Research on operational use of data link technology as a means of exchanging information between aircraft and ground-based facilities has been underway for well over a decade. From this work, potentially useful data exist that remain largely unexploited for purposes of operational development. This paper reviews the simulation literature on data link communication between controllers and pilots to synthesize a base of useful, generalizable knowledge. General effects of the data link technology on the volume, speed, and timing of Air Traffic Control communications are analyzed for their operational significance. The analytic framework depicts data link effectiveness as interdependent with operational context, procedures and applications, and human interface design. Current research leaves many questions unanswered but consistently indicates that the combination of voice and data link communication outperforms either medium used by itself. Issues are raised for research and implementation.