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Duplex (telecommunications)

A duplex communication system is a point-to-point system composed of two connected parties or devices that
can communicate with one another in both directions.
Duplex comes from "duo" that means double, and
"plex" that means structure or parts of"; thus, a duplex system has two clearly dened data transmissions,
with each path carrying information in only one direction: A to B over one path, and B to A over the other.
There are two types of duplex communication systems:
full-Duplex and half-Duplex.
In a full duplex system, both parties can communicate
with each other simultaneously. An example of a fullduplex device is a telephone; the parties at both ends of a
A simple illustration of a half-duplex communication system
call can speak and be heard by the other party simultaneously. The earphone reproduces the speech of the remote
party as the microphone transmits the speech of the local
party, because there is a two-way communication channel
multaneously). Typically, once a party begins receiving
between them, or more strictly speaking, because there
a signal, it must wait for the transmitter to stop transmitare two communication paths/channels between them.
ting, before replying.
In a half-duplex system, there are still two clearly dened
An example of a half-duplex system is a two-party system
paths/channels, and each party can communicate with the
such as a walkie-talkie, wherein one must use over or
other but not simultaneously; the communication is one
another previously designated keyword to indicate the end
direction at a time. An example of a half-duplex device
of transmission, and ensure that only one party transmits
is a walkie-talkie two-way radio that has a "push-to-talk"
at a time, because both parties transmit and receive on
button; when the local user wants to speak to the remote
the same frequency. A good analogy for a half-duplex
person they push this button, which turns on the transsystem would be a one-lane road with trac controllers at
mitter but turns o the receiver, so they cannot hear the
each end, such as a two-lane bridge under re-construction.
remote person. To listen to the other person they release
Trac can ow in both directions, but only one direction
the button, which turns on the receiver but turns o the
at a time, regulated by the trac controllers.
Half-duplex systems are usually used to conserve
Duplex systems are employed in many communications
bandwidth, since only a single communication channel
networks, either to allow for a communication two-way
is needed, which is shared alternately between the two
street between two connected parties or to provide a redirections. For example, a walkie-talkie requires only a
verse path for the monitoring and remote adjustment of
single frequency for bidirectional communication, while
equipment in the eld.
a cell phone, which is a full-duplex device, requires two
Systems that do not need the duplex capability may in- frequencies to carry the two simultaneous voice channels,
stead use simplex communication, in which one device one in each direction.
transmits and the others can only listen. Examples are
In automatically run communications systems, such as
broadcast radio and television, garage door openers, baby
two-way data-links, the time allocations for communicamonitors, wireless microphones, and surveillance camtions in a half-duplex system can be rmly controlled by
eras. In these devices the communication is only in one
the hardware. Thus, there is no waste of the channel for
switching. For example, station A on one end of the data
link could be allowed to transmit for exactly one second,
then station B on the other end could be allowed to transmit for exactly one second, and then the cycle repeats.
1 Half-duplex
In half-duplex systems, if more than one party transmits
A half-duplex (HDX) system provides communication in at the same time, a collision occurs, resulting in lost mesboth directions, but only one direction at a time (not si- sages.



3 Full-duplex emulation
Where channel access methods are used in point-tomultipoint networks (such as cellular networks) for dividing forward and reverse communication channels on the
same physical communications medium, they are known
as duplexing methods, such as time-division duplexing and
frequency-division duplexing.

A simple illustration of a full-duplex communication system.

Full-duplex is not common in handheld radios as shown here due
to the cost and complexity of common duplexing methods, but is
used in telephones, cellphones and cordless phones.

3.1 Time-division duplexing

Time-division duplexing (TDD) is the application of timedivision multiplexing to separate outward and return sigA full-duplex (FDX) system, or sometimes called doublenals. It emulates full duplex communication over a half
duplex, allows communication in both directions, and,
duplex communication link.
unlike half-duplex, allows this to happen simultaneously.
Land-line telephone networks are full-duplex, since they Time-division duplexing has a strong advantage in the
allow both callers to speak and be heard at the same case where there is asymmetry of the uplink and downlink
time, with the transition from four to two wires being data rates. As the amount of uplink data increases, more
achieved by a hybrid coil in a telephone hybrid. Modern communication capacity can be dynamically allocated,
and as the trac load becomes lighter, capacity can be
cell phones are also full-duplex.[1]
taken away. The same applies in the downlink direction.
A good analogy for a full-duplex system is a two-lane road
with one lane for each direction. Moreover, in most full- For radio systems that aren't moving quickly, another adduplex mode systems carrying computer data, transmit- vantage is that the uplink and downlink radio paths are
ted data does not appear to be sent until it has been re- likely to be very similar. This means that techniques such
ceived and an acknowledgment is sent back by the other as beamforming work well with TDD systems.
party; that way, such systems implement reliable trans- Examples of time-division duplexing systems are:
mission methods.
Two-way radios can be designed as full-duplex systems,
transmitting on one frequency and receiving on another;
this is also called frequency-division duplex. Frequencydivision duplex systems can extend their range by using
sets of simple repeater stations because the communications transmitted on any single frequency always travel in
the same direction.
Full-duplex Ethernet connections work by making simultaneous use of two physical twisted pairs inside the same
jacket, which are directly connected to each networked
device: one pair is for receiving packets, while the other
pair is for sending packets. This eectively makes the
cable itself a collision-free environment and doubles the
maximum total transmission capacity supported by each
Ethernet connection.
Full-duplex has also several benets over the use of halfduplex. First, there are no collisions so time is not wasted
by having to retransmit frames. Second, full transmission
capacity is available in both directions because the send
and receive functions are separate. Third, since there is
only one transmitter on each twisted pair, stations (nodes)
do not need to wait for others to complete their transmissions.
Some computer-based systems of the 1960s and 1970s
required full-duplex facilities, even for half-duplex operation, since their poll-and-response schemes could not tolerate the slight delays in reversing the direction of transmission in a half-duplex line.

UMTS 3G supplementary air interfaces TD-CDMA

for indoor mobile telecommunications.
The Chinese TD-LTE 4-G, TD-SCDMA 3-G mobile communications air interface.
DECT wireless telephony
Half-duplex packet switched networks based on
carrier sense multiple access, for example 2-wire or
hubbed Ethernet, Wireless local area networks and
Bluetooth, can be considered as time-division duplexing systems, albeit not TDMA with xed framelengths.
IEEE 802.16 WiMAX
ISDN BRI U interface, variants using the timecompression multiplex (TCM) line system
G.fast, a digital subscriber line (DSL) standard under development by the ITU-T

3.2 Frequency-division duplexing

Frequency-division duplexing (FDD) means that the
transmitter and receiver operate at dierent carrier frequencies. The term is frequently used in ham radio operation, where an operator is attempting to contact a repeater

station. The station must be able to send and receive a
transmission at the same time, and does so by slightly altering the frequency at which it sends and receives. This
mode of operation is referred to as duplex mode or oset

Echo cancelers are available as both software and hardware implementations. They can be independent components in a communications system or integrated into the
communication systems central processing unit. Devices
that do not eliminate echo sometimes will not produce
Uplink and downlink sub-bands are said to be separated good full-duplex performance.
by the frequency oset. Frequency-division duplexing
can be ecient in the case of symmetric trac. In this
case time-division duplexing tends to waste bandwidth 4 See also
during the switch-over from transmitting to receiving, has
greater inherent latency, and may require more complex
Duplex mismatch
Four-wire circuit
Another advantage of frequency-division duplexing is
that it makes radio planning easier and more ecient,
since base stations do not hear each other (as they trans Duplexer
mit and receive in dierent sub-bands) and therefore will
normally not interfere with each other. On the converse,
Communications channel
with time-division duplexing systems, care must be taken
Crossband operation
to keep guard times between neighboring base stations
(which decreases spectral eciency) or to synchronize
Push to talk
base stations, so that they will transmit and receive at
the same time (which increases network complexity and
Simplex communication
therefore cost, and reduces bandwidth allocation exibil Radio resource management
ity as all base stations and sectors will be forced to use
the same uplink/downlink ratio)
Examples of frequency-division duplexing systems are:

5 References


[1] Cell phone Frequencies. HowStuWorks.

UMTS/WCDMA use frequency-division duplexing
mode and the cdma2000 system.

[2] Greenstein, Shane; Stango, Victor (2006). Standards and

Public Policy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 129132.
ISBN 978-1-139-46075-0.

IEEE 802.16 WiMax also uses frequency-division

duplexing mode.


Echo cancellation

Main article: Echo cancellation

See also: Modem Using digital lines and PCM
Full-duplex audio systems like telephones can create
echo, which needs to be removed. Echo occurs when the
sound coming out of the speaker, originating from the
far end, re-enters the microphone and is sent back to the
far end. The sound then reappears at the original source
end, but delayed. This feedback path may be acoustic,
through the air, or it may be mechanically coupled, for
example in a telephone handset. Echo cancellation is a
signal-processing operation that subtracts the far-end signal from the microphone signal before it is sent back over
the network.
Echo cancellation is important to the V.32, V.34, V.56,
and V.90 modem standards.[2]

6 Further reading
Tanenbaum, Andrew S. (2003). Computer Networks. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-038488-7.


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