It is data networks and data communications that make newer forms of data processing possible in the first place. Without data communications, today's innovations in industry, commerce, science, education, etc. would be unimaginable. Without data communications, buzzwords such as client- server architecture, downsizing, PC networks or cloud computing would never have come into being, and without the principle of effective communication, there would of course be no high-tech data communications.
In general, communication means the exchange or transfer of information. The communication process essentially involves three elements: a sender (communicator), a message (message, statement) and a receiver (recipient, addressee). In order for communication to take place in the sense of an understanding, three prerequisites must be met:
- The thoughts or intentions of the communicator to be conveyed must be converted into a communicable sign system (e.g. writing, coding, code).
- The signs must be transformed into physical signals and transmitted by using technical media (e.g., broadcast, telephone).
- The addressee must interpret the characters received and, through interpretation, deduce the meaning conveyed to him (decoding). The more agreement there is in the stock of signs between communicator and recipient, the greater the possibility of understanding through communication.
In data communication, information that is generally binary coded is exchanged between the communication partners. Direct communication partners in data communication are devices that can send and/or receive as well as store binary coded data. In particular, these include computers with corresponding transmit and receive modules. Data communication systems enable qualitatively new forms of human-human communication, e.g. telematics services. The main areas of data communication are data networks and computer networks, their structure, topology, functions and communication services.