* Convergence is confusing. Convergence is critical. And convergence is real. In this book, industry pundit Ray Horak describes how the merging of voice and data networks has evolved and is likely to evolve as we move toward an information-based economy. * Beginning with the fundamentals of communications technology, the book grounds the reader in basic telecommunications concepts including circuits (dedicated, switched and virtual), switches (circuit, packet, and frame), and the issues involved in digital and analog transmission. * Describes the rudiments of transmission media, from twisted pair and coaxial cable to satellite and fiber-optic transmission. * Introduces the basics of voice systems, beginning with legacy networks like key telephone systems and including PBXs, Centrex, Automatic Call Distributors, and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). * Explains the fundamentals of data communications, including basic LAN and WAN engineering, modems and other forms of data communications equipment, broadband infrastructure and network services, and the protocols and equipment that make the global Internet a reality. * Considers some of the emerging technologies and applications just now gaining widespread acceptance, including wireless networks and digital video networks, along with the economic and regulatory forces likely to determine the shape of the networked world of the 21st Century, as well as the speed with which we can expect to see it implemented. * Previous edition sold 40,000+ copies.