Data Transmission Modes in Computer Network

In this article, we will discuss modes of data transmission – simplex mode, half-duplex mode, full-duplex mode.

Transmission Modes

  • Transmission modes define the direction of data transmission, it defines the direction of the flow of information between two communication devices.
  • Every data transmitted on the communication channel has a direction and this direction between two communication devices is defined by data transmission modes.
  • The transmission mode is a mechanism that decides the direction of data means in which direction the data will flow.
  • It is also referred to as data communication mode or directional mode.

There are three types of transmission mode

  • Simplex Mode
  • Half-Duplex Mode
  • Full-Duplex Mode


Data Transmission Mode


Simplex Mode

  • In simplex mode, Data can flow in only one direction means data communication is unidirectional.
  • In this mode, a sender can only send data but can’t receive it similarly, a receiver can only receive data but can’t send it.
  • Simplex mode is mostly used for broadcast communication, where one device sends a message to multiple recipients, but the recipients cannot respond or send data back.
  • For example, a television broadcaster transmitting a TV program to multiple viewers is an example of simplex mode. Another example of simplex mode is a radio station transmitting music to listeners.
  • The radio stations or TV channels are used the simplex mode. People can only listen to or watch it but never allow it to transmit back.
  • Simplex mode is considered a one-way communication mode as it allows data to flow in only one direction, from the sender to the receiver. The sender cannot receive any feedback or acknowledgment from the receiver, which limits the usefulness of this mode in many applications. However, it is useful in situations where it is necessary to transmit information in one direction only, such as in a broadcast setting.

Simplex mode

Examples of Simplex Mode

  • Radio Broadcasting: A radio station transmits music and other programs to listeners in simplex mode, as listeners cannot send any data back to the radio station.
  • Television Broadcasting: A television broadcaster transmits programs to viewers in simplex mode, as viewers cannot send any data back to the broadcaster.
  • Printer: A printer is a simplex device because it can receive data from a computer and print it, but the computer cannot receive data from the printer.
  • Keyboard: A keyboard is also a simplex device because it can send data to a computer, but the computer cannot send data back to the keyboard.
  • GPS Receivers: GPS receivers receive GPS signals from satellites in simplex mode, as the GPS receiver cannot send any data back to the satellites.
  • Traffic Light Control: Traffic lights communicate with vehicles in simplex mode, as vehicles cannot send any data back to the traffic lights.
  • CPU outputs to Monitor.
  • Speaker is an example of one-way communication.
  • Microphone is also an example of one-way communication.

These are just a few examples of simplex mode in computer networks. In general, simplex mode is used in situations where one-way communication is sufficient and two-way communication is not necessary.

Advantages of Simplex Mode

  • Simplex mode requires fewer resources, such as bandwidth and processing power, as data is transmitted in one direction only.
  • Simplex mode is useful in situations where one-way communication is sufficient, such as in broadcast communication.
  • It is simple to implement and does not require complex synchronization between the sender and receiver.

Disadvantages of Simplex Mode

  • No Feedback: The lack of feedback from the receiver to the sender makes it impossible to know if the data was received or not.
  • Inefficient for two-way communication: In situations where two-way communication is necessary, simplex mode is not efficient, as it requires the establishment of separate communication channels for each direction of transmission.
  • Limited Functionality: In simplex mode, data can only be transmitted in one direction, which can limit the functionality of the communication system.
  • Inefficient Use of Resources: Simplex mode can be inefficient in terms of resource utilization, as the communication channel is not utilized fully.

In conclusion, simplex mode has its limitations, but it can be useful in certain situations, such as broadcast communication or where a response is not required.


Half-Duplex Mode

  • In half-duplex mode, Data can flow in both directions but in one direction at a time means when one node is sending the data, then the receiving node has to wait.
  • When one device is sending the other can only receive and vice versa.

half duplex mode

Examples of Half-Duplex Mode

  • Walkie-Talkie: you can talk from both device but at one time only one person can talk and others can only listen.
  • Internet Browsers

Advantages of Half-Duplex  Mode

  • Half-Duplex mode is simpler to implement compared to Full-Duplex mode, as it does not require complex synchronization between the sender and receiver.
  • It requires a smaller bandwidth compared to Full-Duplex mode.

Disadvantages of Half-Duplex  Mode

  • The lack of simultaneous communication between the sender and receiver can limit the functionality of the communication system.
  • Half-Duplex mode can be less efficient compared to Full-Duplex mode, as the communication channel is not utilized fully.
  • The need for a turn-taking mechanism can add additional overhead and latency to the communication system.
  • Half-Duplex mode can reduce the overall performance of a communication system, as it cannot support simultaneous communication in both directions.

Full-Duplex Mode

  • Full-Duplex mode in computer networks is a type of data transmission in which data can be transmitted in both directions simultaneously. This means that two devices can send and receive data at the same time, without any delay or waiting time.
  • Full-Duplex mode is often used in local area networks (LANs), where multiple devices need to communicate with each other simultaneously.
  • In Full-Duplex mode, each device has a dedicated communication channel for sending and receiving data. This allows for high-speed, high-bandwidth communication between devices.

full duplex mode

Examples of Full-Duplex Mode

The best example of full-duplex is a Telephone Network where two persons can communicate simultaneously means both sides person can talk and listen at the same time.

Advantages of Full-Duplex  Mode

  • Full-Duplex mode allows data to be transmitted in both directions simultaneously, which increases the efficiency and performance of the communication system.
  • Full-Duplex mode supports high-speed, high-bandwidth communication, making it suitable for applications that require large amounts of data to be transmitted quickly.
  • Full-Duplex mode eliminates the need for devices to take turns transmitting data, reducing the latency in the communication system.

Disadvantages of Full-Duplex  Mode

  • It can require more complex hardware and software compared to Half-Duplex mode, which can increase the cost of the communication system.
  • It can require a larger bandwidth compared to Half-Duplex mode.
  • Full-Duplex mode increases the risk of collisions, where two devices transmit data at the same time and the data is lost.

In conclusion, Full-Duplex mode in computer networks is a type of data transmission that allows data to be transmitted in both directions simultaneously. It is often used in LANs and supports high-speed, high-bandwidth communication. However, it can also be more complex and expensive to implement compared to Half-Duplex mode. The appropriate transmission mode should be chosen based on the requirements of the communication system.




Also Read: What is a computer network and Why we need a network?

Also Read: What is network topology and its types?


Frequently Asked Questions about Data Transmission modes

What is the data transmission mode of the keyboard and mouse?

Both Keyboard and mouse are the simplex mode, because they can only give input to the CPU, but cannot receive any input from the CPU.

Which mode is Radio and T.V Transmission?

Radio can only transmit the radio signals which is one-way communication, so it is the example simple mode.
T.V transmission is also a one-way communication, so it is also the simplex mode example.

What type of mode is an internet browser?

Internet browsers are the type of half-duplex mode because when the client sent any request, the server has to wait, and simultaneously when the server sent any information, the client browser has to wait.

Which data transmission mode is the hub device?

Hub device can only transmit data in half-duplex mode because the hub is just a repeater that amplifies the signal and sends it to the other ports except the source port.
In hub network, a collision occurs, if two devices try to communicate at the same time.

Which data transmission mode is the switch device?

In switch device, devices can communicate simultaneously with each other on the network, because switch does not broadcast data like hub.
Switch stores MAC addresses of all the connected devices and also stores the port numbers in his table. So switch device knows which device connected to which port. So switch network is the full-duplex data transmission mode.

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