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difference between waveguide vs coaxial line vs microstrip line

This page on waveguide vs coaxial line vs microstrip line describes difference between waveguide, coaxial line and microstrip line.


It is basically a hollow metal pipe either in rectangular form or circular form. Based on dimensions of the waveguide structure; it will allow RF frequencies in certain range and block RF frequencies of certain range. Refer waveguide basics tutorial for more.

Coaxial line

The transmission lines most popularly used in cable TV transmissions from cable service providers to the user premises is coaxial lines. It will have one centre conductor and one outer conductor. Both are separated by dielectric. Refer types and basics of coaxial line for more.

Microstrip line

It is open transmission line which will have three layers viz. top layer where patterns are etched for RF circuit, bottom layer used as ground and middle layer used as dielectric. Refer types and basics of microstrip line for more.

Following table summarizes the main difference between these three types of transmission lines used for transmission of electro-magnetic waves. One can also refer waveguide vs coaxial line for more detailed comparison between waveguide and coaxial line.

Feature/characteristic Waveguide of rectangular type Coaxial line Microstrip line
Mode TE10 TEM Quasi-TEM
Bandwidth Medium Broad Broad
Dispersion Medium None Low
Losses Low Medium High
Power capability High Medium Low
Size Large Medium Small
Ease of fabrication Medium Medium Easy
Integration Difficult Difficult Easy

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