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What is Transmission Media ?

A transmission medium is any material through which data communication takes place.

It can be broadly classified as:-

1. Coaxial Cable

It is composed of a central conducting core(solid or stranded wire) which is enclosed in an insulating material, braided metal shielding and an outer cover. The core carries the electrical signals(data) and the braided wire provides earthing & protects it from interference & attenuation. It is inexpensive, easy to handle and flexible. Coaxial cable is of two types- thin coaxial cable(0.25 inch thick) & thick coaxial cable(0.5 inch thick).

It can be used for data transfer over large distances. Eg. Cable networks. A cross section of a Coaxial cable is shown below:-

Twisted Pair cable

It consists of two conductors that are separately insulated and twisted together.

There are 2 types of twisted pair cable:-

UTP(Unshielded Twisted Pair)- It has a simple plastic casing. It is used in telephone networks, office buildings etc. It is very prone to interference & noise.

STP(shielded Twisted Pair)- The twisted pair is shielded with a copper braid jacket and a foil wrap between and around the wire pairs. This provides insulation and so it is less prone to noise & interference.

RJ 45 and RJ 11connectors are used to connect twisted pair with the computers and telephones respectively.

Fiber Optic Cable

It transmits signals in the form of light and is made up of an inner core of glass or plastic. The core is surrounded by a cladding that reflects light back into the core. Each fiber is surrounded by a plastic casing. It is very efficient medium because it provides maximum bandwidth, lower attenuation and is immune to Electromagnetic Interference.

Speed and cost of the various tranmission media:-

Medium Speed Cost

Twisted Pair 300BPS-10 MBPs LOW

Coaxial Cable 56KBPS-200MBP MEDIUM

Fiber Optics 56KBPS-10GBPS HIGH

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