Data communication is a combination of electronic data transmission and the computer. The complexity of data communication networks may vary from a few remote terminals linked to a microcomputer to a complex network utilizing time-sharing, on-line, real time and distributed processing system.
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Through this system, electronic transactions and data files can be introduced, maintained, modified or accessed at locations distant from the central data processing installation. In order to get the idea how this system works – to familiarize to the following advanced computer terms is necessary such as:
- Time-sharing is a computer system with a number of independent, relatively slow-speed terminal devices. the user has the impression that he or she is the sole user due to the slowness of input/output, when in reality the computer is sharing its time with a number of users. Time-sharing may be owned or utilized by many organizations and the company providing the service for many users is called a service bureau.
- On-line is used with two different meanings. Data files are said to be on-line if they are electronically available to the central processor and can be accessed without operator intervention. On-line also refers to a user who is connected to the central processor as described above under time-sharing. Data processing also is termed on-line (or direct access or random) when transactions can be input into computer processing from the point of origin without first being sorted.
- Real time has a variety of meanings. Real time can refer to a quick response in a time-shared system, such as is necessary for airline reservations. Real time in an accounting and production sense means that the system evaluates information and feeds back (return signals) in time to take action.
- Distributed processing refers to the situation when two or more computers handle the data processing. This is a form of extension of time-sharing, except that the terminals can be connected to one of a number of computers. Minicomputers may be located at a remote site to handle local processing and to maintain local files with summary data transactions transmitted to a central location.
These types of systems are said to be transaction driven or event driven because the individual transaction triggers the processing activity and updates all relevant files. In contrast, a batch system could be said to be program driven because a specific program must be loaded into the computer to process all transactions that fit that program and its related files. In a transaction-driven system, the transaction code part of the message becomes the most sensitive part because it initiates all subsequent actions.
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