In today's world, networking cables are a kind of networking hardware used to connect a device to one or more other network devices or two or more other devices to a single computer or network device. Network cables come in different types, sizes, and colors depending on the network cable type. So before getting started with networking cables, it is essential to understand the types of networks cable that are mainly used and some of their benefits.
1. Coaxial Cable
Coaxial cables are the kind of cable that is mainly used in homes, offices, and other places where there is a need for high-speed internet connections. They have a metal shield to protect them from interference and damage caused by electrical surges. The coaxial cable performs better than the twisted pair cable when sending data over long distances. These cables come in different colors so that they can be easily identified.
The sheath protects the coaxial cables and makes them less likely to break or fray.
The braided shield protects the cable from external forces and ensures high-quality signal transmission.
Insulation helps to keep the signal strong and prevents data loss or corruption.
The conductor carries electromagnetic signals in it. There are two types of coaxial cable. One is a single-core coaxial cable, and the other is a multi-core coaxial cable.
Specifications of coaxial cables
Coaxial cable is a type of cable that offers better performance and immunity to interference than other types of cable. It is used for transmitting television signals and broadband internet data. There are three main coaxial cable types: unshielded, shielded, and hybrid (coaxial cable with a metallic sheath). The specifications of coaxial cables depend on the frequency of use- 50/60Hz for television signals or 5 GHz for broadband signals. Coaxial cables are mainly used in high-end audio and video applications.
Advantages of Coaxial Cable
There are many reasons why coaxial cable is one of the most popular cables in homes and offices.
Its high frequency makes it perfect for streaming multimedia content, such as videos and music.
It also has a thicker insulation layer than other cables, making it more durable.
WiFi networking uses a coaxial cable to connect two devices wirelessly - this is an efficient way of transferring data between them without using wires.
Disadvantages of Coaxial Cable
There are several disadvantages of coaxial cable that should be considered before purchasing:
Connecting two devices cannot be accessible in different rooms.
Twisted pair cable has a higher range and data transmission rate than coaxial cable.
Coaxial cable is incompatible with modern technology such as wireless networks and security cameras.
It's usually more expensive than a twisted pair cable.
2. Twisted-pair Cable
A twisted-pair cable is an electrical line of two insulated wires wound around each other in a spiral or "twisted" configuration. Twisted pair cables connect electronic equipment, such as computers and phones.
Twisted pair cables are often used in networking because they have low resistance and can handle high amounts of data. They are also resistant to electromagnetic interference, so they work well in connecting electronic equipment across a large area.
UTP(Unshielded twisted-pair) Cable
All the wires are covered in a single plastic sheath.
STP (Shielded twisted-pair) Cable
Each wire is covered with an additional metal shield. Then all pairs are covered in a single outer plastic sheath.
Advantages of Twisted-pair Cable
A twisted pair cable has some significant advantages over the single-wire line regarding data transmission.
Twisted pair cables can handle higher loads than single wire cables, carrying more data without breaking.
Twisted pair cables are immune to electrical interference, so they're a good choice for high-traffic areas where signal quality is essential.
Disadvantages of Twisted-pair Cable
Twisted-pair cable has some disadvantages.
It is more challenging to install than coaxial cabling because the wires must be twisted together.
If one wire in a twisted pair cable is damaged, the entire line can become unusable.
Twisted-pair wires are less resistant to interference from other electrical sources. They may have shorter distance potential than coaxial cables.
3. Fiber Optic Cable
A fiber optic cable is a cable used to transmit information over long distances. Fiber optic cables use light instead of electrons to transfer data, which makes them faster and more reliable than traditional copper cables.
Most fiber optic cables are made of several strands of glass or plastic fibers coiled together like a winding wire. Each end of the fiber optic cable has an optical connector that allows it to be connected to another device or network.
The inside diameter (ID) on most fiber optics is around 62μm, which means they can carry signals with minimal interference.
SMF (Single-mode fiber) optical cable
SMF optical cable's low internal loss allows it to last longer than other cables. At the same time, its small core size ensures high signal quality. It is mainly used to transmit data and voice-over fiber networks, offering superior performance compared to regular copper cables.
MMF (multi-mode fiber) optical cable
Multi-mode fiber optic cable is a type of cable that can work with various types of media, including voice and data.
Advantages of Fiber Optic Cable
There are multiple benefits of utilizing fiber optic cable, the most notable of which is its speed and reliability.
Fiber optic cables are faster and more reliable than traditional copper cables.
This makes them perfect for streaming high-quality videos and audio online.
Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cables have a few disadvantages when compared to other networking cables.
They are unsuitable for high-traffic areas or near electrical outlets and can be expensive to maintain.
4. Wireless LANs
Wireless LANs are areas where devices can communicate with each other wirelessly. Unlike wired networks, wireless networks use radio waves to send data instead of copper wires. The main advantage of wireless networking is that it allows users to move around the room without concern about cables getting in their way. A wireless network typically has faster transmission speeds than a typical wired network.
Advantages of Wireless LANs
Wireless LANs offer numerous benefits over traditional wired networks.
It increases mobility and faster response times.
Wireless networks also provide greater privacy and security than traditional networks since they are not susceptible to interference from other devices.
Disadvantages of Wireless LANs
Wireless LANs (WLANs) have many advantages, but they also come with some disadvantages.
The main disadvantage is interference from other electronic devices in the vicinity.
Suppose you're working on documents or presentations that require a good internet connection. In that case, wireless networks may not be the best option.
They can also suffer from poor performance if blocked by walls or furniture, and their range isn't usually as good as wired connections.
In bad weather conditions, WiFi signals can be affected too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some familiar issues that users undergo with networking cables?
Some common problems that users experience with networking cables are:
Cables can become damaged if pulled or yanked frequently, e.g., when moving a computer around the office.
It's essential to use the proper type of cable for the task at hand—for instance, an Ethernet cable for online gaming rather than a USB cord for transferring files."
Cable capacitance can cause data loss in long line runs between computers (especially in wireless networks).
Wires inside lines can fray and cause signal transmission or reception problems.
How can I know which cable is needed for a specific task?
It's helpful to keep your cables organized and bundled together when not in use. This way, you'll never be without the correct line needed for a task. When inspecting your cables for damage, or other signs of wear and tear, look for any cable damage. Also, always check the documentation that came with your equipment for specific cable requirements. For example, if you're using an ethernet cable to connect to your computer, ensure it's of the ethernet type.
Can I reuse an old network cable if it's in good condition?
According to most networking experts, it is not advisable to reuse old network cables. For example, lines with a connector at one end and a plug at the other are usually disposable. Different types of wires have reusable connectors. Ome cables can only be used once, while others can be reused multiple times.
Which type of cable is best for my home or office network?
There are many different types of cable that can be used for a home or office network installation. However, before selecting a suitable line, it is essential to test every kind of cable to see if it is compatible and optimal for your needs. Some of the most common types of threads used for networking include Ethernet cables, USB cables, and HDMI cables. If there are any network installations or usage issues, later on, replacing the faulty cable may be necessary to fix network issues quickly and efficiently.