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Pub. No.:    WO/1984/004435    International Application No.:    PCT/US1984/000676
Publication Date: Nov 8, 1984 International Filing Date: May 2, 1984
IPC: H04L 12/42
H04L 25/49
H04L 5/24
H04M 9/02
A communications system that improves upon the availability of communications paths between devices and simplifies the connectivity requirements to communicate data and control information to and from a remote station (11). System nodes (21) are provided which are disposed along a time multiplex network signal stream. The nodes (21) serve to interface remote stations (11) to the network signal stream (25A, 25B) and may also switch information to different stations (11) connected to the same node (21). The nodes (21) are operative to allocate a variable bandwidth of the network signal stream for data communications between devices connected to different nodes. The nodes (21) include switching devices that may be configured to accomodate stations (11) that operate at different speeds. Allocation of bandwidth may be dynamically varied such that system resources are not unneccessarily diverted. Control of bandwidth allocation and internal switching within the node is accomplished via control information communicated to and from the node. Such control information may be contained within the network signal stream and decoded by the node (21) or communicated to the node (21) via a dedicated control communications line. Control information may be encoded into the signal stream communicated between the system node (21) and the remote station (11). Thus, communication of data and control signals between the stations (11) and the system node (21) does not require complex wiring. Accordingly, individual stations (11) may be more conveniently located.