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DSx (Digital Signal-x)

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Digital signal refers to the rate and format of digital telecommunication circuits. DS is related to the T designations; but DS refers to multiplexing techniques while the T designations refer to the underlying equipment and signaling. There are various DS levels, as outlined here:

DS Level

T-Carrier Equivalent


Number of 64-Kbit/ sec Channels


Fractional T1

64 Kbits/sec




1.544 Mbits/sec




44.736 Mbits/sec


DS-0 represents a single voice telephone call, while DS-1 defines how to multiplex 24 phone calls onto a single circuit. This DS signal hierarchy is part of the NADH (North American Digital Hierarchy). SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) is the extension of the NADH hierarchy into an optical hierarchy outlined by the OC (optical carrier) scheme. SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) is the European equivalent of SONET.

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