Data Transmission

Data transmission, as the term implies, refers to the process of sending data over a communication channel or medium to one or more electronic, communication, network or computing devices. The purpose of data transmission is to allow communication between two or more devices/systems.

This can happen within a point-to-point, multipoint-to-multipoint, or point-to-multipoint scenario. The other name for data transmission is digital communication or digital transmission.

How it works

Data transmission can either be analog or digital, but, in the modern context, it mostly refers to the sending and receiving of digital data. Data transmission occurs when a device or equipment, such as a smartphone or computer, sends data in the form of a file to a single recipient or multiple recipients.

The source device sends out the data either in the form of digital bit streams or signals. These bit streams or signals are transmitted over optical fibers, copper wires, or wireless carriers to the recipient. The outbound signals can be classified as passband or baseband.

Apart from external communication, data transmission can also occur internally. For example, the RAM or Random-Access Memory in a computer sending data to the processor can be described as data transmission.

Type of data transmission

There are multiple forms of data transmission. We will be discussing a few of them here.

  • Parallel Transmission: Parallel transmission refers to a system of data transmission where individual wires are used to transfer data between multiple subunits. Each subunit is connected using multiple wires and a parallel transfer mode is used to exchange data. The benefit is that there is less delay in the transmission time since data is transmitted simultaneously. However, only short distance transmission can be done this way and the multiple lines of wire and bits of data raise costs significantly.
  • Serial Transmission: This refers to data transmission between longer distances where single lines are used as a cost-cutting effort. The key feature here is that data is transmitted in single bits. Though transmission is slower, it costs less as only a single line is used.
  • Asynchronous Transmission: Here, only a single character is transmitted at a time. In other words, one byte of data at a time. Start bit and stop bits are utilized where a start bit indicates the start of the transmission and stop bit indicates the stopping of the transmission. It is an affordable form of data transmission as short lines of data can be communicated. Also, each character is separate, which means the other characters remain protected even one character is corrupted.
  • Synchronous Transmission: This is similar to the asynchronous transmission method, but, does not rely on start and stop bits. Multiple bytes are transmitted at a time. The main benefit is that transmission occurs at very high speeds. Most of today’s data transmission is synchronous.