Asynchronous Communication: What Is It And How Is It Different From Synchronous?

Asynchronous communication

Communication has changed enormously with the arrival, long ago, of new technologies We no longer communicate in the same way, nor through the same means, with the people around us (or who are far from us).

In this context, asynchronous communication appears, a type of communication where information is sent without a temporal coincidence between sender and receiver, for example through email.

In this article we will learn what this type of communication consists of, what subtypes it presents, some examples of it, what elements make it up, how it differs from synchronous communication and what advantages it entails over it.

Asynchronous communication (vs. synchronous)

Asynchronous communication is a type of communication where the message between two or more people is sent deferred in time (that is, when two people communicate through this type of communication, there is no temporal coincidence).

In fact, as its name indicates, there is no synchrony in this sense (“a-synchronous”), as far as temporality is concerned. This implies that the information is not sent and received simultaneously in time, but rather with a certain delay.

On the other hand, synchronous communication is one where the exchange of information occurs in real time between the sender and the receiver of the message. This concept (along with asynchronous communication), but goes further, and is framed and specified within communication through new technologies (for example, the Internet).

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Specifically, these are concepts included within the so-called “Computer Mediated Communication” (that is, communication between people but through computers or technology).

Examples of asynchronous communication

In relation to asynchronous communication, we can find, broadly speaking, examples of two types: traditional and innovative (current). Thus, as an example of traditional asynchronous communication, we find the letter by ordinary mail (snail mail).

On the other hand, as an example of novel asynchronous communication (that is, in the field of new technologies and virtual communication), we found the email

As we see, in both cases the communication occurs in a delayed manner (that is, it is not an instantaneous communication, and the moment in which the sender sends the message and the receiver receives it is different (does not coincide)).


The elements of asynchronous communication are actually the same as any other type of communication. However, these have specific characteristics, which we will see below.

1. Issuer

The sender is the person who sends the message In the specific case of asynchronous communication, the sender issues the information being aware that the response from the receiver will not arrive instantly.

2. Receiver

The receiver in any type of communication is the person who sends the message to its recipient In this case, he knows that he will only be able to read or see the message when he accesses the specific channel through which it was sent (for example, email).

3. Channel

The next element of communication is the channel; This consists of the physical medium that both parties (sender and receiver) know and through which the message is sent or transmitted It is important for the channel to last over time, so that the information can be stored indefinitely.

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4. Code

The next element, the code, like the channel, must also last over time. The code is the language used by both the sender and the receiver, which allows communication

Thus, this must be shared by all the parties that make up any communicative act. On the other hand, it must have a physical medium in order to store the transmitted information.

5. Situation or context

Finally, The situation or context of any communicative act are all those circumstances in which communication occurs (for example: time, place, culture…).

In the case of asynchronous communication, the availability of both sender and receiver is uncertain; This availability is of great importance, because it marks the context of the communicative act.


What types of asynchronous communication exist (in the context of virtual communication or internet communication)? According to Roberto de Miguel Pascual, author of “Fundamentals of Human Communication”, we find two types of asynchronous communication.

1. Asynchronous user-to-user communication

In this case, the information or message is sent from a specific sender to a specific receiver (individually; that is, “from you to you”). An example of this is found in text SMS (although they are no longer practically used).

2. Asynchronous communication between multiple users

In this second type, the message is addressed to a group of people. An example would be a discussion forum on a certain web page.


What advantages does asynchronous communication present? We can list these, especially comparing them with synchronous communication.

1. Simplicity

The first advantage we find in asynchronous communication is its simplicity; This means that synchronization between the two parts of the communication (sender and receiver) is not necessary for the message to be transmitted.

2. Economy

In the field of the Internet, if we compare synchronous communication with asynchronous communication, the latter has a lower cost, since the hardware it needs to function is less.

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3. Software speed

Finally, the software configuration that allows asynchronous communication is much faster than that necessary for other types of communications or transmissions.

Differences between asynchronous and synchronous communication

We have seen, at the beginning of the article, what synchronous communication consisted of. But, What is the difference from asynchronous communication?

1. Simultaneity

First of all, in an asynchronous communicative act, a response is not necessary (and even less immediate); On the other hand, in the case of synchronous communication, it is necessary that the elements of the communicative act work simultaneously, and in real time.

That is, in this second case, the receiver usually expects a response (let’s imagine talking to someone face to face and they don’t respond… it would be strange, right?, or even in a chat).

Thus, the first difference that we find between these two types of communication is the factor of simultaneity.

2. Temporal coincidence

In asynchronous communication, there is no temporal coincidence between sender and receiver. On the other hand, in synchronous communication, temporal coincidence must exist for communication to occur (the message to be transmitted).

Thus, in the latter case, sender and receiver must coincide in time (for example in an instant chat).

3. Transfer speed

Transfer speed is another difference between asynchronous and synchronous communication. Thus, this is slower in the case of asynchronous communication.

4. Simplicity

On the other hand, asynchronous communication is simpler, and also cheaper, than synchronous communication.

5. Efficiency and overload

Alluding to the new technologies present (and required, in the context we are in) in both types of communication, we can say that asynchronous communication is less efficient than synchronous communication, and that it also has a greater overhead.