Full-Duplex vs. Half-Duplex; Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Bandwidth; Latency; Crosstalk and More

Full Duplex vs. Half Duplex

When evaluating Power over Ethernet switches, it’s important to understand full-duplex and half-duplex. When a switch is connected to an IP device, information is transferred in both directions. The switch sends information to the endpoint device and vice versa. Full duplex (FDX) switches allow for the simultaneous transmission of information between the switch and the endpoint. In a half-duplex (HDX) system, communication flows in one direction at a time.

For example, let’s say two files need to be exchanged. One file is at the head end (switch end), and the other is at the endpoint. The two files are 150Mb in size, and the switch can deliver 100Mbps, full-duplex. In this scenario, it would take 1.5 seconds to transfer BOTH files to their destinations.

Let’s now analyze this scenario from a half-duplex perspective. In this situation, the first file must be transferred before the other can be sent. Assuming the same file size and the same delivery of 100Mbps, the time required to transfer the two files is approximately doubled. Both files are transferred at the same speed, but not simultaneously, creating a very different overall experience.

The above example is a bit of an oversimplification of a real-world example. Full duplex and half-duplex networks will vary in performance. Collision management, the directionality of traffic, the number of endpoints in a network, and cable length/type will also have an impact. It is not uncommon to see performance of less than half of a full-duplex network.

A half-duplex system can be compared to the “push-to-talk” nature of a walkie talkie. When the button is pressed, the receiver is turned off, and the transmitter is activated. When the button is released, the transmitter is then turned off, and the receiver is turned back on. The device cannot transmit and receive simultaneously. A full-duplex system is like talking on the telephone, in which both parties can speak and listen at the same time.

The entire NVT Phybridge CHARIoT Series of switches and extenders are full-duplex devices. Data is transferred simultaneously from the switch to the endpoint, and vice versa, to ensure optimal network performance and speed.

Symmetrical vs. Asymmetrical Bandwidth

Like full-duplex and half-duplex, symmetrical and asymmetrical bandwidth will play a significant role in the network’s overall performance and reliability. A switch that can deliver 100Mbps symmetrical, full-duplex, can both transmit and receive at a rate of 100Mbps. A switch with asymmetrical bandwidth, even if it is full-duplex, cannot send AND receive at 100Mbps. Asymmetrical switches will use an uneven split where they can transmit at 70Mbps and receive at 30Mbps, for example.

Using the same example of moving two 150Mb files, a 100Mbps symmetrical, full-duplex switch will deliver both files in 1.5 seconds. A 100Mbps asymmetrical switch with a 70/30 split using half-duplex will take 7.14 seconds to deliver both files. Even though both devices can be marketed as a 100Mbps switch, real-world performance is significantly different.

The NVT Phybridge CHARIoT series of switches and extenders all have symmetrical bandwidth capabilities, ensuring fast and consistent delivery of data through the network.


In addition to transmission speed, latency also plays a significant role in network performance and quality of service. Latency is the time it takes a piece of information (a packet) to reach its destination. Latency may not be as crucial for certain endpoints, such as data terminals. However, for real-time applications like voice calls or live video monitoring, low latency is critical to ensure good user experience.

To illustrate latency, we tested our long reach Ethernet over Coax switch against a competing product. Both switches were tested at 100Mbps, symmetrical, full-duplex over 2,000ft of RG6 cable.

Latency was tested using the Siama GENEM-X 10G Ethernet/IP Test Application at various frame sizes ranging from 64 bytes to 1518 bytes. The average delay, or latency, of the NVT Phybridge CLEER24 switch was 64 microseconds. The average delay of the competing product was 4,685 microseconds: 73-times more latency that the CLEER24 switch. See the full performance comparison between these two products.

Even at 2,000ft, CHARIoT PoE switches have extremely low latency, on par with standard reach Ethernet solutions from market leaders like Cisco. Many long reach PoE solutions on the market have higher latency levels, which are not suited to support real-time applications.


Finally, there is the issue of noise, also known as crosstalk. Crosstalk occurs when a signal transmission results in undesired electromagnetic waves that interfere with surrounding equipment or wiring.

Noise production makes a big impact on large deployments where there is a lot of equipment and cabling in one physical space. This issue can be overlooked when testing equipment with just a few devices. However, as the deployment size increases, so does the noise produced, and therefore the interference with other devices. As a result, devices will slow and experience packet loss.

NVT Phybridge CHARIoT products are FCC Class B certified and produce very minimal noise interference. This makes our equipment safe, even around extremely sensitive devices like pacemakers. Our enterprise-grade PoE technology is used onboard many luxury cruise ships to enable thousands of endpoints inside the noisy metal walls of a ship’s networking closets – without issues. This makes our solutions very scalable, especially for large scale deployments with many endpoints.

There are several Power over Ethernet switches on the market, and they are far from equal. Clever marketing tactics can sometimes hide the real story behind the expected performance of a network switch. It’s important to understand what the numbers mean and how that translates into a better experience.

Are you interested in diving deeper into the performance of CHARIoT series of long reach Power over Ethernet solutions? Visit our performance comparison page to see how we compare to industry-leading Cisco switches, and how we crush the competition!

NVT Phybridge CHARIoT Switches

The CHARIoT Series of Power over Ethernet switches and extenders deliver symmetrical, full-duplex, and PoE over any new or existing network infrastructure. We provide industry-leading solutions to make digital transformation projects as simple and rewarding as possible for our customers and partners. Leave the technology to us. All you need to think about is, what devices and applications will you enable?

If you have an upcoming IP/IoT modernization project, we would love to help! Click below to book a one-on-one meeting with one of our Digital Transformation Consultants.

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