What Does Duplex Mean?

Duplex is a bidirectional communication system that allows both end nodes to send and receive communication data or signals, simultaneously and one at a time. Both nodes have the ability to operate as sender and receiver at the same time, or take turns sending or receiving data.


Techopedia Explains Duplex

Duplex generally refers to telecommunication-based systems used for transferring voice or audio signals. These systems were conceived in the 1960s in telecom systems and now are used in various other communication systems, such as cellular communication, computer networks and related technologies. Duplex-based systems generally have dual communication channels that provide separate medium/paths for incoming and outgoing data.

There are two types of duplex, as follows:

  • Full duplex: Sends and receives simultaneously
  • Half Duplex: Can send or receive, one path at a time

Duplex is typically known as full duplex. However, the technology encompasses half and full duplex communication.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.