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Transmission Media
Copper Wire Glass Fibre Microwave Infrared Laser

Computer communication involves encoding data into some form of energy and sending this across a transmission medium This lecture introduces a few basic transmission concepts as background Specifically, it examines the properties of different transmission media

Copper Wire
The most common medium as its is inexpensive and easy to install Why copper? The biggest problem is interference which results in noise At its worst when wires run parallel and close together

Solution 1: twisted pair
Shield the wires and then twist them together (e.g., telephone wires) Minimises both radiation and susceptibility to radiation

Solution 2: coaxial cable

Optical Fibre
Also known as glass fibre - a thin glass tube that reflects light internally and is coated in plastic for flexibility Transmitter uses LED or laser and receiver uses a light sensitive transistor Advantages
• • • • no electrical interference carry a signal much further than copper carry more information at a time only needs one fibre - unlike copper that requires a pair to form a circuit

Single wire surrounded by cylindrical metal shield Shield provides a barrier in both directions Shielded twisted pair may be used if wires pass through strong electromagnetic fields


inside a laptop for a room Microwave Higher frequency electromagnetic waves Advantages: • They are directional (privacy implications) • Can carry more information than RF Disadvantages: • cannot penetrate metal structures so require tall towers with direct line of sight Extending range with Satellites Microwave does not bend round the direct connection is required Properties vary according to frequency Size of antenna determines range .Optical Fibre continued Disadvantages • installation requires more specialised equipment • breaks in the fibre are hard to detect and repairs are difficult The Electromagnetic Spectrum Radio Broadcast of electromagnetic waves through the air at radio frequency (RF) Each computer uses an antenna .2m pole across town vs.each will deal with many customers on different frequencies Satellite Communication Geosynchronous versus (arrays of) Low Earth Orbit satellites 2 . so satellites are needed for long distances Satellites are expensive .

no antennae required • inexpensive Disadvantages: central office cell • limited range • sensitive to orientation of transmitter to receiver Laser Use of light to carry information through the air (no fibre required) A laser bean will stay focussed over a long distance Requires a straight line of sight and can easily be blocked (e..5 h Problems of limited availability + complex tracking Array of 60 satellites to cover Earth Altitude is approx.000 miles (High Earth Orbit) north pole Angular separation (4-8°) required for same frequency earth Extending Mobility with Cellular Telephony cell office Infrared Initially used in remote controls Advantages: mobile phone switching office • portable . by fog). 200-400 mile altitude Orbit typically is 1. Medium UTP STP Coax Fibre Radio Microwv Satellite Cellular Comparison of Media Cost Low Medium Medium High Medium High High High Speed 1-100M 1-150M 1M–1G 10M–2G 1-10M 1M–10G 1 M–10G 9.6–19.g.2K Atten Interfere High High High Medium Medium Medium Low Low Varies High Varies High Varies High Low Medium Security Low Low Low High Low Medium Medium Low 3 . 20.Geosynchronous Orbit Orbit is synchronous with the earth’s rotation satellite Low Earth Orbit Approx.

Summary Various transmission media with different properties in terms of: • • • • • range capacity to carry information cost directionality reliability (noise and blocking) 4 .