Difference Between Guided and Unguided Media (Full Details)

Signals are used by the computer and other communication devices to represent data. Electromagnetic signals are those that go between two communicating devices in the form of electromagnetic energy. Electric and magnetic fields combined with vibrations in relation to one another form electromagnetic signals. Different transmission media can carry electromagnetic signals. Broadly speaking, there are two types of transmission media: guided media and unguided media.

The primary distinction between guided and unguided media is that the signal in guided media moves through a physical medium, whereas the signal in unguided media moves through the air. With the aid of the comparison table below, I have addressed a few more contrasts between guided and unguided media.

Guided and Unguided Media

What is Guided Media?

The signals are transferred using guided media, which is similar to a physical medium. One machine to another is connected by a conduit made of twisted-pair, coaxial, or fiber-optic cable using guided media. It also goes by the name Bounded media.

The four different categories of guided media are as follows:

  • Open Wire
  • Twisted Pair
  • Coaxial Cable
  • Optical Fibre

What is Unguided Media?

Unguided transmission methods are ways to transmit electromagnetic waves wirelessly or, to put it another way, without the use of a physical medium. Although it doesn’t direct electromagnetic waves, it offers a method for their transfer.

Unguided Transmission Media can be classified into three categories, which are as follows:

  • Microwave Transmission
  • Radio Transmission
  • Infrared Transmission

Comparison Table (Guided vs Unguided Media)

BasicA physical path is necessary for the signal’s transmission.The signal is sent through the water or, on occasion, the air.
Another nameIt is also known as bounded transmission media or wired communication.Unbounded transmission media or wireless communication are two names for it.
DirectionIt offers an indication for travel direction.It doesn’t offer any guidance.
TypesTwisted pair cable, coaxial cable and fibre optic cable.Radio wave, microwave and infrared.

Key Difference between Guided and Unguided Media

  • The primary distinction between guided and unguided media is that guided media transmits signals through a physical channel or conductor, whereas unguided media broadcasts messages through the air.
  • The guided media is also known as bounded transmission media or wired communication media.
  • Unbounded transmission media or wireless communication are other names for the unguided media.
  • While unguided media does not direct the signal, guided media gives the signal direction.
  • Twisted pair cable, coaxial cable, and optical fiber are examples of guided media. Radio wave, microwave, and infrared signal fall under the category of unguided media.


In guided media, which uses twisted pair, coaxial, or fiber optic cable to carry data, there is a fee for maintenance. Unguided media uses wireless communication and broadcasts signals into the atmosphere.