The Effects of Noise on a Communication System

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Communication is the process of sharing ideas, information and messages with others in a particular time and place. It includes writing and talking, as well as nonverbal communication (such as facial expressions, body language, or gestures), visual communication (the use of images or pictures, such as paintings, photography, video, or film), and electronic communication (telephone calls, electronic mail, digital television, or satellite broadcasts). Communication is a vital part of personal life and is also important in business, education, and any other situation where people encounter each other.

Noise, in physics, is an acoustic, electrical, or electronic signal consisting of a random mixture of wavelengths. It is also a subjective term, referring to any unwanted sound. Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopaedia 2002

Throughout this essay I will illustrate the early model which Shannon and Weaver created during the middle of the Twentieth Century and investigate some of the advantages and disadvantages of this model. The essay will then move on to view how noise plays a critical aspect within this model and how this affects the model.

When you communicate using the aid of technology, for example, with a telephone, a process occurs. The phone turns the sound waves into electrical impulses and those electrical impulses are turned back into sound waves by the phone at the other end of the line. This has been demonstrated by two engineer scientists named Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver. In 1949 they produced a general model of communication, known simply as the Shannon – Weaver Model. The two scientists were principally intrigued by communication technology and produced a simplified model, which is now used world wide to help describe and understand the communication process.

“This (The Shannon-Weaver Model) is widely accepted as one of the main seeds out of which Communication Studies has grown” John Fiske. Introduction to Communication Studies

Their initial aim whilst developing the model was to separate noise from information carrying signals, with a goal to ensure the maximum efficiency of telephone cables and radio waves. They developed a model of communication which was intended to assist in developing a mathematical theory of communication. Shannon and Weaver's work proved valuable for communication engineers in dealing with such issues in the capacity of various communication channels in 'bits per second'. Although, it will be shown that Shannon and Weaver's model has a much wider application to human communication than purely a technical one. Shannon and Weaver's transmission model is one of the most commonly know example of an understandable and informative description of communication. Although somewhat slightly outdated, it’s 1940’s concepts are still used as examples today. It is a very influential model of communication reflects a commonsense understanding of what communication is. Particular models are useful for some purposes and less useful for others. Used for tools of understanding and research purposes, this can aid students with a thirst of intelligence to broaden knowledge in a specified area. Like any process of study, a model helps develop some features and backgrounds a bolder understanding of others. It was written by Daniel Chandler in a thesis called The Transmission Model of Communication, that the strengths of Shannon and Weaver's model are its ‘simplicity, generality, and quantifiability.’ By these three descriptive words, Chandler is emphasising how easy it is to understand clearly the model and the few simple component parts of it. The advantage of such a clearly understood model has made it appealing to all manner of person, from scientists developing future technologies, to academics studying and learning. The model itself is of linear format and consists of six elements. It demanded that all forms of communication must possess these parts:

1. A source. This produces...
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