Code360 powered by Coding Ninjas X Naukri.com. Code360 powered by Coding Ninjas X Naukri.com
Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Guided media?
2.1.
Features of Guided Media 
3.
What is Unguided media?
3.1.
Features of Unguided Media
4.
Difference between Guided Media and Unguided Media
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
What are the 4 types of unguided media?
5.2.
What are the differences between the two types of transmission media?
5.3.
What is the main advantage of using guided media?
5.4.
What is the main difference between guided and unguided media?
5.5.
What is the main disadvantage of unguided media?
5.6.
What are the advantages of unguided media?
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2024
Easy

Difference Between Guided and Unguided Media

Author Tisha
0 upvote
Master Python: Predicting weather forecasts
Speaker
Ashwin Goyal
Product Manager @

Introduction

Guided media, also known as wired communication, includes bounded transmission media, whereas unguided media, also termed wireless communication, encompasses unbounded transmission media.

Difference Between Guided and Unguided Media

This article will discuss the difference between guided and unguided media. Before going further, let us discuss guided and unguided media and their features.

So without any delay, let's start!

Also See, Digital Subscriber Line

Must Read, repeater in computer network

What is Guided media?

Guided media is a communication channel that uses a physical medium to transmit signals from one point to another, such as coaxial cable, copper wire, and fiber optic cable. This media is also known as wired media. In this, the signal is transmitted through a physical medium that acts as a waveguide or a conductor to provide a path for the call to travel. The signal is confined to the physical boundaries of the transmission medium. It travels along a specific way from the source to the destination.

This media is generally used for data transmission in local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). 

For example, 

  • Twisted pair cable is generally used for telephone lines and ethernet networks. 
     
  • Fiber optic cables are used for long-distance communication, high-speed Internet connection, and cable television network. 
     
  • Coaxial cable is used for high-speed Internet connections and cable television.

Features of Guided Media 

Some of the features of guided media are mentioned below:

  1. Cost: This media is generally more expensive than unguided media. They require the physical installation of cables or other transmission media.
     
  2. Security: This media is generally more secure than unguided media. The signal is confined to the physical boundaries of the transmission medium.
     
  3. Distance: Guided media have a limited transmission distance based on the type of medium and signal attenuation, which means that the signal weakens as it travels further.
     
  4. Physical Medium: Physical medium provides a path for the signal to travel. Guided media uses a physical medium, like fiber optic cable, coaxial cable, and copper wire to transmit signals.
     
  5. Signal Attenuation: In guided media, the signal can be weaken as it travels, which is called attenuation. 
     
  6. Signal Interference: Guided media can sometimes be affected by other electrical devices, which can make the signal distorted. We can reduce this problem by using protective shielding or different frequencies for different transmissions.
     
  7. Bandwidth: This media typically have higher bandwidth than unguided media. It allows for excellent data transmission rates.

Also see,  Personal Area Network

Get the tech career you deserve, faster!
Connect with our expert counsellors to understand how to hack your way to success
User rating 4.7/5
1:1 doubt support
95% placement record
Akash Pal
Senior Software Engineer
326% Hike After Job Bootcamp
Himanshu Gusain
Programmer Analyst
32 LPA After Job Bootcamp
After Job
Bootcamp

What is Unguided media?

Unguided media is a communication channel that does not require a physical medium to transmit signals. The signal is transmitted through the air using microwaves, radio waves, and infrared signals. The signal is not confined to a physical medium and travels through space in all directions until the intended receiver receives it. It is commonly used in wireless local area networks (WLANs), satellite communication systems, and mobile communications networks. For example, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, satellite communication, and cellular networks.

This media is also known as wireless media.

Features of Unguided Media

Some of the features of unguided media are given below:

  1. Bandwidth: Compared to guided media, unguided media have limited bandwidth, which can restrict data transmission rates.
     
  2. Mobility: Unguided media provide greater mobility and flexibility than guided media. The transmission device can move freely without being tethered to a physical medium.
     
  3. Installation: Unguided media are more accessible and less expensive. They do not require physical cabling or infrastructure.
     
  4. Security: Unguided media are generally less secure than guided media because unauthorized users can intercept the signals they transmit.
     
  5. No Physical Medium: This media does not require a physical medium to transmit signals. The signals are transmitted through the air using microwaves, radio waves, or infrared signals.
     
  6. Signal Attenuation: In unguided media, the signal is subject to attenuation, which is the loss of signal strength over the transmission distance. The attenuation amount depends on the signal frequency, obstacles in the signal's path, and atmospheric conditions.
     
  7. Signal Interference: Unguided media can be subject to interference from other electromagnetic sources, which can distort the signal. 

Difference between Guided Media and Unguided Media

The difference between guided and unguided media are mentioned in the below table:

Basis of comparison Guided MediaUnguided Media
Meaning It is a communication channel that uses a physical medium to transmit signals from one point to another, with the help of a guided medium, like a fiber optic cable or a wire.It is a communication channel that uses a wireless medium to transmit signals from one point to another without the help of any physical medium.
ExamplesCoaxial cable, fiber optic cable, and Twisted-pair cable.Microwaves, infrared waves, and radio waves.
ApplicationsIt is a wired LAN, WAN, and point-to-point communication system.It is wireless LANs, WANs, cellular networks, and satellite communication.
AdvantagesIt is a secure transmission with high data transfer speeds, immune to external interference, and low error rates.It can transmit signals through obstacles, is easy to deploy, and covers a wide area. 
DisadvantagesIts range is limited, susceptible to damage and interference, and costly to install and maintain.It has high error rates, low data transfer speeds, is vulnerable to external interference, and limited security.
Use CasesIt is an Ethernet cable for local networks, fiber optic cables for long-distance communication, and coaxial cables for cable TV.In this, Wi-Fi for wireless internet access, Bluetooth for short-range device communication, and satellite communication for remote locations
Examples of StandardsEthernet, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)Wi-Fi, GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication), and Bluetooth.
Key TechnologyElectromagnetic waves that propagate through a physical mediumElectromagnetic waves propagate through free space.
Examples of DevicesRouters, optical transmitters, optical receiver, Ethernet switchBluetooth , Wi-Fi router, cellular phone, and satellite dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 types of unguided media?

Unguided media in wireless communication includes radio waves for wide-range broadcasting, microwaves for point-to-point and satellite communications, infrared for short-range devices like remotes, and visible light used in applications like fiber optics and LiFi technology. These media enable data transmission without physical connections.

What are the differences between the two types of transmission media?

Transmission media in networking can be classified into guided and unguided types. Guided media involves physical cables (like copper wires and fiber optics) for signal transmission, while unguided media uses wireless methods (radio waves, microwaves) to transmit data through the air or space.

What is the main advantage of using guided media?

It provides high bandwidth and is less susceptible to interference and noise than unguided media.

What is the main difference between guided and unguided media?

The main difference between guided and unguided media is that guided media uses physical cables or wires to transmit data. In contrast, unguided media uses wireless signals propagating through air or space.

What is the main disadvantage of unguided media?

The main disadvantage of unguided media is that it is more susceptible to interference and noise, resulting in data loss or errors during transmission. It typically has lower bandwidth than guided media.

What are the advantages of unguided media?

Unguided media, such as wireless communication channels, offer several advantages, including flexibility in deployment, scalability for expanding networks, and the ability to transmit data over long distances without the need for physical cables or infrastructure.

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the differences between guided and unguided media. These differences are essential for comprehending the diverse landscape of communication technologies. Guided media, characterized by physical channels like cables, offer reliability and high data integrity, ideal for structured environments. On the other hand, unguided media, such as wireless channels, provide flexibility, scalability, and mobility, making them indispensable in modern, dynamic communication networks.

You may refer to our Guided Path on Coding Ninjas Studio for enhancing your skill set on DSACompetitive ProgrammingSystem Design, etc. Check out essential interview questions, practice our available mock tests, look at the interview bundle for interview preparations, and so much more!

Happy Learning Ninja!

Previous article
Layered Architecture in Computer Network
Next article
Internet and Intranet
Live masterclass