Understanding Data Transmission Wired vs Wireless and Their Impact

Gain an Understanding Data Transmission: Wired vs. Wireless and Their Impact

Transmissions are impacted by different problems depending on the method of data transmission. The two types of data communications or transmissions are guided and unguided transmission, as Comer (2014) discusses. Guided media or wire transmissions consist of fiber optic, coaxial cable, and copper or aluminum twisted pair wire, as Varrall (2011) discusses. Unguided media, also known as wireless communication, transports electromagnetic waves with no physical conductor. Instead of physical conductors, the signal is broadcast via air and, therefore, is made accessible to someone having a device capable of receiving them, as Shinde (2000) describes.

The twisted pair is made up of two insulated copper wires that are twisted together as described by Shinde (2000). The twist in the wires enables a reduction in electrical interference. A well-known use of twisted pair cable is with the use of a telephone system. The author Shinde (2000) goes on to talk about how the twisted pair can be used for analog or digital transmission. The speed or bandwidth is influenced by the thickness of the wire and the length of the cable. Twisted pair cables are low coast and come in unshelled twisted pairs (UTP) and Shielded twisted pairs.

A UTP standard was established by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) to rate the UTP cables by quality. Cable quality determines the category, beginning with one as the lowest and seven as the highest. Each category has speed. For example, the Category 6 UTP is designed to run at 1000mbp. The Shielded twisted pair cable includes a braided mesh or metal foil cover that covers each pair of insulated wires.

The metal prevents the penetration of electromagnetic interference. The encasing can also eliminate crosstalking. Crosstalk can occur when one copper cable picks up some signals traveling down another cable. Crosstalk is usually eliminated with shielded and twisted pair cable.

Coaxial cable, known to some as Coax, is another method of transmission. This type of cable contains a plastic cover, an insulator, an outer conductor or shield(usually meshed wire), plastic insulation, and the inner conductor, which is generally copper cable, as Shinde (2000) describes. The thick shielding component and evenness make a coaxial cable immune to noise and enable the transmission of high frequencies without signals leaking to the surrounding area or cables, as pointed out by Comer (2014).

Sending data by light or optical technologies allows data to travel via light pulses. This is referred to as fiber optic cable. Multimode step-index, multimode graded index, and single mode fiber exist. Each one is used for specific circumstances, as Comer (2014) points out. The light transmission is conducted using light emitting diodes (LED), inject laser diodes (ILD), and is received by a photosensitive cell or photodiode. The method normally is chosen based on the distance that the light has to travel. Fiber optic cable is better since it is not affected by noise but is expensive to install. Wiring is cheaper, and installation is more straightforward than fiber optic cable. Fiber requires exceptional technicians and machines to splice the fiber together.

Infrared and laser communication technology are also available. Infrared is most commonly used in television remotes and has a range of about 30 feet and requires line of sight to the device to be able to send the signal as described by Varrall (2011). Laser communications also require a point-to-point line of sight to operate. Laser communications is used in greater distances than infrared communications.

Electromagnetic radio communication is unguided. Governments typically control the radio frequency spectrum. Different frequencies are used selected for various purposes. My experience with radio frequencies was a wireless phone purchased in the United States and brought and used in New Zealand when we arrived. I did not realize that the frequency that the home wireless phone in New Zealand was the frequency chosen by the government of New Zealand for the cellular network. So I had a visit from a technician with an RF antenna at my door, who asked me if I had any devices from another country, such as a baby monitor. The home wireless phone was interfering with the Cellular network around us. We had a home wireless phone that was down, and the company supplied a voucher to allow us to buy the right phone in the store. This is the type of issue one can have with electromagnetic communications when living in a different country.

Satellites are another method of communication. These orbit the earth. In the case of DigitalGlobe, the company uses satellite technology to snap pictures with high-end cameras that can photograph down to 30cm of resolution from space. The satellite is tasked to photograph specific locations requested by customers; once photographed, the picture is downloaded to a satellite's ground station and processed and provided to the client requesting it.

Referencs Comer, D. E. (2014). Computer Networks and Internets, 6th Edition VitalSource Bookshelf version. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/books/9781323074091

Shinde, S. (2000). Computer Network. Daryaganj: New Age International. Retrieved from https://www.newagepublishers.com/servlet/nagetbiblio?bno=001676

Varrall, G. (2011). Making Telecoms Work. Hoboken: Wiley. Retrieved from https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Making+Telecoms+Work%3A+From+Technical+Innovation+to+Commercial+Success-p-9781119967149

Posts in this Series