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Networking Cables

Networking Cable is the medium through which information usually moves from one network device to
another. There are several types of cable which are commonly used with LANs. In some cases, a network
will utilize only one type of cable, other networks will use a variety of cable types. The type of cable
chosen for a network is related to the network's topology, protocol, and size. Understanding the
characteristics of different types of cable and how they relate to other aspects of a network is necessary
for the development of a successful network.

Types of Networking Cables


1. Twisted Pair: Twisted Pair Cabling is a form of wiring in which pairs of wires (the forward and
return conductors of a single circuit) are twisted together for the purposes of canceling out
electromagnetic interference (EMI) from other wire pairs and from external sources. This type of
cable is used for home and corporate Ethernet networks.
There are two types of twisted pair cables: Shielded, Unshielded.

Figure 1

UTP & STP

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable: The quality of UTP may vary from telephone-grade wire to
extremely high-speed cable. The cable has four pairs of wires inside the jacket. Each pair is
twisted with a different number of twists per inch to help eliminate interference from adjacent
pairs and other electrical devices. The tighter the twisting, the higher the supported transmission
rate and the greater the cost per foot. The EIA/TIA (Electronic Industry
Association/Telecommunication Industry Association) has established standards of UTP and
rated six categories of wire (additional categories are emerging).
Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable: Although UTP cable is the least expensive cable, it may be
susceptible to radio and electrical frequency interference (it should not be too close to electric
motors, fluorescent lights, etc.). If you must place cable in environments with lots of potential
interference, or if you must place cable in extremely sensitive environments that may be

Networking Cables
susceptible to the electrical current in the UTP, shielded twisted pair may be the solution.
Shielded cables can also help to extend the maximum distance of the cables.
Shielded twisted pair cable is available in three different configurations:

Each pair of wires is individually shielded with foil.


There is a foil or braid shield inside the jacket covering all wires (as a group).
There is a shield around each individual pair, as well as around the entire group of wires
(referred to as double shield twisted pair).

2. Coaxial Cable: First invented in


the 1880s, "coax" was best known
as the kind of cable that connected
television sets to home antennas.
Coaxial cable is also a standard for
10 Mbps Ethernet cables. When 10
Mbps Ethernet was most popular,
during the 1980s and early 1990s,
networks typically utilized one of
two kinds of coax cable - thinnet
(10BASE2 standard) or thicknet
(10BASE5). These cables consist of
Figure 2 Co-axial Cable
an inner copper wire of varying
thickness surrounded by insulation and other shielding. Their stiffness caused network
administrators difficulty in installing and maintaining thinnet and thicknet.
3. Fiber Optic Cable: Fiber optic cabling consists of a center glass core surrounded by several
layers of protective materials). It transmits light rather than electronic signals eliminating the
problem of electrical interference. This makes it ideal for certain environments that contain a
large amount of electrical interference. It has also made it the standard for connecting networks
between buildings, due to its immunity to the effects of moisture and lighting.
Fiber optic cable has the ability to transmit signals over much longer distances than coaxial and
twisted pair. It also has the capability to carry information at vastly greater speeds. This capacity
broadens communication possibilities to include services such as video conferencing and
interactive services. The cost of fiber optic cabling is comparable to copper cabling; however, it is
more difficult to install and modify. 10BaseF refers to the specifications for fiber optic cable
carrying Ethernet signals.

Networking Cables

Figure 3 Fibre Optic

Cable

The center core of fiber cables is made from glass or plastic fibers. A plastic coating then
cushions the fiber center, and kevlar fibers help to strengthen the cables and prevent breakage.
The outer insulating jacket made of teflon or PVC.
4. USB Cables: Universal Serial Bus (USB) cables connect a
computer with a peripheral device (keyboard or mouse) rather
than to another computer for networking. However, special
adapters (sometimes called dongles) also allow connecting an
Ethernet cable to a USB port indirectly. USB cables feature
twisted-pair wiring.

Figure 4 USB

Cable

5. Serial and Parallel Cables: Because many PCs in the 1980s and early 1990s lacked Ethernet
capability, and USB had not been developed yet, serial and parallel interfaces that are obsolete
on modern computers were sometimes used for PC-to-PC networking. So-called null model
cables , for example, connected the serial ports of two PCs enabling data transfers at speeds
between 0.115 and 0.45 Mbps.
6. Ethernet (Crossover) Cable: Null modem cables are one example of the category of
crossover cables. A crossover cable joins two network devices of the same type, such as two PCs
or two network switches.
The use of Ethernet crossover cables was especially common on older home networks years ago
when connecting two PCs directly together. Externally, Ethernet crossover cables appear nearly
identical to ordinary (sometimes also called straight-through), the only visible difference being
the order of color-coded wires appearing on the cable's end connector. Manufacturers typically

Networking Cables
applied special distinguishing marks to their crossover cables for this reason. Nowadays, though,
most home networks utilize routers that have built-in crossover capability, eliminating the need
for these special cables.

Figure 5 Colour Coding for Ethernet Cable

Figure 7 Types

Figure 6 Difference b/w Ethernet Cable

of Cable n Speed

Networking Cables
7. Patch Cable: A patch cable is an electrical or optical cable used to connect one electronic or
optical device to another for signal routing. Devices of different types (e.g. a switch connected to
a computer, or a switch connected to a router) are connected with patch cords. It is a very fast
connection speed. Patch cords are usually produced in many different colors so as to be easily
distinguishable,[2] and are relatively short, perhaps no longer than two meters.