Difference between Baseband and Broadband Transmission

Baseband and Broadband Transmission describe how data is transmitted between two nodes. Baseband technology transmits a single data signal/stream/channel at a time while broadband technology transmits multiple data signals/streams/channels simultaneously at the same time.

To understand the basic differences between both technologies, consider the baseband as a railway track and the broadband as a highway. Like, at a time, only one train can go on a railway track, in the baseband transmission only one data signal can be transmitted at a time. Unlike a railway track on a highway, multiple vehicles can go simultaneously. For example, on a 3 lanes highway, 3 vehicles can go at the same time. Same as a highway, in the broadband transmission, multiple data signals can be transmitted at the same time.

What is Baseband Transmission?

It is a method of transmission where a single signal is either transmitted or received in the type of discrete pulses of a single frequency across a communication medium like a cable. The baseband signal’s frequency is not changed, and the signal’s bandwidth is almost 0. Baseband systems do not use frequency shifting, so only one signal uses the entire bandwidth of the system at once. Therefore, any remaining bandwidth is wasted.

In this technology, several devices in a network interact with one another by sending and receiving data on a single communication channel that is shared by all connected devices and utilizing the channel’s full bandwidth. The data is either transmitted or received at any time. All the devices in the network must be able to understand the same type of signal. However, Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) enables sharing of the same media. The baseband signal is frequently utilized in wired Local Area Networks (LANs) that are based on Ethernet.

What is Broadband transmission?

Broadband technology uses analog signals in data transmission. This technology uses a special analog wave known as the carrier wave. A carrier wave does not contain any data but contains all properties of the analog signal. This technology mixes data/digital signal/binary values into the carrier wave and sends the carrier wave across the channel/medium.

To transmit data of multiple nodes simultaneously, this technology supports the Frequency Division Multiplexing. FDM (Frequency Division Multiplexing) divides the channel (medium or path) into several sub-channels and assigns a sub-channel to each node. Each sub-channel can carry a separate carrier wave.

Broadband supports only unidirectional communication. It means, nodes connected at both ends of a medium can send or receive data but can’t perform both actions simultaneously. Only one action is allowed at a time.

For example, two nodes A and B are connected through a cable that uses broadband technology to transmit signals. When node A transmits signals, node B receives the transmitted signals and when node B transmits signals, node A receives the transmitted signals.

Key differences between Baseband and Broadband Transmission

  • Baseband transmission is a data transmission technique in which one signal needs the whole bandwidth of the channel to transfer the data. In contrast, broadband transmission is a transmission technology in which many signals with different frequencies send data across a single channel at the same time.
  • Baseband transmission signals travel over shorter distances because attenuation is most noticeable at higher frequencies, which causes a signal to travel short distances without losing power. In contrast, the signals in broadband transmissions may travel across larger distances.
  • The baseband transmission utilizes digital signalling for signal transmission. In contrast, broadband transmission utilizes analog signalling for transmitting analog signals.
  • Another distinction between broadband and baseband transmission is the direction of signal transmission. Baseband transmission allows signals to be sent in both directions simultaneously. In contrast, broadband transmission allows signals to be sent in only one way.
  • Baseband transmission utilizes the bus topology. In contrast, broadband transmission utilizes both bus and tree topologies.
  • Baseband transmission utilizes time division multiplexing. In contrast, broadband transmission utilizes frequency division multiplexing.
  • Baseband transmission is simple and easy to install and maintain. In contrast, broadband transmission is complex to install and maintain.
  • Baseband transmission is less expensive to design. In contrast, broadband transmission is costly to design.

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