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Data communications equipment

Data communications equipment

Data communications equipment definition

Data communications equipment (DCE) are devices that send and receive digital data in communication systems. They serve as intermediaries that ensure a smooth and reliable flow of digital information between networks.

See also: data transmission, data in motion, modem, default gateway, broadband router, digital switch, network hub

Examples of data communications equipment

  • Modems convert digital data from computers into analog signals for transmission over phone lines and vice versa.
  • Routers manage data traffic between different networks or sub-networks.
  • Bridges connect and filter traffic between two or more network segments, making them function as a single segment.
  • Switches connect devices within a local network and use MAC addresses to forward data to the appropriate destination.
  • Hubs connect multiple devices in a LAN, broadcasting data to all connected devices.
  • Digital signal processors (DSPs) handle real-time signals like phone audio or radar visuals.

Risks related to data communications equipment

  • Unauthorized access. Without proper safeguards, unauthorized users can gain access to DCE like routers or modems. For example, they may manipulate network traffic or reroute data.
  • Device firmware vulnerabilities. Many DCE devices run on firmware that can have vulnerabilities. If devices are not regularly updated, attackers can exploit these security holes.
  • Denial of service (DoS) attacks. Attackers can flood network equipment like routers or switches with excessive traffic. That would render them unresponsive and disrupt services for legitimate users.
  • Default configuration risks. Many devices have default usernames and passwords, which are easy to guess or find online. If these are not changed, they pose a significant security risk.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security