Are There Different Types of Network Cables?

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Network cables are a kind of networking gear that are used to link one network device to another or two or more devices to a single computer or network device.

Network cables are used to transmit data and information from one network device to another.

The architecture, size, and process of a network all influence the kind of cable utilized. The many kinds of network cables serve as the network infrastructure’s supporting foundation.

Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the different kinds of network cable wiring available on the market. We’ll also take a closer look at each type and how it works.

The Beauty of Network Cables: Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cable is made up of a bundle of glass threads, each of which may carry light-wave modulated information.

The design and construction of fiber optic cable is complex. An outer optical casing covers the light and traps it inside a central core in this kind of wire.

The interior of the cable (the core) must be set in one of two ways: single-mode or multi-mode; although the difference may seem little, it has a significant impact on fiber optic cable performance and use.

We’ll go into Single Mode and Multimode Fiber cables in more depth later, but for now, know that Single-Mode Fiber has a considerably smaller core than Multimode Fiber. The optical signal may travel farther since the reflections are tighter and on a more direct route due to the smaller core.

The Standard Sizes

Keep in mind that the core measurement is in microns (um).

  • Multimode Fiber Core Size: 50um and 62.5um
  • Single Mode Fiber Core Size: 8 – 9um

Single Mode (SM) fiber utilizes a laser as its light source and is used for long distances or higher bandwidth applications, while Multimode (MM) fiber uses an LED as its light source and is used for small distances or less bandwidth-demanding applications.

Multimode and Single Mode Light Propagation

We need to speak about wavelengths without going into too much depth. Fiber cable transmits various frequencies of light or wavelengths, much as copper cables carry different RF frequencies.

Consider the wavelength to be a color of light, and each color of light follows its own route down the core of the fiber, avoiding interference with other colors of light going down the same fiber.

What we’ve just explained is wavelength division multiplexing, often known as WDM or DWDM.

The wavelength is determined by the light source. Specific wavelengths may be sent through the fiber core using lasers that can be adjusted. Because each wavelength travels down the core of the fiber in a distinct route, certain fiber varieties are better suited for certain wavelengths.

Fiber Wavelengths: The Average and Standards

  • Multimode Fiber: 850nm and 1300nm
  • Single Mode Fiber: 1310nm and 1550nm

Multimode Fiber carries light signals at various wavelengths than Single-Mode Fiber, as you can see.

Fiber Optic Cable Subtypes

Customers often want either multimode or single-mode fiber cable. They may or may not be able to provide you with details.

They may entrust you with determining the precise kind of fiber they need. Occasionally, a highly technical client may want Fiber cable but specify a particular kind, such as OM3 fiber. So, what does it imply? What is the difference between OM3 and OM4 fiber?

The more technical naming conventions and specs for Single-Mode Fiber will be covered in this section.

Single-Mode Fibers: OS1 and OS2

The term OS, or Optical Single-mode Fiber, is used to identify Single Mode fibers. Single Mode cable has a considerably smaller core (8-9um) than multimode cable and only has one light channel (mode).

Rather than optical specs, the primary difference between these two single-mode OS1 and OS2 is cable structure. The OS1 cable has a tightly buffered construction, while the OS2 cable has a loose tube or blown structure.

Twisted Pair Cable

Twisted pair cable is a common kind of cabling that links many household and business computers to the phone provider. It’s created by twisting two different insulated wires together and running them parallel to one other, which diminishes crosstalk or electromagnetic induction between wire pairs.

Balanced differential signals may be sent using twisted-pair wire. The technique of sending signals goes back to the telegraph and radio’s early days.

In large bandwidth and high fidelity systems, the benefits of enhanced signal-to-noise ratio, ground bounce, and crosstalk that balanced signal transmission provides are especially significant.

Shielded twisted pair (STP) and unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are the two most prevalent kinds of twisted pair cables, depending on whether the cable includes a shielding layer.

For Token Ring networks, STP cable is available, while UTP cable is better suited for Ethernet networks. Cat5e, cat6a, and cat7 cables are the most popular UTP cable types used in Ethernet networks.

Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable

It’s a kind of copper telephone wire that’s utilized in commercial settings. The typical twisted-pair telephone cables are given an exterior shield that serves as ground.

If you wish to run the cable through an area where there is a chance of interference and danger to the electrical current in the UTP, shielded twisted pair may be the way to go. Shielded cables may also be used to increase the distance between wires.

Unshielded Twisted Pair

It is the world’s most appreciated kind of network cable. Both traditional telephone and computer networking utilize UTP cable.

The following are the different UTP wiring schemes.

CAT1 is a kind of telephone cable. CAT2 provides up to 4 Mbps and is often used in token ring networks.

Token Ring networks utilize both CAT3 and CAT4 for greater network speeds.
 CAT5 cable has been superseded by CAT5e designs, which have a higher crosstalk standard and can handle rates of up to 1 Gbps. It is the world’s most widely used network cabling standard.

CAT6 supports 1 Gbps for distances up to 100 meters and 10 Gbps for distances up to 55 meters. Organizations that utilize CAT6 cabling should obtain a full test report from a professional cable analyzer to verify that the CAT6 guidelines and standards were followed throughout the installation.

CAT7 is a new copper cable design that can handle 10Gbps speeds and runs for up to 100 meters.

Understanding the various kinds of cable and how they influence other elements of a network is critical for the creation of a successful network in an organization.

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable, commonly known as “coax cable,” is a copper cable with a foam-insulated inner conductor. It has a plastic jacket and a woven braided metal shield that is symmetrically wrapped.

Coaxial cable sequences may now be put near to metal objects such as sewers without suffering the power losses that other transmission lines are prone to.

Whenever it’s associated with the twisted pair cable, coaxial cable works as a high-frequency transmission wire with a single solid copper core. It has a transmission capacity of 80 times or more.

Feedlines linking radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas, computer network services, and delivering cable television signals all use this kind of cable.

You’ll want to check out this network wiring before finalizing your selection of the appropriate network cable type.

The Structure of Coaxial Cable

A conductor, insulator, braiding, and sheath are all included in this cable.

The sheath protects the braiding, which protects the insulation, which protects the conductor.

Sheath

This is the coaxial cable’s outer layer. It safeguards the wire from physical harm.

Consider it the main cover and protective layer at the very top.

Braided Shield

Signals are protected from external interference and noise by this shield.

The same metal that was utilized to construct the core is utilized to construct this shield.

Insulation

The core is protected by insulation. It also separates the braided shield from the core.

Because both the core and the braided shield are made of the same metal, they will contact and cause a short-circuit in the wire if this layer is not there.

Conductor

Electromagnetic signals are carried by the conductor. A coaxial cable may be divided into two kinds based on the conductor: single-core coaxial cable and multi-core coaxial cable.

A single-core coaxial cable has a single central metal conductor (typically copper), while a multi-core coaxial cable has several thin metal strands. Both kinds of cable are shown in the picture below.

Ethernet Network Cables: Unlocked

If you’re new to the world of network cables, trying to pick the perfect cable for your business can be overwhelming, to say the least.

We hope that our guide has shed some light on the variety of network cables that are currently available on the market.

And, if you liked reading our article, then you’ll love checking out our additional tips and tricks. All of them will be available in our technology and business sections.

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