The best way to send communication signals is through Transmission Media. The best-known types of Transmission Media right now are wireless and wired, and today, we are going to talk about what these are, the advantages, and the disadvantages.
What is Transmission Media?
Well, it consists of specialized materials capable of delivering one or multiple communication signals at the same time. Another aspect of this is Broadband Media, which can transmit simultaneously, multiple signals.
Now, one of the key things one should take into consideration when investing in transmission media is the Bandwidth. This is the amount of data instructions, and information, that can journey over transmission media
Finally, there is the Latency. This is the time it takes signals to travel from one location of a network to the other.
Basic categories of Transmission Media
- Unguided Media
- Guided Media
1] Unguided Media
The name is a complete give away here for anyone who understands. You see, Unguided Media is practically wireless media. It consists of data signals that travel, but not guided down a specific path. The signals are not attached to cables; therefore, they travel freely.
2] Guided Media
OK, so in terms of Guided Media, this has to do with wires. You see, it’s all about guiding data down a specific path. The data is tied to a cabling system, therefore, the information in transit can only go where you want it to.
Types of Unguided Transmission Media
- Radio Waves
- Infrared (IR)
1] Radio Waves
Do you listen to the radio, or use a cell phone for making calls? All of this requires the use of radio waves. The signals are sent through the air from a transmitter, and lands on the receiver located on your device.
Now, a radio wave is slower and must susceptible to noise when compared to physical media. However, it provides portability and flexibility when needed.
What is noise, you ask? Well, it’s an electrical disturbance that can degrade communications. We hear it many times over the phone, and even while making calls over the internet via VOIP.
2] Infrared (IR)
Another wireless transmission media, or unguided transmission media, but it doesn’t work the same as radio waves. IR sends wireless signals using infrared light waves and is primarily used over short distances. For example, remote control uses infrared to connect to the television. The same can be said of a wireless mouse that connects with a computer.
Ok when it comes down to satellites, the signals set from these machines are more powerful than that of radio waves. The satellite acts as a repeater as it hovers over the earth, and the signal it releases can travel to great distances.
A transmitter on Earth signals to the satellite and the received signal is then retransmitted back to Earth or other satellites via another frequency.
Types of Guided Transmission Media
- Twisted Pair
- Fiber-optic cable
1] Twisted Pair
These cables comprise one more twisted wire, each of which is bundled together. Now, each wire consists of two separate insulate copper that are twisted together as one. The reason the wires are twisted together, then, is to reduce noise.
Before fiber became popular, most cable and internet companies relied on coaxial cables to deliver data. These cables consist of a single copper wire that is encircled by at least three layers. The layers in question are an insulating material, a woven metal, and finally, an outer coating made of plastic.
Coaxial is great due to its low cost and easy installation. However, a single cable failure can bring down an entire network, and that’s not ideal.
3] Fiber-optic cable
We like fiber-optic cables because of the increased speed of which they deliver data. Information passes through fiber much faster than twisted pair and coaxial cables. The cable is home to several optical fibers, an outer covering jacket, optical fiber core, glass cladding, and protective coating.
Cables such as these can carry significantly more signals than the others listed here. Furthermore, when it comes down to data transmission, fiber-optics are faster and more reliable. Additionally, fiber is better for security and for tight spaces since the cables are smaller.
The big disadvantage here is the cost, and difficult to install. But these are just a small price to pay, and many have chosen to pay it.