Definition

terminal adapter (TA)

A terminal adapter (TA) is a hardware interface between a computer and an Integrated Services Digital Network line. It's what replaces a modem when you are using an ISDN connection. Unlike "plain old telephone service," which carries signal in analog (voice) form between your computer and the telephone company's office, ISDN carries signals in digital form so there is no need to modulate and demodulate between analog and digital signals. The terminal adapter is what you have to install on a computer so that data can be fed directly into the ISDN line in digital form. Since ISDN service is not available from telephone companies in all areas, the terminal adapter is not usually built into a computer. You purchase and install it when you sign up for ISDN service.

Some manufacturers and telephone companies use the term ISDN modem, instead.

This was last updated in April 2005

Dig Deeper on Network Infrastructure

Learning Path: Telephony and Wide Area Networks TELEPHONY AND WIDE AREA NETWORKS...circuit - PSTN - Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) - telephone jacks - dial-up - acoustic coupler - modem - 56flex - 56 Kbps (x2) - handshaking - V.xx standards - local loop - central office - LIDB - dedicated line - BOC - RBOC - Intelligent Network (IN) - Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) - Signaling System 7 (SS7) - EWSD - erlang (measure of line usage) - frame - frame relay - frame relay access device (FRAD) - ATM - 2600 - ISDN - B-channel - D-channel - terminal adapter - BISDN - HDLC - IDSL - PABX - Direct Inward Dialing (DID) - Automatic Number Identification (ANI) - Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS) - permanent virtual circuit (PVC) - switched virtual circuit - DSLAM - Voice over IP - VoxML - CAPI - TAPI - splitter - splitterless (DSL) - ATU-R - digital loop carrier View other topics for self-study by visiting our Guide to the Learning Paths.

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