Understanding Network Cables and their Major Types

Wires persist. Despite being overruled by the popular wireless technology. Do you know why? Because, hardware-wise, they arerelatively better at transferring data signals in a stable, smooth and speedy way. Whereas, wireless networks are often subject to weather interferences and other vulnerabilities. That is why most of the homes in the US still have cable-based connections, even though the trend of cord cutting seems to be on the rise.

In order to understand how the corded technology really works, you need to know what sort of cables are available in the market for creating a network infrastructure at your home or at the office. You can check out the most popular network cable types below.

Coaxial – The Best Durability

This is a type of cable, which has a copper-based core, protected by various layers of insulated sheathing. An external braided wire shields the inner conduction against any sort of electrical or radio interference. That is why this wire is the best bet for carrying multiple streams of data simultaneously between the sender and the receiver. Physically, it is better than the twisted-pair type as well, because it allows a more generous cable length amidst the connected devices. 

Also called‘coax’, this cable is mostly used by the cable TV companies to transmit signals – television and the internet, largely – from their main line to the consumers’ houses. Its average transfer data rate is around 100Mbps. Although some providers like Spectrum may offer higher speeds in its cable bundles for your enhanced enjoyment.

Coaxial cable has multiple variations with the thickest being the 10BASE5 (extending to 500m) and the thinnest one being 10BASE2 (extending to 200m). It is worth investing in if you are looking for a greater longevity and signal stability. 

Twisted Pair – The Best Price
What an interesting name for a cable, right? Well, this type emerged during the early 1990s as the standard for the Ethernet conduction. Mostly used in the older telephone networks, this cable was/is considered as the least expensive of all the network cables. 

It is named so because two separate insulated wires are wound up together in a twisted pattern to eliminate the electromagnetic interference. At first, it started with the 10 Mbps mark (10BASE-T), but later climbed up to 100 Mbps (100BASE-TX), and can now transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T). It’s available in the form of two types, the shielded (STP) and the unshielded (UTP). 

•    Shielded Twisted Pair—This kind of twisted pair cable is ideal for environments which have a lot of electrical frequency interference. Why? Because it’s shielded on the outside as well as on the inside with an extra layer of foil sheathing. It protects data transmission in sensitive atmospheres.

•    Unshielded Twisted Pair—This is the cheapest twisted-pair wire you can find, which is flexible enough to feature both as a simple voice-only telephone wire and a gigabit Ethernet one, depending on the tightness of the twists. UTPs standard connector is RJ-45.

Fiber Optic – The Best Speed

This type is an actual game-changer when it comes to network cables. Why? Because of its whole chemistry. Yes, instead of using an insulated metal base to transfer data in the form of electrical signals, this technology employs optical fiberglass as the medium for transmitting data via pulses of light. How progressive is that! 

This cable is often designated for a high-performance data networking, where large volumes of telecommunication tasks are carried out. Its average data transfer speed is 1 Gigabit per second—the fastest speeds broadband can offer as of now! The downside, however, is that fiber optic cables are more expensive than the rest combined. It has two types as well, the single mode and the multimode.

Wrapping Up

So, after learning the ins and outs of the aforementioned cable types, you can easily decipher the network infrastructure you have at home and negotiate better for an upgrade.

Author Bio:

Rimsha Ather

Rimsha Ather is a professional writer with two years’ worth of practical experience in content creation, curation, and marketing. Her blogging interests range fromtechnology to travel, with the latter gaining special attention from the readers. On the side, she is a metal-enthusiast, an occasional painter and a culinary freak with flavorsome stories up her sleeve, which she occasionally pens for this site.

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