PyNet Labs- Network Automation Specialists

Transmission Media in Computer Network and Its Types

Last Updated : March 22, 2023
What is Transmission Media and its Types


The modern global environment is constantly evolving. Data Communication and networking technologies have revolutionized many aspects of modern life. They now depend on computer networks for almost everything. Computers and other types of telecommunication devices may represent data as signals. They are transferred as electromagnetic signals from one device to another. Electromagnetic signals may travel from one sender to another through a vacuum, air, or other transmission media. This blog aims to provide you with an overview of the transmission media in computer networks and types of transmission media.

Before moving any further, you should take a look at our CCNA Course.

What is Transmission Media?

Transmission Media is a method of establishing a communication medium to transmit and receive information in the form of electromagnetic signal waves. Since different physical components operate it, it is put under the physical layer while being worked on by physical elements from the physical layer. A LAN, or local area network, is the physical setup where a transmitter and receiver communicate utilizing a Transmission medium. Copper-based or fiber-based transmission media are used to carry either electric or optical signals. The transmission medium is also known as a communication channel.

Transmission Media
  • Copper-based or fibre-based transmission media are used to carry either electric or optical signals. The transmission medium is also known as a communication channel.
  • The transmission media is mainly of two types: Wired Media and Wireless Media through which data is transmitted. To measure the quality of data that is transmitted, and its characteristics can be calculated by the characteristics of medium and signal.
  • In wired media, the characteristics of the medium are more important and on the other hand in wireless media, the characteristic of the signal are much more vital.
  • There are several Transmission Media and all of them have different properties which includes bandwidth, delay, cost and ease of installation and maintenance. And depending on these factors Transmission media is selected for the data transfer.

Media Terminology

  1. Segment length – The signal degrades for each type of media after traveling a certain distance to the point where it becomes unintelligible. This distance is referred to as the segment length.
  2. Attenuation – The loss of signal strength when traveling a distance is called attenuation. Measured in decibels (DB).
  3. Bandwidth – Amount of data that can travel through the cable in a unit period of time. Measure in kbps, Mbps, etc.
  4. Interference – Each cable is susceptible to certain forms of external noise. This is called EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) or RFI (Radio frequency interference)
  5. Crosstalk – When a signal carrying conductor is placed near another signal carrying conductor. Interference is generated in the other cable. This is called crosstalk.

Now, that we have a good knowledge of Transmission Media, it is time to indulge ourselves to the types of Transmission Media.

Types of Transmission Media

Depending on the nature and quality of the transmission, the following types of transmission media may be broken down into two categories.

Types of Transmission Media

Guided or Wired Transmission Media

This type of media uses cables to transmit signals across the network. Wired media, often known as guided media, is a form of transmission medium. It has a finite range in the communication system and is also known as a Bounded transmission media. With the use of physical wiring connections, the qualities of the transmission signals may be concentrated and contained inside a specific, constrained channel. Transmission speeds are one of the most striking features of this kind of communication.

A. Copper

The copper media uses cables that use copper conductors inside the cable that is used to transmit electrical signals.

  1. Coaxial

The core is made up of copper conductors. Its purpose is the signal transmission. To prevent the copper conductor from overheating, an insulator is utilized. A metal conductor is braided around the insulator. It aids in blocking out any unwanted noise or allowing for any unwanted cross-talk between electrical signals. The setup is entirely covered in a protective plastic layer.

Its Features

  • Protection from crosstalk/ EMI/ RFI
  • Difficult to install
  • Expensive
  • Usually used in broadcast medium ex: cable TV
  • Segment length of 200m to 500m
Coaxial Cable

2. Twisted pair

This cable has eight insulated wires. These are paired in groups of 2 and are twisted together based on a color code. The twisting is done to decrease interference caused by the adjacent wires.  One wire in the pair may send signals to the receiver, while the other serves as a ground reference. The twisted pair is further divided into two parts, i.e., shielded and unshielded.

a. Shielded twisted pair

These twisted pair cables are covered in a braided shield which acts as a shield from outside interference.

  • Protection from crosstalk/ RFI/ EMI
  • More expensive than UTP
  • Difficult to install
  • Segment length of up to 100m
shielded twisted pair
Ethernet TypeBandwidthCable TypeMaximum Distance
10Base-T10MbpsCat 3/Cat 5 UTP100m
100Base-TX100MbpsCat 5 UTP100m
100Base-TX200MbpsCat 5 UTP100m
100Base-FX100MbpsMulti-mode Fiber400m
100Base- FX200MbpsMulti-mode Fiber2Km
1000Base-T1GbpsCat 5e UTP100m
1000Base-TX1GbpsCat 6 UTP100m
1000Base-SX1GbpsMulti-mode Fiber550m
1000Base-LX1GbpsSingle-mode Fiber2Km
10GBase-T10GbpsCat 6a/Cat 7 UTP100m
10GBase-LX10GbpsMulti-mode Fiber100m
10GBase-LX10GbpsSingle-mode Fiber10Km

b. Unshielded twisted pair

These twisted pair cables do not have a braided shield. The 4 pairs are simply covered in a plastic insulator for safety.

  • Prone to crosstalk/ RFI/ EMI
  • Inexpensive
  • Most common
  • Easy to install
  • Segment length of up to 100m
unshielded twisted pair

Color Codes

color codes of twisted pair

Straight through cable

  • When the same color codes are used at both ends. For ex, 568A on both ends. Alternatively, 568B on both ends
  • Used when connecting different types of devices, for ex, connecting a PC to a switch, or a switch to a router

You might also like – Hub vs Switch vs Router

Crossover cable

  • When different color codes are used at both ends. For ex, one end is 568A, and the other end is 568B
  • Used when connecting similar types of devices. For ex, A PC to a PC or a switch to a switch, etc.

B. Fiber Optics

In addition, optical fiber, a physical medium, has also become the standard for long-distance communications. Optical fibers are transparent, flexible wires composed of glass (silica) or plastic that are just a little thicker than a human hair. It acts as a waveguide, allowing light to travel between the fiber’s two ends.

Fiber optic communications rely heavily on optical fibers because they allow for greater bandwidths (data rates) and transmission over greater distances than traditional modes of communication. It contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. The route for light is provided by the core, located in the center. The core is surrounded by cladding that reflects light to prevent loss of signal and allow the passage of light.

  1. Single mode
  • Single strand of glass fiber
  • Single data signal
  • Can span large distances
  • Uses laser
  • Transmission speeds are faster
Single-mode Fiber Optics

2. Multi-mode

  • Can carry multiple modes of the data signal
  • Can carry multiple light signals
  • Can span lesser distances than single mode
  • Uses LED
  • Transmission speeds are lower than single mode
Multi-mode Fiber Optics

That’s all from Wired Transmission Media, let’s move on to Wireless Transmission media. You can also watch this video for more information on the same –

Unguided or Wireless Transmission Media

Unguided media, also termed as unbound transmission medium, is a method of transmitting data without the need for cables. Physical geography has no bearing on these media. Unguided media are also known as wireless communication. It is a wireless transmission media channel that does not need a physical medium to connect to network nodes or servers.


Wireless LAN is also called WLAN. It has become very popular in modern times. It uses radio frequency waves to transmit information from one device to another.


Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is a brand name. The IEEE 802.11 standard defines the protocols that enable communications with Wi-Fi-enabled wireless devices.

Check this out – VLAN Trunking Protocol

StandardYear ReleasedFrequency (GHz)SpeedRange (Indoor)Range (Outdoor)

That’s all from the Wireless Transmission Media. Now, that we have uncovered everything from Transmission Media and types of transmission media, it is time to conclude this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1 – What is the transmission media?

Transmission Media carries the information through LAN in the form of bits. It mainly carries information between the sender and the receiver therefore known as communication channels. Examples include twisted pair cables, coaxial cables, fiber optic cables, wireless technologies (like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), microwave transmission, and satellite communication. The choice of transmission media depends on factors like distance, bandwidth requirements, and susceptibility to interference.

Q2 – What are 4 types of transmission media?

Here are the 4 types of transmission media – Twisted Pair, Coaxial Cable, Fiber Optic Cable, and Wireless Transmission.

Q3 – What is guided and unguided media?

Guided media refers to transmission media that provide a physical path or conductor for transmitting signals. It includes media like twisted pair cables, coaxial cables, and fiber optic cables, where the signals are guided along the transmission path.

Unguided media, on the other hand, refers to transmission media that do not provide a physical path for signal transmission. Instead, the signals are propagated through the air or space using wireless technologies such as radio waves, microwaves, and satellite communication. Unguided media do not rely on a physical medium to transmit signals and are sometimes referred to as wireless or free space communication.

Q4 – What are the types of unguided media?

Here are a the types of unguided media – Radio Waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Light Waves, and Satellite Communication.


While constructing a network, transmission media are crucial because they ensure that data is transferred and received without interruption. A network can only be fully set up and functional with a medium to transmit the data inside the network. This blog is mostly concerned with transmission media and its types. Nonetheless, the transmission rate, cost, ease of installation, and distances covered are all considered while deciding on a medium. We hope this blog has helped you learn about ‘Transmission Media’.

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