Revise GCSE Physics


Question:How can wave properties like refraction and diffraction affect communications?

Refraction and diffraction of radiation can affect communications:

Refraction occurs at the interfaces of different layers of Earth&aposs atmosphere.

Diffraction by transmission dishes results in signal loss.

Also see this table:

Radio Microwaves
Advantages
  • Radio waves can be reflected and refracted by the ionosphere.
  • This can allow a signal to be received that would otherwise be blocked by buildings and hills.
  • Diffraction allows signals to be picked up in what would be a shadow region.
  • Microwaves don&apost reflect and refract like radio waves so there is no signal loss.
  • They can travel long distances using satellites
Disadvantages
  • The reflection and refraction can cause the signal to lose energy and become weak.
  • Too many reflections can cause interference with other stations transmitting on similar frequencies.
  • Diffraction of radio waves from a transmission dish can also lead to a drop in quality
  • Microwaves require a &aposline of sight&apos between transmitter and receiver.
  • Microwaves can&apost diffract around large objects which can lead to signal loss.
  • Microwaves can suffer from interference between signals.