"I found the book to be a well written wealth of knowledge." (ACUTA Journal of Communications Technology in Higher Education, Summer 2008)
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Ray Horak’s book, Telecommunications and Data Communications Handbook. The book’s 791 pages, divided into 15 chapters, cover everything from legacy technology such as basic telephone switching to leading edge technologies such as DWDM optical networks, 3G wireless networks, and IPTV converged video. I have read other Horak books in the past, but this one is the most comprehensive one that he has done to date.
The book appears to be best suited as either a text book for a telecommunications class or a reference book. Using Texas terminology, the book is a mile wide but not very deep. You would be hard pressed to find a topic that was not discussed in the almost 800 pages of the book, but most topics are covered in less than one page. It is an encyclopedic work, not the reference that you would use if you needed a comprehensive understanding of any specific technology. On the other hand, if one of your peers brings up a new technology during the course of a conversation (for example MMS), and you want to know what he or she is talking about to avoid appearing uninformed, this book could prove to be invaluable. In other words, it doesn’t paint the whole picture in high resolution, but it provides a lot more than a snapshot.
A few of the topics that I found of the most interest included the sections on Broadband over Power Line (BPL), HiperLAN, VDSL, IEEE 802.16 WiMAX and IPTV. There are a few topics that I would like to have seen covered that were not, but this leaves open the opportunity for the next edition.
Overall, I found the book to be a well written wealth of knowledge. I plan to use it as the text for my undergraduate course in telecommunications in the spring.
—Reviewed by Walt Magnussen, Director of Telecommunications, Texas A&M University (ACUTA: Journal of Communications Technology in Higher Education, Summer 2008)
"If you can have one book on voice and data communications, this is the book to have." (The Prepaid Press, May 14th, 2008)
"The book is very well written and accessible to the average reader." (Computing Reviews, May 6, 2008)
"Readers wanting to gain insight into the terminology of the field would be advised to consult this outstanding reference book." (American Reference Books Annual, March 2008)
"A must-have acquisition for both beginners and practioners…highly recommended." (CHOICE, February 2008)