Transmission Impairments In Computer Networks

Welcome to this article discussing “Transmission Impairments In Computer Networks”. In this article, we will delve into Transmission Impairment, its causes, and examples with the help of diagrams.

Let’s first understand the concept of transmission media. It functions primarily as a channel of communication between a sender & a receiver to transmit information. The information is transmitted through electromagnetic signals.

The primary purpose of transmission media is to carry data in the form of bits through Local Area Networks (LANs). It is like a physical path that connects the transmitter and receiver for data communication.

  1. Transmission impairment happens when the signal received is not the same as the signal transmitted.
  2. Signals can be transmitted as analog or digital.
  3.  With analog signals, the received signal can have a different size or shape due to impairment. With digital signals, the received signal may have changes in the 0’s or 1’s (Means Binary Form Only).

Causes Transmission Impairments in Computer Networks

Let’s take a look at what causes transmission impairments in computer networks. There are three primary culprits:

  1. Noise
  2. Distortion
  3. Attenuation
Transmission Impairments In Computer Network


Noise can remarkably impact the quality of a transmitted signal, leading to distortion during transmission.


n + S = S’

Noise (n) + Transmitted signal (S) = Distorted signal (S’)

It occurs when unwanted signals are added to the transmitted signal, which makes it challenging to remove the noise at the receiver end.

Types of Noise in Communication Systems:

Thermal Noise

This type of noise is caused by the random motion of electrons in a wire, creating additional signals.

Induced Noise

Induced noise is caused by external factors such as motors or other electrical devices.


Crosstalk is caused when a wire is affected by the signal from another wire in close proximity.

The diagrammatic representation of noise can be seen as a signal with added unwanted noise.


Transmission Impairments In Computer Network


Distortion can be a common issue in composite signals, which consist of multiple frequency components that must be transmitted with precise time constraints in order to form a complete signal.

The signal may arrive at the receiver with a different delay constraint than the original if there is a delay between these frequency components during transmission, changing the form of the signal.

The distance between the transmitter & receiver or other environmental conditions may be to blame for this delay.

Transmitter ———–> Receiver

/ /

/ /

Distortion / / Delay

/ /

/ /

Receiver———–> Transmitter


The diagram that follows shows the concept of distortion.




Attenuation is when the signal loses strength & becomes weaker, making it harder to receive at the other end. This is usually caused by the environment, which puts up a lot of resistance that the signal has to control. The signal’s intensity consequently decreases as it moves through the medium.


Imagine you are driving to your workplace & tuning in to your favorite FM radio or TV show. The broadcast tower sends out a signal, but as you move farther away, the signal loses strength. The signal faces many barriers along the way, like buildings, trees, & electronic devices, which resist its path.

This weakening of the signal is called attenuation, and it can make it harder for you to hear the radio or TV station clearly.  To fix this issue, you can try adjusting your radio’s antenna or installing a signal booster to amplify & improve the signal quality.

The diagram below shows the loss of power in a signal during transmission. Attenuation is represented in the diagram or Figure as follows:


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