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Transmission medium

A transmission medium is any material substance which

can propagate waves or energy.
Electromagnetic radiation can be transmitted through
media such as optical fiber, twisted pair wires, coaxial
cable, dielectric-slab waveguides. They may also pass
through any physical material which is transparent to the
specific wavelength, such as water, air, glass, or concrete.
Electromagnetic waves do not require a transmission
medium unlike mechanical waves, and so can travel
through vacuum of free space.

For telecommunications purposes in the United States,

Federal Standard 1037C, transmission media are classified
as one of the following:
Guided (or bounded)
Waves are guided along a solid medium
such as a transmission line.
Wireless (or unguided)
Transmissions and receptions are achieved
by means of an antenna.

Guided or Bounded
Parallel two-wire line

consists of two wires that are generally spaced from 2 to 6 inches apart
by insulating spacers.
most often used for power lines, rural telephone lines and telegraph
sometimes used as a transmission line between a transmitter and an
antenna or between and antenna and a receiver.
Has a simple construction.
High radiation losses and electrical noise pick-up because of lack of

Ribbon Type
also known as Twin Lead.
commonly used to connect a television
receiving antenna to a home television set.
Same as two-wire open line except uniform
spacing is assured.
the wires are embedded in a low-loss dielectric.

Twisted Pairs
Insulating jackets conductors

Consists of two insulated wires twisted together to form a

flexible line without the use of spacers.
Not used for transmitting high frequency because of high
dielectric loss.
types of twisted pair including STP, UTP, and plenum. STP
means shielded twisted pair, UTP means unshielded twisted
pair and plenum wiring is non toxic when burning.
Twisted pair wiring carries the data in electrons. The reason
behind twisting the pairs is to cancel out interference. These
are the most common cables used in networks and carry the
signal up to 100 meters.

Cable Pair
consists of parallel conductors separated from each other and
surrounded by a solid dielectric. The conductors are contained
within a braided copper tubing that acts as an electrical shield.
Rubber cover protects the line from moisture and mechanical
Advantage- the conductors are balanced to ground; that is,
the capacitance between the wires is uniform throughout the
length of the line.
The uniform spacing braided copper shield isolates the
conductors from stray magnetic fields.

Coaxial Cable
Two types: rigid (air) fill coaxial line and flexible (solid) coaxial line.
Used extensively for high frequency application to reduce losses and to
isolate transmission paths.
it has two conductors, one wire in center and a conductive sheath around it,
that share a "common axis".
example of RG-58 with a BNC connector used in cable television.
The wiring standards used for network coax are different from those used
for cable TV.

50 ohm cable, available as RG-8 and RG-11. Used in Thick Ethernet, also
called "Ether Hose".
50 ohm cable, available as RG-58. Used in Thin Ethernet .
75 ohm cable, available as RG-59. This one is for TV, not networks.
93 ohm cable, available as RG-62. Used in ARCnet.

Rigid (Air) Fill

Coaxial Line

The center conductor is surrounded coaxially by a tubular

outer conductor and the insulating material is air. The outer
conductor is physically separated from the center conductor
by a spacer (Pyrex, polystyrene, etc. non conductive material).
Advantages- ability to minimize radiation losses, interference
of from other lines are reduced.
Disadvantages- expensive to construct, must be kept dry to
prevent leakage between conductors, still excessive to limit
the practical length of the wire.

Coax Cable
The outer conductor is braided, flexible, and coaxial to the center
conductor. The inner conductor is flexible copper wire that can be
either solid or hallow.
solid nonconductive polyethylene material that provides both
support and electrical isolation between the inner and outer
Polyethylene plastic is a solid substance that remains flexible
over a wide range of temperatures.
Coaxial cable is good for transmitting data over long distances
and for reliably supporting higher data rates when using LESS
sophisticated equipment.

Optical Fiber
can be glass or plastic, and is meant to conduct light instead of
The conductor is called a waveguide, and is covered with
cladding, a material to reflect the signal back into the center of
the conductor.
two modes: single mode conducts a single signal, while multimode conducts many signals simultaneously.
harder to install and splice and expensive.
carries the signal in photons, there is no interference and fiber
can not be tapped into and data stolen.
Fiber is good for high speed, high capacity transmission
because signal is transmitted quickly.

Wireless or Unguided
Terrestrial Microwave
Requires line of sight
Requires fewer repeaters or amplifiers
Long haul telecommunication services
Voice and TV transmission
Point-to-point links between buildings.
Frequency range - 4 to 6 or 21 to 23 GHz
Cost - moderate to high
Installation - difficult
Capacity -1 Mbps to 10 Mbps
Attenuation - relatively high, varies with weather
Immunity from EMI - low

Terrestrial and Satellite Links

Satellite systems
Relay used to link ground stations
Functions as an amplifier or a repeater
Can provide point-to-point to multi-point connectivity
Television distribution
Long distance telephone transmission
Private business networks
Frequency range - 11 to 14 GHz
Cost - high
Installation - very difficult
Capacity -1 Mbps to 10 Mbps
Attenuation - relatively high, varies with weather
Immunity from EMI - low

Broadcast Radio

Does not require complex antennas
Antennas need not to be precise aligned.
FM radio
VHF and UHF television
Data networks

Infrared systems come in two types: point-to-point and
broadcast. Point-to-point systems are like the remote
controls we use for televisions.

Line of sight is needed

No frequency allocation is needed.
Provides point-to-point connectivity

Frequency range - 100 GHz to 1000 THz

Cost - low to moderate
Installation - moderate to difficult
Capacity - 1 to 16 Mbps
Attenuation - varies with weather and light purity
Immunity from EMI - moderate

Broadcast infrared
used in single room settings, as these waves will
bounce off walls, but not penetrate them.

Factors for Broadcast infrared:

Frequency range - 100 GHz to 1000 THz
Cost - low
Installation - simple
Capacity - up to 1 Mbps
Attenuation - high
Immunity from EMI - low