What is Attenuation?

In current times, communication is becoming a very important part of the world and the sad part is that as much as it is playing a great role in ensuring that people are connected regardless of how they are, not many people understand what it entails or how things come about. One of the most important terms in communication is Attenuation and this is both in hard wired and wireless communications. It is a term that commonly comes in play when signals are being transmitted over long distances. With that said, it is time you understand what Attenuation means and how it is useful to the communication industry.

What is Attenuation?

Attenuation is the act of reducing the strength of a signal which is normally done when the signal is being transmitted over a long distance regardless of whether it is in an analog or digital format. This is usually measured in decibels (dB) but it can also be measured in voltage.

What causes Attenuation?

There are a variety of reasons that can lead to the rise of attenuation in communication wires. Some of these include;

  • One of the major factors that affect and brings about attenuation is the transmission medium. When all the electrical signals are transmitted down through electrical conductors, they cause an electromagnetic field around the transmission. Because of this field, there is energy loss as you go down the cable. The extent of the loss of energy gets worse depending on the length and frequency of the cable being run.
  • Attenuation can also arise from the crosstalking in another adjacent cabling. This is more so the case if the wire being affected is made out of copper or one of the other callings that are made from metals that are conductive.
  • Passing through the different conducting mediums and surfaces of connectors can also bring about the reduction of a communication signal which is referred to as Attenuation.

What are the types of Attenuation?

There are different types of Attenuations and they are all characterized by the difference in either their occurrence or what causes them. Some of the different types of attenuations include;

  1. Deliberate attenuation; this is when volume control is used to lower the sound level on the electronics of the consumer. It is referred to as deliberate because it is actually carried out by a person.
  2. Automatic Attenuation; this is a form of attenuation that is commonly seen in TV sets and some of the audio equipment. It is meant to prevent the distortion of sound through sensors that automatically trigger the attenuation circuits when the level of sounds is too much.
  3. Environmental Attenuation; this refers to the loss of the signal’s power because of the transmission medium in use. This applies regardless of if the signal is wireless or ferried by fiber optic or copper wires.

To curb the problems and more so the poor signal that can arise as a result of attenuation, repeaters are used in the attenuating circuits to boost the strength of the signals. Alternatively, in recent times, high frequencies have been used and to curb attenuations with mediums that have flat attenuation like Fiber optics have being used across other frequencies instead of the copper circuits.