What is Half Duplex?

When choosing or communicating with a conferencing device, it's important to know how audio is captured and sent to its destination. There are three main types of communication channels in the telecommunications world: half duplex, full duplex, and simplex. Each type conveys audio information in a specific way. In this guide, we've explained half duplex data transmission and what it could mean having half duplex communication in your conference room.

What is a Half Duplex?

At a basic level, half duplex devices only allow one party to send audio at any given time. For example, if someone in your conference room is speaking into the microphone, their voice will be captured and sent to every other participant in the conference. Essentially, they "have the ball" until they stop speaking and someone else starts talking. When someone has the ball, nobody else can interrupt them on another channel. This allows each person to finish their thoughts and always be heard in a crowded conference call.

How Does Half Duplex Work?

Think of a half duplex device like a walkie-talkie. When one person pushes down the talk button on their walkie-talkie, they have control over the audio signal until they release the button. This is more affordable than a double-track device (i.e. full duplex), and you won't experience any feedback/echo issues because only one party can speak at a time. Half duplex data transmission is a one-way affair, so these devices don't require echo cancellation technologies to deal with noise buildup.

Is Half Duplex Right for My Conference Room?

For many users, a half duplex conversation will feel awkward and slow, since only one party can talk at a time. Half duplex systems tend to be less expensive, but they also have less versatility.

For a more natural conference experience, we recommend using full duplex systems, like the FLX UC 500, that allow for two way transmission. If you’re concerned about poor acoustics and think a half duplex cable design may improve your audio quality, be sure to research more about the acoustic echo cancellation and built in DSP functions that conferencing solutions can include. With a quality conference phone, you can enjoy crystal-clear communication in both directions.

Learn more about Full Duplex here.

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