Difference between Wired and Wireless Communication

The communication system is a very important part of our lives.  One can talk to and see others from anywhere in the world. As the communication system evolved, cheaper and more efficient ways of communication became available for us.

Depending on the mode of transmission of signals, the communication system can be divided into two categories – wired communication and system and wireless communication system. In this article, we are going to discuss what is the difference between wired and wireless communication systems.

Difference between Wired and Wireless Communication in tabular form

In the following table, we have pointed out the differences between wired and wireless communication systems.

Wired Communication  Wireless Communication
In a wired communication system there exists a physical media between the transmitter and the receiver using which the signal is transferred. In wireless communication systems, there do not exist any physical media between the transmitter and the receiver.
For wired communication systems we don’t need any antenna to transmit or receive the signals as it is done using the physical media. An antenna is an essential part of wireless communication systems.
In such systems, information is sent in form of electrical signals. As now optical fibers are also being used for high-speed transmission, signals can also be in the form of optical signals. In such systems information is transmitted using electromagnetic waves. The frequencies of these waves are different for different applications.
Usually, wired communication systems do not require the modulation of signals. To transmit a signal in form of an electromagnetic wave for wireless communication, the signal must be modulated with a high-frequency signal.
A wired communication system is used for short-distance communication because as the length of the wire increases the received signal quality decreases. Though intercontinental communication is also done using underwater cables. The wireless communication system is suitable for long-distance communication.
Implementation of a wired communication system is less complex than a wireless communication system. A wireless communication system is more complex in nature than a wired communication system.

What is wired communication system?

The communication system in which we use cables, wires, or any physical media to transfer data or information using electrical or optical signals is called a wired communication system. The early model of communication using electrical signals was a wired communication system. In telegraphs, telephones, etc. information was transferred from source to destination using wired media. For a few decades, the wired communication system was the only way of electrical signal transmission.

In wired communication systems, the transmitter and receiver are connected by a physical cable such as coaxial cable, twisted pair cable, etc. The message which is to be transferred is taken from the source and then is converted into electrical signals using a transducer. Then this signal is transmitted from transmitter to receiver using a transmission line. Transmission lines are a special kind of cables that are used in communication to transfer electrical signals. Coaxial cables, twisted pair cables are examples of transmission lines. The recent evolution of optical fibers let us send information using an optical signal. As the signals are transmitted at the speed of light, we get a very fast transfer of information.

Wired communication systems are used for short-distance communication. Landline telephones, cable television, internet access using Ethernet cable, fiber-optic communication, etc. are examples of a wired communication system. Though a wired communication system is preferable in short-distance, that does not mean this does not have long-distance application. There is a massive underwater cable system that manages an intercontinental communication system.

What is wireless communication system?

The communication system in which there exists no wire or physical medium between transmitter and receiver is called a wireless communication system.  In a wireless communication system, the information is transmitted with help of high-frequency electromagnetic waves as these waves do not require physical media to propagate. In the early times, wireless communication systems were intended to communicate with ships in the sea. Nowadays it has application in almost every aspect of our lives.

In a wireless communication system, two of the most used terms are – modulation and antenna. In this system, first, we get the message signal from the source. Then a transducer converts it into an electrical signal. Then we modulate this signal with a high-frequency signal. This process is very important to get an antenna of practical size. Then this modulated signal is converted into EM waves and transmitted by the antenna. The directivity and the gain depending on the antenna, but we can control the transmitted power. The antenna also acts as a receiver that receives the EM waves and converts them into an electrical signal. Then we demodulate this electrical signal and extract the message signal from it.

The wireless communication system can be seen everywhere in our lives. Mobile communication systems, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth technology, IoT, satellite communication system, etc. are just a few examples. Modern communication would not be possible without wireless communication.


Both wired and wireless communication system have their advantages and disadvantages. A wired communication system is very effective in the short range and provides a low-cost and good quality of the transmission of data in this range. Again, for communicating with different areas around the globe or over a long range, most of the time, wireless communication is the optimal solution. In modern communication, both systems are used side-by-side.

Subhrajyoti Choudhury

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