology, standards.

   3G CDMA, 4G LTE and WiFi

1. Fundamentals of Telephony

It all begins with the Public Switched Telephone Network and Plain Ordinary Telephone Service. We'll establish with a model for the PSTN, explaining analog circuits, loops, trunks, remotes, circuit switching and other telephony buzzwords and jargon.  We’ll understand how the network is organized into access, switching and transmission.  We’ll cover Centrex and traditional PBX, then understand Voice over IP (VoIP) concepts and components, soft switches and SIP trunking.

A.   History of Telecommunications

B.   The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

C.   Analog Circuits

D.   What is Sound?

E.   The Voiceband

F.    Plain Ordinary Telephone Service (POTS)

G.   DTMF Address Signaling

H.   Signaling System 7 (SS7)

I.      Network Architecture: Access, Switching, Transmission

J.    Telephone Switches

K.   Traditional PBX and Centrex

L.    VoIP

M.  Soft Switches, Hosted PBX and IP Centrex

N.   SIP Trunking

2. Digital

With the fundamentals in place, we’ll cover digital.  You will learn what is really meant by “digital”, how voice is digitized to 64 kb/s, and MP4 digital video. We’ll complete the story understanding how the resulting bits are communicated using binary pulses on copper and fiber.

A.   Analog and Digital: What Do We Really Mean?

B.   Continuous Signals, Discrete Signals

C.   Voice Digitization (Analog Digital Conversion)

D.   Voice Reconstruction (Digital → Analog Conversion)

E.   Voice Digitization: 64kb/s G.711 Standard

F.    Digital Video: H.264 / MPEG-4 Standard

G.   Implementing Digital: Binary Pulses

3. The Telecommunications Industry, Competition and Interconnect

In this chapter, you will gain a solid understanding of the telecommunications business and how it is structured, including telephone companies, local and long-distance, and how these companies compete and interconnect.  You will understand how each organization fits into the picture, including ILECs, IXCs, resellers, CLECs, collocations, regional rings, POPs and MANs.

A.   US Domestic Telcos

B.   AT&T and Verizon

C.   Canadian Telephone Companies

D.   PSTN Switching Center Hierarchy

E.   1984: LECs, IXCs and POPs - Last Mile: Switched Access from ILEC

F.    Competitive Carrier - Last Mile: Dedicated Line from ILEC

G.   Competitive Carrier - Last Mile CLEC: Collocation plus ILEC Dark Fiber

H.   Competitive Carrier Network Model: Regional Rings, POPs and MANs

4. The Cloud

Next, we will demystify the Network Cloud.  You will learn why people draw a picture of a cloud to represent a network, then most importantly, what is inside the cloud and understand what is really going on. You will learn about the three basic kinds of network services available, the equipment used to implement each, and how services are actually provided… highly useful knowledge when planning, ordering, troubleshooting, auditing, or otherwise dealing with carrier services. 

A.   Anatomy of a Service

B.   Inside the Network Cloud

C.   Network Equipment: How and Where Each is Used

D.   Summary: How Services Are Provided

5. Wireless

We'll complete the first part of the course, and the first day, with wireless, concentrating on cellular.  You will learn the components and basic principles of operation of mobile networks, tracing a call from end-to-end from mobile phone to landline.  You’ll understand the requirements for coverage, capacity and mobility, and why cellular radio systems are used.  We’ll cover voice over cellular, then the exploding area of “data” over cellular, which is actually Internet access.  With the concepts in place, we’ll sort out different cellular technologies and generations: without bogging down on details, you will learn the differences between 2G GSM/TDMA, 3G 1X, UMTS and HSPA CDMA, and 4G LTE with its OFDM.  We’ll conclude with WiFi, more properly called 802.11 wireless LANs, and satellite communications.

A.   Wireless

B.   Mobile Networks

C.   Cellular

D.   Second Generation: Digital Cellular

E.   Digital Cellular: Voice

F.    Digital Cellular: Data = Internet Access

G.   Spectrum-Sharing Technologies: FDMA, TDMA, CDMA, OFDM

H.   3G: 1X, UMTS, HSPA (CDMA)

I.      4G LTE and OFDM

J.    Dynamic Assignment of Subcarriers

K.   Wireless LANs: WiFi & 802.11 Standards

L.    Satellite


Part 2: “Data” Communications & Transmission

The second part of the course begins the second day with a discussion of how voice and video are treated like data to achieve convergence: one network and one service for everything.  Then we’ll put in place a solid base of the principles and technologies that were developed for communicating data, including circuit configurations, LANs and WANs, packets and frames and Ethernet.  Then we’ll cover transmission systems: legacy channelized TDM and SONET backbones, today’s IP and Optical Ethernet core network, fiber optics, and finishing the module and the day with fiber to the neighborhood then DSL and cable modems on copper for the last mile.


   Understand how convergence was achieved by treating telephone and television like data

   Learn the fundamentals of technologies originally developed for data and now used for everything.

   Understand legacy channelized TDM systems, today’s packet-switched and Optical Ethernet systems, and the transition from old to new.

   Learn the fundamentals of fiber optics, fiber in the network core and fiber to the premise.

   Learn how fiber to the neighborhood then DSL and Cable modems are used for the last mile in brownfields.

What you will learn

   What convergence is and how it was achieved.

   Circuit components, DTEs and DCEs.

   Circuit configurations: LANs and WANs.

   Binary and hex, ASCII and unicode.

   Fundamentals of frames and packets, how they relate

   LANs: Ethernet, MAC addresses, LAN cable categories.

   Ethernet switches, VLANs and Optical Ethernet.

   Legacy channelized TDM transmission systems and DS0.

   DS1 vs. T1.  DS3, SONET, ISDN. 

   Today’s IP packet & Optical Ethernet backbones.

   The transition from channels to packets.

   Fiber optics basics: wavelengths and modes, DWDM.

   Optical Ethernet to the business, PONs to the home.

   DSL, DSLAMs, and VDSL2 for the last mile.

   Broadband carriers, cable modems and DOCSIS

6. “Data” Communications Concepts

We'll begin the second day understanding what “convergence” is and how it was achieved by treating telephone calls and television like data communications.  Then, we’ll get you up to speed on the concepts, jargon, buzzwords and technologies that were originally developed for datacom and now used for everything.  You’ll learn the basic ITU model for data circuits, the components in the model, and practical examples of circuit configurations including LANs and WANs.  This chapter serves as an introduction to topics that will be covered in the rest of the course. 

A.   Convergence: Treat Everything Like Data

B.   Data Circuit Model

C.   Data Terminal Equipment (DTE)

D.   Analog and Digital Data Circuits

E.   Data Circuit-Terminating Equipment (DCE)

F.    Point-to-Point Circuits

G.   Multidrop Circuits

H.   LANs

I.      Wide Area Networks

7. Coding, Frames and Packets

In this chapter, we'll put in place a solid understanding of the key concepts of IP packets and LAN frames, ensuring that you have a solid foundation on which to build an understanding of IP packets, Ethernet MAC frames, routers, bandwidth on demand packet networks and the Internet.  We’ll begin with a quick review of binary and hexadecimal to ensure you’re up to speed.

A.   Essential Functions

B.   Representing Quantities: Decimal, Binary and Hex

C.   Character Coding: ASCII and Unicode

D.   Start/Stop/Parity

E.   Frames

F.    Packets

G.   Packets and IP Addresses vs. Frames and MAC Addresses

8. Ethernet, LANs and VLANs

Ethernet is now used in all parts of the network.  In this chapter, you will learn the basic principles of Ethernet and LANs, how it was formalized in the 802 series of standards, the crucial concepts of MAC addresses and MAC frames, LAN cables and the important concept of a broadcast domain.  You’ll understand LAN switches, also called Layer 2 switches connect devices, and how VLANs separate devices.  Finally, we’ll review Optical Ethernet and the standards for communicating MAC frames at up to 100 Gigabits per second on fiber between switches. 

A.   MAC Addresses, MAC Frames and Broadcast Domains

B.   Ethernet and 802 standards

C.   LAN Cables and Categories

D.   Ethernet / Layer 2 Switches

E.   VLANs

F.    Optical Ethernet

9. Transmission Systems

Channelized Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) is now referred to as a “legacy” technology – but there is a huge installed base that is not going to disappear overnight.  We’ll begin with the basics of TDM, multiplexers and channels.  You’ll learn about the DS0-DS3 hierarchy and the technologies that implement it: T1, SONET and ISDN.  Then, we’ll understand how today’s packet-based transmission systems move IP packets in Ethernet frames on demand, and cover important issues in the transition from channels to packets. 

A.   Channelized Time Division Multiplexing (TDM)

B.   Multiplexers

C.   DS0s and SONET Framing

D.   Channelized Digital Hierarchy: Standard Legacy Transmission Speeds

E.   Digital Carrier Systems: Legacy Transmission Technologies

F.    ISDN BRI and PRI

G.   Statistical Time Division Multiplexing

H.   Overbooking and Bandwidth on Demand

I.      IP Packets and Ethernet Framing

J.    Coexistence and Transition from Channels to Packets

10. Fiber

In this chapter, you will learn the fundamentals of fiber: how it is used to communicate bits, how fiber cables are constructed, the types of fiber, wavelengths, bands and modes, and the impairment called dispersion that limits transmission distances.  Then, we’ll cover the important concept of Wave-Division Multiplexing, allowing huge increases in bandwidth.  You’ll understand how in the past 1.5 Mb/s was called “high capacity” and in the near future 10 Gb/s will be  “high capacity”.  We’ll complete the chapter on fiber by understanding how fiber is used in the network core, how it is used to build Metropolitan Area Networks, how Optical Ethernet is used for access circuits, and how Passive Optical Network technology can be used to save money.

A.   Light as a Carrier

B.   Fiber Optics and Fiber Cables

C.   Optical Wavelengths, Bands and Modes

D.   Wave-Division Multiplexing: CWDM and DWDM

E.   Network Core

F.    Metropolitan Area Network

G.   Fiber to the Premise (FTTP, FTTH): PONs and OE

11. DSL and Cable Modems: Last Mile on Copper

To finish the second part of the course, we’ll explore how fiber is pulled to the neighborhood, then modems are used to communicate bits on the “last mile” in brownfields, i.e. established residential neighborhoods where copper wire cables are already installed.  You’ll learn what modems do and how they work.  Then you will learn the telephone company’s strategy: DSL and DSLAMs and the latest VDSL2 technology, then the cable TV company’s strategy: cable modems on broadband coax, and compare and contrast the two.

A.   Modems: Representing Data in a Frequency Channel

B.   Modulation Techniques

C.   DSL: Beyond the Voiceband


E.   Fiber to the Neighborhood (FTTN), DSL to the Premise

F.    VDSL2 Bands and Profiles

G.   Broadband Carriers: FTTN & Broadband Coax to the Premise


Part 3:  Networking

The third part brings it all together with networking: starting the third day with the OSI Layers to provide a structure for the discussion, then the principles of overbooking, bandwidth on demand and packet switching, IP and routers, Customer Edge, IP addressing, DHCP, public and private addresses, Network Address Translation and IPv6.  Then in the afternoon, we’ll cover carrier packet networks, Service Level Agreements, MPLS and how MPLS is used to implement VPNs, classes of service, service integration and traffic aggregation.  The last main chapter covers the Internet, ISPs, Internet VoIP and Internet VPNs.  We’ll conclude with a top-down review with templates for mainstream solutions you can put to immediate use and a peek at the future of telecommunications.


   Understand networking fundamentals as well as current practical technologies, services and solutions. 

   Understand what the OSI Layers are

   Understand how protocol stacks work

   Learn about routers and IP addressing

   Understand carrier packet network services

   Learn about MPLS and how it is used to manage traffic on the network.

   Understand Internet structure and operation, how ISPs fit into the picture and Internet voice and data.

   Learn technology deployment steps.

What you will learn

   Truly understand the OSI layers and protocol stacks.

   How routers implement the network.

   The Customer Edge (CE) and what it does.

   IPv4 packets and address classes, and IPv6

   Static and dynamic addresses and DHCP

   Public and private addresses and NAT

   Structure and components of carrier packet networks.

   Service Level Agreements and traffic profiles.

   The crucial concept of virtual circuits

   Briefly review legacy Frame Relay and ATM

   MPLS jargon, buzzwords and principles of operation.

   How MPLS can be used to implement classes of service, service integration and traffic aggregation.

   MPLS business services and MPLS VPNs.

   The history, structure and operation of the Internet.

   ISPs, the Domain Name System and MIME

   Internet telephony and Internet VPNs

   Technology deployment practices and solutions.

   The future of telecommunications.

12. The OSI Layers and Protocol Stacks

There are so many functions that must be performed to interoperate systems, a structure is required to organize the functions so that separate issues can be treated separately.  We’ll begin the third part of the course, and the third day with the most commonly-used structure, the ISO Open Systems Interconnection 7-Layer Reference Model.  You'll learn what a layer is, the purpose of each layer, examples of protocols like TCP and IP used to implement layers, and gain a true understanding of how a protocol stack works for applications like web surfing and VoIP.

A.   Protocols and Standards

B.   ISO OSI Reference Model

C.   OSI 7-Layer Model

D.   Physical Layer: 802.3, DSL, DOCSIS

E.   Data Link Layer: 802 MAC

F.    Network Layer: IP and MPLS

G.   Transport Layer: TCP and UDP

H.   Session Layer: POP, SIP, HTTP

I.      Presentation Layer: ASCII, Encryption, Codecs

J.    Application Layer: SMTP, HTML, English …

K.   Protocol Stack in Operation: Babushka Dolls

L.    Standards Organizations

13. IP Networks, Routers and Addresses

With a structure in place for discussing what we need to do, we’ll understand how networks are implemented. We begin with the simplest framework, a private network, to understand routing and bandwidth on demand.  We’ll introduce the term Customer Edge router and examine the functions performed by a router.  Then we will cover IPv4 addressing: IPv4 address classes, static vs. dynamic addresses and DHCP, public and private addresses and NAT.  Then we’ll review IPv6, and how IPv6 addresses are allocated and assigned, and types of IPv6 addresses.

A.   Review: Channelized TDM

B.   Efficiency via Overbooking & Bandwidth on Demand

C.   IP Packets

D.   Routers and Customer Edge (CE)

E.   IPv4 Address Classes

F.    DHCP

G.   Public and Private IPv4 Addresses

H.   Network Address Translation

I.      IPv6 Address Allocation and Address Types

14. MPLS and Carrier Networks

IP packets will be used to carry everything, including phone calls and television.  But IP in itself does not include any Quality of Service (QoS) mechanism, no way to prioritize or manage traffic.  This is implemented with MPLS.  In this chapter, you’ll learn the basics of carrier packet networks, identifying Provider Edge (PE), Customer Edge (CE), access and core, and the important concept of a Service Level Agreement.  Then you’ll gain a practical understanding of the purpose and functioning of MPLS, virtual circuits and traffic classes, previous methods Frame Relay and ATM, then MPLS and how it is used to implement business customer services, differentiated services and Class of Service (CoS), service integration and traffic aggregation in the core.

A.   Carrier Packet Network Basics

B.   Service Level Agreement

C.   Provider Equipment at the Customer Premise

D.   Virtual Circuit Technologies

E.   Packet-Switching using Virtual Circuits

F.    Frame Relay using Virtual Circuits

G.   ATM


I.      MPLS VPNs for Business Customers

J.    MPLS and Diff-Serv to Support Classes of Service

K.   MPLS for Service Integration

L.    MPLS for Traffic Aggregation

15. The Internet

The Internet is a giant collection of interconnected IP networks called Autonomous Systems across which the public can communicate IP packets.  In this chapter, we’ll understand what an ISP is and how they connect to others via transit and peering, then review how DNS, HTML, HTTP, clients and servers work together to form the Web on top of the Internet.  We’ll conclude by understanding telephone calls over the Internet and secure VPNs over the Internet. 

A.   A Network To Survive Nuclear War

B.   The Inter-Net Protocol

C.   Internet Service Providers

D.   World Wide Web

E.   Domain Name System


G.   MIME and Base-64 Encoding for Email Attachments

H.   Internet Telephony & VSPs

I.      Internet VPNs

16. Wrapping Up

The final chapter brings all of the concepts together with a top-down review.  You’ll learn valuable insight into telecom project management and methodology, and review telecom, datacom and networking technologies, services and solutions.  We’ll conclude with a peek at the future of telecommunications, where the telephone network and Internet become the same thing.

A.   Technology Deployment Steps

B.   Requirements Analysis

C.   High-Level Design

D.   Review: Circuits and Services

E.   Access and Transmission Technology Roundup

F.    Private Network

G.   Carrier IP Services

H.   The Future



Our goal is to explain the underlying concepts, providing you with a practical understanding of telecom technologies and services without bogging down on details. In addition, the course book includes extra reference material, intended to be a valuable resource for years to come.  Plus, you get the online courses with unlimited repeats, certification and companion reference etextbook included.



Taking this course, you will gain a solid base of structured knowledge that you can apply to specific projects and build on in the future.  An investment in career- and productivity-enhancing knowledge skills that will be repaid many times over.  Many people who take this course tell us they “wish they’d had this training years ago”.


Start at the beginning. Understand the fundamental ideas. Understand mainstream technologies that implement these ideas. Learn the acronyms, abbreviations and jargon. Get an unbiased big-picture view that will give you the knowledge you need to ask the right questions, make meaningful comparisons and informed decisions.


Join us at a scheduled public seminar, or have Teracom come to you for  a private course

Visit teracomtraining.com for more information.  Cheers!