What is Full-Duplex Communication?

This post briefly defines Full-Duplex Communication. It also highlights differences between Full-Duplex and Half-Duplex Communication.

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What is Full-Duplex Communication?

We define Full-Duplex Communication as communication occurring in both directions simultaneously.

Some Communications Literature will use the abbreviation FDX to denote Full-Duplex Communication.

A couple of examples of Full-Duplex Communications would be Cellular Phones and much of modern internet-based communication services (e.g., Video Communication via Skype, Face-Time, etc.).

Two women demonstrating Full-Duplex communications via cell phones.
Isolated portrait of two teenage girls with cell phones

We have the bandwidth (or a communications channel) available in these technologies in both directions.

Unlike Half-Duplex Communication, there is no means (or need) to control access to a single communications channel.

Each direction has its own communications channel and can communicate freely, at will, or whenever data is available.

An Analogy for Full-Duplex Communications

We can think of Full-Duplex Communications as being just like a two-way street on the roadways.

A Freeway is a good analogy to Full-Duplex Communications

Most modern forms of communication we use today (e.g., cell phones or tablets engaging in video conferencing, or just communicating with websites – for gaming, social media, etc.) all use Full-Duplex Communications.

In the old days, Ethernet started using Half-Duplex communications (for 10BASE-T, etc.)  However, once Ethernet moved on to faster speeds and began to use switching technology, it started supporting Full-Duplex communications.

Other forms of Communication types include:

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Author: Darrell Smith

Darrell Smith has more than 30 years of experience as an Electrical Engineer. He has about 20 years of experience as an Applications Engineer and the remainder of his time was spent in Hardware Design and Product Marketing. He will now be sharing his wealth of knowledge on this blog.

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