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What are network cables?

June 12, 2020

There are three types of network cable used to connect computers with other devices in a network, these are as follows: coaxial, twisted-pair and fibre optic.

Coaxial network cables

Coaxial cables are by no means a modern form of technology, developed in the 1980’s this form of cabling has been in existence long before computer networking was even established. Coaxial cabling was most commonly known for connecting a home’s television set with its external antenna.

Coaxial cabling’s popularity can be largely attributed to their low-cost nature and their enhanced durability, these contributing factors were appealing enough to make coaxial cables the ‘go-to’ solution for computer networking throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

Computer networking now rarely rely upon coaxial cables and they are no longer used to build computer networking systems.

Twisted pair network cables

Twisted pair cables were initially developed during the 90’s, conceived as a cable primarily used for computer networking, they soon established themselves as the leading industry standard. Replacing coaxial cables that had formerly been used for TV antennas.

Twisted pair cables are often referred to as ethernet cables and are used by almost all modern LAN computers for networking purposes. Twisted pair ethernet cables can be described as Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat7 and many more.

Upon discovery of twisted pair cabling, network cables initially worked at 10Mbps (bits per second), this was described as Cat3. Cat3 cabling was later improved to around 100Mbps (Cat5 and Cat5e). The difference between these types of twisted cable is primarily improved speed/Mbps, Cat3 being the slowest and Cat6/Cat7 being the fastest.

Fibre optic network cables

In contrast to the two network cables previously discussed (coaxial and twisted), fibre optic cabling does not utilise traditional metal wires, instead, fibre optic cabling relies upon strands of glass and pulses of life to transmit data.

Fibre optic network cabling has proven to be especially useful in transmitting data over a long distance, often referred to as WAN (wide area network). These longer installations often require cabling be ran outdoors and underground. Fibre optic cabling is suitable for transmitting data over the longest distance at the fastest speed – hence you’ll likely be familiar with this term being used in the broadband industry to describe superfast internet speeds.

Looking for a network cabling installation?

If you require a network cabling installation for faster data transmission, contact a friendly engineer at JJ Comms, we’re happy to discuss your individual requirements and suggest the most suitable solution for you or your business.

To get a free, no-obligation quotation tailored to your needs, submit a simple ‘get a quote’ form, or speak to a member of our team by telephoning: 01443 410750.

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