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What is the difference between BiDi and full-duplex?
Knowledge Base + 2024.01.11

BiDi (Bidirectional) and full-duplex are terms that refer to different communication modes in networking:

  1. BiDi (Bidirectional): 

    • Definition: Bidirectional communication allows data to be transmitted in both directions over a single communication channel.

    • Application: In the context of optical fiber transceivers, such as BiDi SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) or BiDi optics, it typically refers to using a single fiber strand for both transmitting and receiving data. This is achieved through wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), where different wavelengths are used for upstream and downstream communication on the same fiber.

  2. Full-duplex:

    • Definition: Full-duplex communication allows simultaneous two-way communication. In a full-duplex system, data can be transmitted and received at the same time.

    • Application: In networking, full-duplex communication is commonly used in Ethernet and other data communication protocols. Both devices on the communication link can send and receive data simultaneously, which enhances the overall efficiency and throughput of the communication.


  • BiDi is a Physical Layer Concept: BiDi refers to the use of a single communication channel for both transmitting and receiving, often applied in the context of optical fiber communication.

  • Full-Duplex is a Data Link Layer Concept: Full-duplex refers to the ability of a communication system to transmit and receive data simultaneously, providing a more efficient use of the communication medium.

In summary, BiDi is related to the physical layer of communication, specifically the use of a single channel for bidirectional data transmission. Full-duplex, on the other hand, is a concept related to the data link layer, allowing simultaneous two-way communication. It's possible to have full-duplex communication with or without using BiDi optics, depending on the specific implementation and technology being used.