Modes of Data Transmission: Comparison & Examples.

Modes of Data Transmission: Comparison & Examples.

There are three modes (or ways) of data transmission. They are:

Modes of data transmission
figure: Modes of data transmission
  • Simplex
  • Half-duplex and
  • Full-duplex

Simplex Mode

In the simplex mode, communication can take place in only one direction as shown in figure.

simplex mode data transmission
Figure: Simplex mode data transmission

A device using the simplex mode of transmission can either send or receive data, but cannot do both.


  • Television Transmission
  • Keyboard of a computer because the keyboard can only send data to the computer
  • Line printer (receive only)

    Half-Duplex Mode

    in half-duplex mode, communication can take place in both directions, but only in one direction at a time as shown in figure. Thus, a half-duplex line can alternately send and receive data. It requires two wires.

    half-duplex mode
    Figure: Half-duplex mode


    • Voice communication (Telephonic Talk) because the only person is supposed to speak at a time.
    • Transmission of data to and from a hard disk.
    • Half-duplex is also used to connect a terminal with a computer. The terminal transmits data and the computer responds with an acknowledgment.
    • A citizens band radio where the user must either talk or listen, but cannot do both at the same time.

    Full-duplex Mode

    In full-duplex mode, communication can take place in both directions simultaneously as shown in the figure.

    Figure: Full-duplex Mode

    Full-duplex line improves efficiency as the line turn-around time required in a half-duplex arrangement is saved. It requires four wires.


    • Data transmission.
    • A telephone system using full-duplex mode allows the user to talk and listen at the same time.

    A comparison Between simplex, Half-duplex, and Full-duplex Mode of Data Transmission

    Particulars Simplex mode Half-duplex Mode Full-duplex Mode
    Direction of transmission Communication in one-direction only Both directions but one direction at a time simultaneously Communication in both directions
    Confirmation of the communication No confirmation Delayed confirmation confirmation Immediate
    Number of wires required One Two Four
    Cost of transmission Low Average High
    Efficiency Low Medium High
    Example T.V. transmission Voice communication Data Transmission


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