Different Type of Transmission Media

Written by grahame turner
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Different Type of Transmission Media
Ethernet cables are an example of guided transmission media. (network cable image by .shock from Fotolia.com)

The term "transmission media" refers to the wires and cables, or waves and signals, used to transmit information over distances, such as on the Internet. There are two main types of transmission media, the guided and the unguided, which each have their own subtypes, as well as advantages and disadvantages.


The guided types of transmission media are mostly cables. It's called "guided" because the signal passing through it can only go in one direction: from the source to the receiver. It's forced by the restraints of being in a cable. There are several subtypes, such as coaxial, which is most commonly associated with cable products. Twisted-pair cables, such as those in phone lines and Ethernet cables, are a second subtype. Fibre optics are another example of guided transmission media, but these use light pulses instead of electrical signals, which make them faster.

Different Type of Transmission Media
Fibre optic cables guide a light pulse signal, losing nearly no signal. (fibre optic computer cables image by Andrew Brown from Fotolia.com)

Unguided Media

Your Wi-Fi router is an example of an unguided transmission media. They are called unguided because it's possible to interrupt, or even walk through the signal, in most cases without disrupting it. A wireless router broadcasts a constant radio signal over the air to your receiver. A satellite does the same thing using microwaves. There are also laser-based transmitters, which work like fibre optics, but without any physical cabling.

Different Type of Transmission Media
A Wi-Fi router is an unguided type of transmitter. (wlan router 02 image by pmphoto from Fotolia.com)


The Internet uses a huge number of these transmission media types to simply get your information from the server to your computer. If you have a cable or fibre optic connection, your house is connected to a guided media source. If you have a satellite TV, you have also got an unguided transmission media outlet. The radio in your car and the wireless router are also examples of unguided sources. All of the cables that connect your TV to your DVD player, cable box, DVR or other components are guided transmission media types.

Different Type of Transmission Media
Examples of guided and unguided transmission media in action (Internet clipart image by Sid Viswakumar from Fotolia.com)

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