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# CEN 531 Computer Networks

Lecture 2

## King Saud University

Layer 1: Physical Layer

Application
Transport
Network
Physical
Scope of the Physical Layer
• Concerns how signals are used to transfer message bits over a link
– Wires etc. carry analog signals
– We want to send digital bits

10110… …10110

Signal
Topics
• Signal propagation
– Bandwidth, attenuation, noise
• Transmission media
– Wires, fiber optics, wireless
• Modulation schemes
– Representing bits
Signals
• Signals encode digital bits. We want to know what happens as
signals propagate over media

Signal
10110… …10110
Frequency Representation
• Fourier analysis can be used to represent a time signal by its
frequency components

amplitude
=
Signal over time
weights of harmonic frequencies
Data Rate and Bandwidth
• Bandwidth of media: range of signal frequencies that it can pass through
– In EE: Bandwidth is the width of frequency band, measured in Hz
– In CS: Bandwidth is the capacity of the media in bits/sec
• Any given waveform may contain frequencies over a very broad range
• Practical transmission systems (transmitter + medium + receiver) can only
support a limited range of frequencies (limited bandwidth)
– This limits the data rate that can be carried on the transmission medium
Effect of Less Bandwidth
• Fewer frequencies (=less bandwidth) degrades signal

Lost!
Bandwidth

Lost!

Lost!
Signals over a Wire
• What happens to a signal as it passes over a wire?
1. The signal is delayed (propagates at ⅔c)
2. The signal is attenuated (signal power decreases)
3. Frequencies above a cutoff are highly attenuated
4. Noise is added to the signal ( causes errors)
Signals over a Wire (2)
Sent signal 2: Attenuation:

3: Bandwidth:

4: Noise:
Signals over Fiber
• Light propagates with very low loss in three very wide frequency
bands
– Use a carrier to send information

Attenuation
(dB/km)

1,5 um
=0,2 dB/km
Signals over Wireless
• Signals transmitted on a carrier frequency, like fiber (more later)
Signals over Wireless (2)
• Travel at speed of light, spread out and attenuate faster than
1/dist2

Signal
strength

A B Distance
Signals over Wireless (3)
• Multiple signals on the same frequency interfere at a receiver

Signal
strength

A C B Distance
Signals over Wireless (4)
• Interference leads to notion of spatial reuse (of same freq.)

Signal
strength

A C B Distance
Signals over Wireless (5)
• Various other effects too!
– Wireless propagation is complex, depends on environment

## • Some key effects are highly frequency dependent,

– E.g., multipath at microwave frequencies
Wireless Multipath
• Signals bounce off objects and take multiple paths
– Some frequencies attenuated at receiver, varies with location
– Messes up signal; handled with sophisticated methods
Topics
• Signal propagation
– Bandwidth, attenuation, noise
• Transmission media
– Wires, fiber optics, wireless
• Modulation schemes
– Representing bits
Types of Media
• Media propagate signals that carry bits of information
• We’ll look at some common types:
– Wires »
– Fiber (fiber optic cables) »
– Wireless »
Wires – Twisted Pair
• Very common; used in LANs and telephone lines

## Category 5 UTP cable

with four twisted pairs
Wires – Coaxial Cable
• Also common. Better shielding for better performance
Wires – Power Lines
• Household electrical wiring is another example of wires
– Convenient to use, but horrible for sending data
– HomePlug standard
Fiber
• Long, thin, pure strands of glass
– Enormous bandwidth (high speed) over long distances

Optical fiber

## Light source Light trapped by Photo-

(LED, laser) total internal reflection detector
Fiber Cables (2)
• Single-mode
– Core so narrow (10um) light can’t
even bounce around
– Used with lasers for long distances,
e.g., 100km

• Multi-mode
– Light can bounce (50um core)
– Used with LEDs for cheaper, shorter
Fibers in a cable
Wireless Transmission
• Sender radiates electromagnetic signal over a region
– In many directions, unlike a wire, to potentially many receivers
– Nearby signals (same freq.) interfere at a receiver; need to
coordinate use

• Electromagnetic Spectrum
– Range of frequencies that can be used for
communication
Electromagnetic Spectrum (1)
• Different bands have different uses:
• Microwave: LANs and 3G/4G; Networking focus

Microwave
WiFi

WiFi
Electromagnetic Spectrum (3)
• Fortunately, there are also unlicensed (“ISM”) bands:
– Free for use at low power; devices manage interference
– Widely used for networking; WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, etc.

802.11 802.11a/g/n
b/g/n
• Radio signals penetrate buildings well and propagate for
long distances with path loss

In the VLF, LF, and MF bands, radio In the HF band, radio waves bounce off
waves follow the curvature of the earth the ionosphere.
Microwave Transmission
• Microwaves have much bandwidth and are widely used indoors
(WiFi) and outdoors (3G, satellites)
– Signal is attenuated/reflected by everyday objects
– Strength varies with mobility due multipath fading, etc.
– Amount of Path loss is random, not fixed!
Wireless vs. Wires/Fiber
• Wireless:
+ Easy and inexpensive to deploy
+ Naturally supports mobility
- Transmissions interfere and must be managed
- Signal strengths hence data rates vary greatly
• Wires/Fiber:
+ Easy to engineer a fixed data rate over point-to-point links
- Can be expensive to deploy, esp. over distances
Wired/Wireless Perspective
• Wires, and Fiber
– Engineer link to have the required SNR and Bandwidth
→ Can fix data rate

• Wireless
– Given Bandwidth B, the SNR varies greatly, e.g., up to 60 dB!
→ Can’t design for worst case, must adapt data rate
Wired/Wireless Perspective
• Wires, and Fiber Engineer the SNR for data rate
– Engineer link to have the required SNR and Bandwidth
→ Can fix data rate

• Wireless
– Given Bandwidth B, the SNR varies greatly, e.g., up to 60 dB!
→ Can’t design for worst case, must adapt data rate
Adapt the data rate to SNR
Topics
• Signal propagation
– Bandwidth, attenuation, noise
• Transmission media
– Wires, fiber optics, wireless
• Modulation schemes
– Representing bits
Modulation
• We’ve talked about signals representing bits. How, exactly?
– This is the topic of modulation

Signal
10110… …10110
A Simple Modulation
• Let a high voltage (+V) represent a 1, and low voltage (-
V) represent a 0
Bits 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
+V
NRZ
-V
A Simple Modulation (2)
• Let a high voltage (+V) represent a 1, and low voltage (-
V) represent a 0
Bits 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0

+V
NRZ
-V
Many Other Schemes
• Can use more signal levels, e.g., 4 levels is 2 bits per symbol

## • Practical schemes are driven by engineering considerations

– E.g., bandwidth efficiency, clock recovery
Baseband Transmission
• Line codes send symbols that
represent one or more bits
– NRZ is the simplest, literal line
code (+1V=“1”, -1V=“0”)
and signal transitions

## Four different line codes

Passband Modulation
• What we have seen so far is baseband modulation:
– Signal is sent directly on a wire
– Bandwidth of signal starts near 0 up a value around B
• These signals do not propagate well on fiber / wireless
– Need to send at higher frequencies
• Passband modulation carries a signal by modulating a
carrier
Passband Modulation (2)
• Carrier is simply a signal oscillating at a desired
frequency:

## • We can modulate it by changing:

– Amplitude, frequency, or phase
Passband Modulation (3)
NRZ signal of bits