Network cable creates a medium through which information moves from one network device to another. The type of cable chosen for a network is associated with the network's topology, procedure, and size. Different types of network cables are the backbone of a network's infrastructure.
Choosing the right types of network cabling can effect many business functions, as enterprise network admins deploy new technologies. The types of network cables used in any network infrastructure are one of the most important aspects of networking across various industries.
4 Types of Network Cabling
1. Coaxial Cable
This cable has a single copper conductor at its midpoint. A plastic layer supply insulation between the center conductor and a braided metal shield. The metal shield blocks any outer intrusion from fluorescent lights, motors, and other computers.
Although coaxial cabling is complex to install, it is extremely resistant to signal obstruction. It can sustain greater cable lengths between network devices than a twisted pair cable. The two types of coaxial cabling are thick coaxial and thin coaxial.
2. Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable
Shielded twisted pair is a special kind of copper telephone wiring used in some business installations. An external covering or shield is added to the normal twisted pair telephone wires, while the shield functions as a ground. If you intend to place the cable in an environment with potential interference and the possibility of risk to the electrical current in the UTP, shielded twisted pair may be the solution. Shielded cables can also help to expand the utmost distance of the cables.
3. Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cabling comprises of a center glass core bounded by several layers of protective materials. It transmits light rather than electronic signals removing the problem of electrical obstruction. This makes it perfect for certain atmospheres that contain a large amount of electrical interference. It has also become the standard for connecting networks between buildings, due to its resistance to moisture and lighting.
4. Unshielded Twisted Pair
Unshielded twisted pair cable is the most admired type of network cable around the world. UTP cable is used not only for computer networking, but also for the conventional telephone. Different wiring schemes available for UTP are:
CAT1 which is naturally used for telephone wire. CAT2 is used frequently for token ring networks, supporting speeds up to 4 Mbps. For higher network speeds CAT3 and CAT4 are both used for Token Ring networks.
CAT5 wire is now replaced by the CAT5e designsthat provide an enhanced crosstalk specification which allows it to support speeds of up to 1 Gbps. CAT5e is the most widely used type of network cabling specification globally.
CAT6 support speeds of 1 Gbps for lengths of up to 100 meters, and 10 Gbps is also supported for lengths of up to 55 meters. Organizations performing installations using CAT6 cabling should request a complete test report, using a specialized cable analyzer, to ensure the installation has been performed according to CAT6 guidelines and standards. The CAT7 is a fresh copper cable pattern designed to support speeds of 10Gbps at lengths of up to 100 meters.
Understanding the distinctiveness of different types of cable and how they relate to other aspects of a network is essential for the development of a successful network in an organization.