What is transmission media? How do guided media differ from unguided media? Explain different types of guided 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.

Differences between guided and unguided media:

The major differences between guided and unguided transmission media are as follows −

Guided media Unguided media
The signal requires a physical path for transmission. The signal is broadcasted through air or sometimes water
It is called wired communication or bounded transmission media. It is called wireless communication or unbounded transmission media.
It provides direction to signal for travelling. Twisted pair cable, coaxial cable and fibre optic cable are its types. It does not provide any direction. Radio waves, microwave and infrared are its types.

Guided transmission media:

Guided transmission media consists of physical connection between source and destination through a wire or a cable.

There are three basic types of guided media which are as follows −

  • Twisted pair cable
  • Co-axial cable
  • Fiber-optic cable

1. Twisted Pair Cable:

Twisted-Pair Cable consists of two insulated conductors wire wound (normally copper), twisted together. In which one wire is to carry the signal to destination and other is used as a ground reference. Twisting is done so that the noise will equally affect the wire from the external environment.


  1. The frequency range is 0 to 3.5 kHz
  2. Repeater spacing is 2 KM


  1. No capacity to carrying a signal over long distances without the use of repeaters.
  2. Not suitable for broadband applications because of low bandwidth capacity.
  3. Poor security and easy to tap.

2. Co-axial cable:

Coaxial cable has a central core conductor of stranded or solid wire (usually copper) enclosed in an insulating protection cover, which is, in turn, encased in an outer conductor of metal foil or a combination of the two. The outer metallic work as a shield against noise and as a conductor, which complete the circuit. The whole cable is covered by a plastic cover.


  1. BaseBand: (50 ohms) used for digital transmission.
  2. BroadBand: uses for analog transmission on standard TV cable.


  1. Carries signals of higher data rate and bandwidth.
  2. Used in analog telephone networks and traditional Cable TV networks.


  1. The network depends on a single cable.
  2. Expensive and difficult to install when compared with twisted pair.

3. Fiber Optic Cable:

Fiber-Optic Cable is made of glass and transmits of data is based on the concept of reflection of light through glass. A glass core is surrounded by less dense glass called cladding.


  • Noise resistance
  • Less signal attenuation
  • Higher bandwidth


  • They are very expensive
  • hard to install and maintained
  • Fragility (easily broken)
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