High School‎ > ‎Science‎ > ‎Engineering‎ > ‎

Unit 8 Communications Technology

Basic Vocabulary:


Mini Research Assignment Due 5/13


Option 1:

Information transmission in general:

What is a medium? How does information travel through electrical wire?  What kind of a signal is used?  How does information travel through optical fiber? What kind of a signal is used? How does information travel through the air? What kind of a signal is used?  How does information travel through space? What kind of a signal is used?

How does the medium affect the way a wave travels?   Give an example of one kind of wave that travels through two different media and explain how the media affects the transmission of that wave.



Option 2:

What is the difference between analog and digital signals?  What kinds of devices use analog and digital signals?  Give an example of each kind of device and explain why it is best suited for an analog or digital signal.



Option 3:

Define each of the terms below.  Pick a communications device (phone, pager, ipad) and identify each of the following parts in the device.  (Encoder, transmitter, receiver, decoder, destination, storage, retrieval) Explain what the function of each part is.  Extra credit: Find an old phone or other device, take it apart and identify each part.



Option 4: Lasers

What is a laser?  How does it work?  How is it used in communication technology? 

Give an example of a communication device that uses lasers.  Explain why that device requires laser technology. 


Option 5: Fiber Optics

How do fiber optics work?  What is total internal reflection?  What is critical angle?  How are fiber optics used in telephone systems?   How is FIOS different than old cable technology?  What is the future of fiber optic technology?



Option 6: Holla Back!

When you make a call on your cell phone, your voice needs to be turned into a signal to be sent over the wireless network and then converted back into sound to be heard.  This involves many steps and many different technologies.  In detail, describe this process.  At each step, explain the type of signal being sent and the medium over which it travels.  Each time the signal changes, explain why and how it does so.







This assignment will count as 2 research grades



In order to earn a “B” for this assignment, your final product should include the following:

-A 1 page (double spaced) written component that answers each question completely

-At least one visual that helps explain/demonstrate your technology

-A list of all the websites used in your research