The Internet has brought a revolution and changed our lives drastically. Network Cable or Ethernet Cable has been a major catalyst behind the Internet revolution.
With growing data usage, Network cables have evolved significantly and continue to do so. Let’s discuss Network Cabling and how to choose the best cable for your Internet need.
There are different types of Network cables based on their Data usage and appearance.
Suited for Voice, this was used for Voice only.
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Used for data with data transfer rate of 4 Mbps.
The transfer rate of 10 Mbps and supports data rates up to 16MHz.
Cable belonging to Category 4 was designed to support frequencies of up to 20MHz, specifically in response to a need for a UTP solution for 16Mbps Token Ring LANs.
One of the most popular data cables which were eventually replaced by Cat5e
Category 5e (enhanced Category 5):
was introduced with the TIA/EIA-568-A-5 addendum of the cabling standard having data transfer capacity of up to 1 Gbps. The category 5 was deprecated in 2001 and superseded by the Category 5e specification.
Category 6 and Category 6a:
These are the current cabling standards along with Cat7. In addition to more stringent performance requirements as compared to Category 5e, it extends the usable bandwidth to 250MHz and further reducing crosstalk. Category 6A cable provides 500 MHz bandwidth and supports 10GBASE-T for distances up to 100 meters. Both variants are backward compatible with category 5 and 5e cables.
These cables can be further divided based on their design and make:
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable:
These are unshielded twisted pairs that contain 4 pairs of wires where each member of the pair of the wire is twisted around other.
Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable:
This cable has a layer of insulation within a protective jacket. The make is similar to UTP expect the shield which protects it from external electromagnetic interferences.
This is also called Coax which cable providers use at our home for TV signals. This is also used for CCTV. Coaxial cabling has a single copper conductor at its center. A plastic layer provides insulation between the center conductor and a braided metal shield.
Fiber Optic Cable:
This media is the next generation of Network cabling and Fiber-optic cable can easily handle data at speeds above 10Gbps. It consists of a center glass core surrounded by several layers of protective materials. The Glass transmits light as data making it super fast and effective.