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Digital Switch

Definition - What does Digital Switch mean?

A digital switch is a hardware device for handling digital signals. The main function of these switches is to manage digital signals generated or passed through a telephone exchange and then forward it to the telephone company's back-end network. The communication between the subscribers of a telephone company is established with the help of digital switching. Digital switches can be of different types based on the number of lines they handle and the included features. Digital switches are much faster in performance compared to analog switches.

Techopedia explains Digital Switch

The purpose of a digital switch is to connect digital signals. These can be represented by different numbers, but they can be in only one of two states: 0 or 1. Digital switches are not designed to handle signals of various states having multiple numbers. Analog switches are suitable for representing multiple-state signals.

Digital switches can be of different types. The main two types of switching are:

  • Time Switching – In time switching, any input 8-bit pulse-code modulation (PCM) is allowed to forward to any output time slot. In this type, the input PCM word is written in the switch data memory and then read out as per the requested call.
  • Space Switching – In space switching, an 8-bit PCM word holds its time slot. Here, as the original time slot remains the same during and after switching, it does not cause any delay.

There are multiple types of digital switches available based on their functionality. For example, private branch exchange (PBX) is a digital switch managed by a private company, while centrex is another type operated from a central office.

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