Signaling : In-Band Signaling,

Signaling is the process of transferring control information such as connection addresses, call supervision codes, or other connection information between communication switching equipment and other communications equipment or systems. The basic functions of signaling include initiate a call or line connection (call setup), maintain a communication link, and to end a call or connection (call teardown). Signaling comes in two basic forms: in-band signaling and out-of-band signaling.

In-Band Signaling

In-band signaling sends control messages in the same communication channel that is used for voice or data communication. During the period of in-band signaling, the voice or data communication is temporarily inhibited (muted) to allow the transfer of control messages. The types of in-band address signaling include dial pulse (DP), dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF), MF (Multi-Frequency), audio signaling, and line control.

Dial pulse (DP) signaling senses and counts the changes in current flow, such as from a rotary dial telephone, to allow the user to send address information (dialed digits) to the telephone system.

DTMF signaling is a means of transferring information from a user to the telephone network through the use of in-band audio tones. Each digit of information is assigned a simultaneous combination of one of a lower group of frequencies and one of a higher group of frequencies to represent each digit or character.

Multifrequency (MF) signaling is a type of in-band address signaling method that represents decimal digits and auxiliary signals by pairs of frequencies from the following group: 700, 900, 1100, 1300, 1500, and 1700 Hz. These audio frequencies are used to indicate telephone address digits, precedence, control signals, such as line-busy or trunk-busy signals, and other required signals.

On modern telephone systems, most in-band signaling only occurs between the end-user and his serving central office telephone switch.

These signals travel over the same audio line as the voice or data call. Examples of other these in-band signaling messages include:

- Dial tone (the circuit is working)

- Busy tone (the circuit is unavailable)

- Fast busy tone (the system is busy)

- DTMF or pulse digits (send dialed digit information)

- Special functions such as # and * (activate other services)

- Telephone systems also can sense line condition as a signaling method. When the central office senses a grounding of the line (ground start) or a reduction in voltage (off-hook loop-start), it produces a dialtone signal (audio signaling) to inform the user service is available. Wink start is another line activation signal that is used by the telephone switch to indicate to end-user telephone systems of a change in status. Wink signals are brief 140 msec interruptions of communication.

Out-of-Band Signaling
Out-of-band signaling is signaling that travels over a separate path from voice and data calls but carries control information about the calls such as call setup, call routing, caller-id, call tear-down, etc. For out-of-band signaling the telecommunication industry uses a standard called Common Channel Signaling and Control (CCS). The current version of CCS is known as Signaling System 7 (SS7). Through standardization all telephone companies implement SS7 and thus can interact smoothly with very few errors.

Using SS7, switches can more effectively route calls and even query centralized databases for additional control information. The advent of SS7 has brought with it many new features such as caller-id. It has also been instrumental allowing for the phenomenal growth the industry has seen.

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