Network cables connect different networking devices to share data and information. You can find these cables everywhere in your network system. These cables are suitable for other applications. In this article, we will discuss the three different types of networking cables that are being used today.
These types are
- Twisted pairs cables
- Coaxial cables
- Fiber optics cables
Let’s have a look at specific features and applications of these types!
1. Twisted Pair Cable
Twisted pair cables, also named Ethernet cables, connect telephone companies to the home and business computers. This cable is designed by twisting two isolated insulated cables together. Both cables run parallel to one another.
These cables are the most appropriate for balanced differential signals transfer. The twisted design helps minimize the EMI or crosstalk between pairs of cables. Today almost modern local area network computers use this cable type.
Based on the plastic sheath, this cable is divided into two types: Shielded twisted-pair (STP) and Unshielded twisted-pair (UTP).
Shielded Vs. Unshielded Twisted Pair Cables
STP cables are suitable for Token Ring networks. In STP, each cable pairs are shrouded with a metal shield, and then all pairs are covered in one outer plastic sheath. This outer layer provides additional protection against EMI, making them more expensive than UTP. Cat 6a, Cat 7, and Cat 8 are included in STP.
In UTP, only the outer plastic sheath is present around wires. Because of the absence of a protective layer, these cables are sensitive to interference. These cables are used in indoor telephone applications. These cables usually use RJ45 connectors. Cat 3, Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 are the common types of UTP.
2. Coaxial Cable
Coaxial/ coax is a high-frequency transmission cable. This cable is made from the copper core with an internal conductor enclosed by foam insulation. A woven metal shield symmetrically encloses the foam with a plastic jacket cover.
You can install these cables with metal objects without any power losses. The common applications of these cables are in satellite antenna connections, radio receivers and transmitters, television signals distribution, and computer network links.
3. Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cables have a more complex structure than the other two types. This cable is made for a glass threads bundle. Each bundle can transmit messages regulated onto light waves. All the bundles are covered within a protective layer, and light waves move across for data transfer.
Light gets trapped in the inner core of the cable, which is arranged in two ways: Single-mode & multi-mode. This difference can entirely change the performance and application of optical fibers.
Fiber optic cables are categorized into three types:
- Single-mode fiber optics
- Multimode fiber optics
- Photonic fiber optics
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Choosing one type among the above-mentioned list depends on the application & network topology. All the types are used in various fields to fulfill different network requirements.