Introduction to Networking

Unguided  Transmission Media

Guided transmission media is also called unbounded or wireless media, where the devices communicate with each other through space or air by using broadcast radio signals, microwave signals, infrared signals, etc.

The following diagram illustrates the different types of guided transmission media.

1. Radio Waves

  • Radio waves are electromagnetic waves that are transmitted in all directions in free space.
  • Radio waves are omnidirectional, i.e., the signals are propagated in all directions.
  • The frequency range of radio waves is from 3 kHz to 1 kHz.
  • Radio transmission is mainly used for wide area networks and mobile cellular phones, FM radio, television, etc.
  • Radio waves can penetrate the walls and cover a large area.
  • Radio transmission provides a higher transmission rate.

2. Microwave System

  • Both voice and data are transmitted through microwaves over free space or air like radio waves.
  • It uses the line of sight because signals travel in a straight path and cannot bend.
  • Microwave stations (antennas) are usually installed on high buildings and towers so that there should be no interference between the antennas.
  • The distance between the towers is 20 to 30 miles from each other.
  • Each station receives the signals from previous stations and transmits them to the next station.

3. Satellite communication

  • A satellite is a physical object that revolves around the earth at a known height of almost 22300 miles.
  • It receives microwave signals from earth-based stations. After amplification, it retransmits them to different earth-based stations.
  • Transmission from earth-based stations to satellites is called uplink, and transmission from satellite to earth-based station is called uplink.
  • We can communicate with anyone anywhere on the globe by using satellite communication.
  • Satellite communication is more reliable nowadays as it offers more flexibility than cable and fiber optic systems.
  • High data transmission
  • Bad weather can affect the quality of satellite transmission.

How Does Satellite Work?

The satellite accepts the signal that is transmitted from the earth station, and it amplifies the signal. The amplified signal is again transmitted to another earth station.

It is used in a wide variety of applications such as weather forecasting, radio/TV signal broadcasting, mobile communication, internet, global positioning systems, etc.

Disadvantages of Satellite Microwave Communication

  • Satellite designing and development requires more time and higher cost.
  • The satellite needs to be monitored and controlled at regular intervals so that it remains in orbit.
  • The satellite’s life is about 12-15 years. After that, it becomes non-functional.

4. Cellular Communication

It is a wireless communication system. It is used all over the world for mobile communications. In cellular communication, text, image, voice, and video can be transmitted.

How does cellular communication work?

The physical region (city) is divided into small units called cells. RBS (radio-based station) provides the coverage within the entire cell. Each cell can transmit and receive radio signals through RBS. These cells are close enough to one another so that the signal strength is maintained throughout the area. In this way a large number of cellular phones can communicate with each other.

Generations of Cellular Transmission

There are different generations of cellular transmissions, such as 1G (1981), 2G(1991), 3G(2001), and 4G(2010-15).

Components of Cellular Communication System

  • MU: It is a mobile unit that consists of a control unit and a transceiver.
  • RBS: RBS (radio-based station) provides coverage within the entire cell.
  • PSTN: Public switched telephone network (PSTN) is a worldwide telephone network for voice and data communication.
  • MTSO: Mobile telephone switching office (MTSO) controls the entire operation of a cellular system. It controls calls, provides billing information, etc.

5. Infrared

Infrared (IR) is a wireless transmission medium. It sends signals using infrared light waves. It requires a line-of-sight transmission.

The mouse, printer, and digital camera have an iron port. This port is used to transfer data to another using infrared light waves.

It is an alternative to Bluetooth.