Data Communications Equipment

What Does Data Communications Equipment Mean?

Data communications equipment (DCE) refers to computer hardware devices used to establish, maintain and terminate communication network sessions between a data source and its destination. DCE is connected to the data terminal equipment (DTE) and data transmission circuit (DTC) to convert transmission signals.


IT vendors may also refer to data communications equipment as data circuit-terminating equipment or data carrier equipment.

Techopedia Explains Data Communications Equipment

A modem is a typical example of data communications equipment. In general, data communications equipment is used to perform signal exchange, coding and line clocking tasks as a part of intermediate equipment or DTE.

Some additional interfacing electronic equipment may also be needed to pair the DTE with a transmission channel or to connect a circuit to the DTE. DCE and DTE are often confused with each other, but these are two different device types that are interlinked with an RS-232 serial line.

DTE and DCE connectors are wired differently if a single straight cable is employed. DCE generates internal clock signals, while DTE works with externally provided signals. Without employing a modem, the DCE and DTE can be connected through a crossable cable medium like a null modem for Ethernet or typical RS-232 serial line. Many modems are DCE, while the computer terminal is DTE.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…