Introduction to Electronic Exchange

To overcome the limitations of manual switching, automatic exchanges having electromechanical components were developed. Strowger exchange the first automatic exchange having direct control features was invented. Though it improved over the performance of manual exchange, it still had a number of disadvantages, viz, a large number of mechanical parts, limited availability, inflexibility, bulky size, etc. As a result of further research and development, cross bar exchanges having indirect control features appeared later on. Cross bar exchanges improved upon many shortcomings of the strowger exchanges. However much more improvement was expected and revolutionary change in the field of electronics provided it.

A large no. of moving parts in registers, markers, translators, etc. was replaced en-blocked by single computer. This made the exchange smaller in size, volume and weight; faster and reliable; highly flexible; noise free; easily manageable with no preventive maintenance etc.

The first electronic exchange employing space division switching (analog switching) was commissioned. This exchange use one physical path for one call and hence full availability could still not be achieved. Further research resulted in development of time division switching (digital switching) which enables sharing a single path by several calls, thus providing full availability.


  • In electromechanical exchanges category analysis, routing, translation, etc., is done by relays while in electronic exchanges translation, speech path, subscriber facilities, etc., are managed by map and other data.
  • In electromechanical exchanges any change in facilities require addition of hardware changes whereas in electronic exchanges changes can be carried out by simple commands.
  • Electromechanical exchanges have limited flexibility while electronic exchanges are highly flexible.
  • Testing is done manually externally and time consuming process in electromechanical exchanges whereas in electronic exchanges testing is carried out automatically analysis is printed out.
  • In electromechanical exchanges, there is partially full-availability hence blocking problem is there. Electronic exchanges are fully available hence no blocking.
  • Limited facilities are available to subscriber in electromechanical exchanges than electronic exchanges.
  • Electromechanical exchanges are slow in speed as compared to electronic exchanges.
  • Switch room occupies large volume in electromechanical exchanges.
  • There is lot of switching noise in electromechanical exchanges as compared to electronic exchanges.
  • Longer installation time is required in electromechanical exchanges.

Basic Principles and Architecture

The system is based on the following features

  • Stored program control (BPC)
  • TDM digital switching
  • PCM principles &techniques
  • Segregation of switching & management functions
  • Distributed control using dedicated micro processors (e.g. intel8085) or mini computers (e.g. ELS-48)
  • Centralized management for a group of E-10B exchanges.
Control station of ocb 283





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