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A comparison of wired and wireless communication technology

Communications technology can be divided into two types----------wired communications and wireless communication. This essay intends to compare these two types of communication technology in three aspects; definition, advantages and disadvantages and applications. Wired communication is taken to mean the information or data transmission over a physical wire-based connection such as fixed-line telephone, cable television and internet access. While wireless communication refers to transmitting signals and data without cables using electromagnetic waves such as mobile communications, satellite communications and microwave communications. Firstly, the essay will introduce wired and wireless communication; their history, definition, types and applications. Then, the essay will emphasis the comparison of the two types of communication technology. Through the above, the essay will show that the most ideal communication system is the two types working together. With wired communication being used in backbone network and for data and video transmission while wireless communication is used for access points and for audio transmission. What follows is an introduction to wired communication; its definition, history, types and applications. Wired communication technology refers to the transmission of information over a wire-based communication network that has significantly developed over the last 130 years. The telephone as a type of wired communication was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in the year 1876, which caused a telecommunication revolution (TelephoneTribute, N.D.). The wires are taken to mean the infrastructure needed to transmit signals and data from one place to another place.

There are three types of wires that are used in wired communication. The first type is twisted-pair wire, which is a copper wire that connects people's computers to the telephone line. So called because two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other in order to reduce crosstalk or electromagnetic induction between pairs of wires (SearchDataCentre, 2008). It is possible to get interference when using the phone, which might be due to an untwisting of the twisted pair wire (William.B & Sawyer.S, 2007). Due to the twisted-pair wire being made of copper it is considered to be the least expensive infrastructure while the rate of information transfer is relatively slow in comparison to other wires.

The second type is coaxial cables, including 2 physical channels. The inside channel carries information, surrounded by outer channel, both running along the same axis (SearchDataCentre, 2008). Coaxial cables are mainly used for transmitting TV signals and for internet connection. Coaxial cables can carry relatively more information than twisted-pair wires due to coaxial cables suffering less interference.

The last type is optical fibre, which has become one of the most advanced technologies for transmitting information. Optical fibre refers to the infrastructure and the technology associated with the information transfer as light impulses in a glass fibre (SearchNetworking, 1999). Optical fibres can carry much more information than ordinary copper wires and are less prone to interference. As a result, most telephone companies use optical fibre for long distance communications. Optical fibre is also the most popular trend currently on wired communication. All the three types of wired communications have the same characteristics. They have high quality signals, wide bands and they do not suffer interference easily, however, their mobility is very limited.

In order to compare wireless communication with wired communication, there follows an introduction to wireless communication. In the year 1895, Guglielmo Marconi opened the way for modern wireless communication by transmitting Morse code over a long distance using electromagnetic waves. From then on, wireless communication has significantly developed into an important element of modern society (Gans.J.S, King.S.P& Wright.J, N.D.).

Wireless communication means transmitting signals and data without cables using electromagnetic waves. The principles of wireless communication are that signals are amplified first, then they are emitted by the emitting terminal, finally they are received by the received terminal and the data can be accessed. Wireless communication also has many types including Bluetooth, mobile communications and Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity). Bluetooth technology appeared in 1994, establishing a common short-distance wireless interface between fixed devices and mobile devices in order that all devices can easily intercommunicate without wires or cables (BBC, N.D.).

The wireless network which people are most familiar with is the mobile communication. It means the intercommunications between mobile devices and fixed devices or between mobile devices and mobile devices, so it is an organic combination of wired and wireless communications. 3G, the third generation mobile communication technology, has been widely used all over the world. Now most people are enjoying the convenience and pleasure which is brought about by 3G network. Wi-Fi is also a kind of wireless communications which people are very familiar with. It enables people to easily access the internet. However, bands will be shared when several users access the same point so the rate of data transfer will be the signals can be greatly weakened by walls. Electromagnetic waves in transmission will produce reflection, refraction, diffraction depending on the environment, causing Doppler effect and other phenomena.

Having introduced wired and wireless communication, now the comparison of the two technologies will be discussed. Literally, the most obvious characteristic is that wired communication needs a physical connection while wireless do not. As a result, a wired communication system has more complex devices than a wireless communication one. Consequently, wired communication costs more than wireless communication but wireless ones are more convenient and more mobile.

However, due to some obstacles such as buildings, in the transmission of electromagnetic waves, the previously mentioned weakening factors apply. Thus, many problems will appear such as multi-path interference, noise interference and transmission delay. Therefore, wired communication has higher quality signals, more capacity and less interference than wireless communication. Furthermore, in theory; wired communication is more secure than wireless communications because electromagnetic waves transfer in the air so signals can easily be intercepted (Compnetworking, 2009).

Generally speaking, wired communication is used for data and video transmission while wireless communication is used for audio transmission because data transmission needs higher accuracy than audio. Furthermore, wired communication is mainly used in backbone networks because it has higher quality signals so it is more suitable for long-distance transmission while wireless communication is more suitable for access points due to its short range.

To conclude, the essay introduces wired and wireless communication respectively, then makes a comparison of the two types. Wireless communication is less complex, less expensive but more convenient than wired communication, however, due to the transmission characteristics of electromagnetic waves, wireless communication is more vulnerable to interference. Therefore, wired communication has higher quality signals and more capacity than wireless communication. Furthermore, wired communications have better security. As can be seen, they have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it can not be considered that one type is superior. To make most use of the capacity of a communication system to meet various demands, the two types of technology need to be combined. With wired communication being more suitable for data and video transmission while wireless communications is more suitable for audio transmission. Finally, wired communications are mainly used in long-distance transmission while wireless communications are used in short-distance transmission.

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