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Difference between Guided media and Unguided media

December 24, 2022

The primary difference between guided media and unguided media is that guided media uses a physical medium to carry the signal while unguided media transmits the signal through the air. Guide media and unguided media both are types of transmission media that are used to transmit data.

image showing the unguided media

In this article, we will find the difference between guided and unguided media. Let’s find the difference between both them.

Guided Media

It refers to channels that allow the transmission of data through physical media. The signal travels through a physical medium such as a twisted pair cable, coaxial cable, or fiber optic cable.

image showing the guided media

The physical media is usually terminated on the receiving end by a device called a modem. The modem is used to demodulate the signal back into the original digital stream. Guided media is used to create a connection between two devices.

Unguided Media

Unguided media transmission refers to channels that transmit data and information in the form of waves. These types of transmissions don’t rely on a specific path and are therefore often called unbound media.

This is in contrast to cabling media, which does provide a guided path for data signals. There are different types of unguided media like microwaves, communication satellites, mobile communication, etc.

Guided media vs unguided media

The main differences between guided media and unguided media are given below:

Guided mediaUnguided media
The signal needs a physical path to transmit data.The signal transmit through wireless media like air and wave.
It is called bounded media.It is called unbounded media.
Different network topologies are created by guided media.The media formed the continuous network topologies without any guidance.
Guided media provides better security during data transmission.    Unguided media security is weak during data transmission.  
The transmission speed of guided media is high as compared to unguided media.The transmission speed of guided media is slow as compared to unguided media.
Guided media provides direction to signal for traveling.Unguided media does not provide any direction.
It is used for short distances.It is used for long distances.
Guided media is generally flexible and low-cost media.    Unguided media is generally complex and high-cost media.  
Guided media is used for point-to-point communication, which means that it is a direct connection between two devices.Media that is not directed or guided, like radio waves, can be heard by anyone who has a receiver tuned to the right frequency.
Twisted pair wires
Coaxial cables
Optical Fiber cables etc.  
Satellite communication
Terrestrial microwave
Radio wave
Infrared light.