Define transmission media. What are different types of transmission media. Explain different types of unguided media in detail.

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Transmission media is a communication channel that carries the information from the sender to the receiver. Data is transmitted through the electromagnetic signals.

The main functionality of the transmission media is to carry the information in the form of bits through LAN(Local Area Network).

It is a physical path between transmitter and receiver in data communication.

In a copper-based network, the bits in the form of electrical signals.

In a fibre based network, the bits in the form of light pulses.

Types of Transmission Media:

Types of transmission media

Unguided Media:

  • An unguided transmission transmits the electromagnetic waves without using any physical medium. Therefore it is also known as wireless transmission.
  • In unguided media, air is the media through which the electromagnetic energy can flow easily.

Unguided transmission is broadly classified into three categories:

1. Radio Wave:

  • Radio waves are the electromagnetic waves that are transmitted in all the directions of free space.
  • Radio waves are omnidirectional, i.e., the signals are propagated in all the directions.
  • The range in frequencies of radio waves is from 3Khz to 1 khz.
  • In the case of radio waves, the sending and receiving antenna are not aligned, i.e., the wave sent by the sending antenna can be received by any receiving antenna.
  • An example of the radio wave is FM radio.


  • A Radio wave is useful for multicasting when there is one sender and many receivers.
  • An FM radio, television, cordless phones are examples of a radio wave.


  • Radio transmission is mainly used for wide area networks and mobile cellular phones.
  • Radio waves cover a large area, and they can penetrate the walls.
  • Radio transmission provides a higher transmission rate.

2. Microwaves:

  • They are the eletromagnetic wave having frequencies between 1 and 300 GHz.
  • Micro waves are unidirectional.
  • It is a line of straight transmission i.e. the sending and receiving as tennas need to be properly aligned with each other.
  • The distance covered by Signal is directly porportional to the height of the antennas.
  • These are maorly used for mobile phone communication and television distribution.


  • Microwave transmission is cheaper than using cables.
  • It is free from land acquisition as it does not require any land for the installation of cables.
  • Microwave transmission provides an easy communication in terrains as the installation of cable in terrain is quite a difficult task.
  • Communication over oceans can be achieved by using microwave transmission.


  • Eavesdropping: An eavesdropping creates insecure communication. Any malicious user can catch the signal in the air by using its own antenna.
  • Out of phase signal: A signal can be moved out of phase by using microwave transmission.
  • Susceptible to weather condition: A microwave transmission is susceptible to weather condition. This means that any environmental change such as rain, wind can distort the signal.
  • Bandwidth limited: Allocation of bandwidth is limited in the case of microwave transmission.

3. Infrared Waves:

Infrared waves are used for very short distance communication. They cannot penetrate through obstacles. This prevents interference between systems. Frequency Range:300GHz – 400THz. It is used in TV remotes, wireless mouse, keyboard, printer, etc.


  • Can detect people inside burning nuildings and cars.
  • Useful in the military for identifying targets
  • Used in Scientific experimentation to identify the heat of an object.


  • Can cause minor burns id exposed to skin for long periods of time
  • Can cause contracts in the eyes after long exposure


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