The 3 Types of Network Media

There are 3 types of network media used primarily on computer networks...

Just as vehicles need roadways on which to travel, data needs a pathway to use to move from system to system on a computer network.

In the early days of networking the choices available were limited. In modern day networks however, your choice of data pathways has a varied spectrum of things you can use.

But network media for connecting and creating computer networks falls into 3 basic types.

1. Electrical Over Copper Cables

So what are those types, you ask? Well the first and the earliest type of network media or medium used was electrical signal sent over copper cables.

Copper Cabling can be found in coaxial cabling (which was by the way the first and used to be the ONLY type of network media used in early networks) and you can find it in twisted pair cabling which you find on a majority of physically wired networks in the present day.

Twisted pair cables usually have the RJ45 connectors on the end and they've become somewhat standardized on computer networks across the world.

Now all of those are types of physical cables that are made up of copper wires allowing the electrical signals representing data on a network to be transmitted and received from device to device.

2. Fiber-Optic Cabling

The 2nd and less commonly used media or medium used on computer networks is Fiber-Optic cabling.

Fiber-Optic Cable is where electrical signals or data are translated into light pulses and they're sent down a reflective glass cable or a glass medium type of cable.

The light signals of those pulses are then translated BACK into electrical signals or data again on the OTHER end with the device that's receiving that information. Now Fiber-optic cable contains those light pulses and allows them to travel over much longer distances than electrical signals can travel over copper cabling.

You will often find fiber-optic cabling used on winds wide area networks or long-range telecommunication networks fiber optic cable contains that light all throughout the cable by having a reflector wrapped around that glass cable so it contains those light pulses and allows them to be transmitted and travel over much longer distances than electrical signals can over copper cabling.

You'll often find fiber-optic cabling used in Wide Area Networks or WANs or on long-range telecommunication networks.

3. Radio Signals (Wireless)

The 3rd type of media or medium used is radio signals through the air in what we've all come to call "Wireless"

Now this is where devices connect to and communicate with each other by sending data back and forth over radio waves. Wireless networks can be found in 2 different types or 2 different forms.

In modern-day networks you can find wireless using radio waves with wireless Access Points being used (or APs for short) and you can find it being used in Bluetooth technology which has its own bandwidth signals.

And it's used typically to connect devices that are closer to each other.

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