Ethernet Cables FAQs
Ethernet cables are a data transmission medium where the data is transmitted through the cable via electrical signals. An Ethernet cable links a network enabled device (computer, printer, hub, router) to another network enabled device, allowing for communication between the two.
There are basically 2 types of ethernet patch cables which are:Straight-through and crossover cables.All these different types of patch cables can be of either Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, or Cat7.
Straight-through refers to cables that have the pin assignments on each end of the cable.In other words pin1 connector A goes to pin 1 on connector B,Pin 2 to pin 2 ,etc.Straight-through cables are mostly used to connect a host to client.For example-A connection between a switch and a PC.
Crossover patch cables are similar to straight-through cables except that their TX and RX Lines are crossed(they are at opposite positions on either end of the cable).In other words Pin 1 on connector A goes to Pin 3 on connector B,Pin 2 to Pin 6 and so forth.They are mostly used to connect two hosts together.For example-A connection between two computers.
Cat5 cables are a type of twisted pair ethernet cable which support up to 100 mbps speeds for a distance of 100 meters.They support communication frequencies upto 100 Mhz.Physically,in cat 5 cables the number of twists per cm is around 1.5-2.
Cat 5e cables are very similar to Cat 5 cables except that they support higher data rates upto 1 gbps whereas Cat 5 cables support only upto 100mbps over the same distance of 100 meters.Cat 5e cables also have lesser near-end crosstalk in comparison to standard cat 5 cables.
Cat 6 cables are a type of twisted pair ethernet cable which support upto 1 Gbps speeds for a distance of 100 meters and 10 Gbps speeds upto 55 meters.They support communication frequencies upto 250 Mhz.Physically,Cat6 cables have a larger number of twists per cm(2+ twists) in comparison to cat 5 cables(1.5-2 twists).It contains four pieces of twisted copper wire and a longitudinal separator.This longitudinal separator helps almost eliminate crosstalk.
Cat 6a cables (Augmented Category 6 ) are a type of twisted pair ethernet cable which support upto 10 Gbps speeds for a distance of 100 meters.They support communication frequencies upto 500 Mhz which helped eliminate alien crosstalk (AXT).Physically,in Cat6a cables the number of twists per cm is 2+.
Since all ethernet cables are twisted,manufacturers use shielding to further protect the cable from interference.STP(Shielded twisted pair)is a twisted pair cable confined in foil or mesh shield that guards the cable against electromagnetic interference.On the contrary,UTP (Unshielded twisted pair) is a cable with wires that are twisted together to reduce noise and crosstalk.On the application front,UTP is usually used in indoor environments while STP is more utilized in outdoor environments.