Ethernet Cabling Guide & Standards Explained Full (2)

Ethernet Cabling Guide & Standards Explained

What is Ethernet Cabling?

When you form a network, these networks must be connected either physically or wireless. In Ethernet Cabling, this is done physically with cables. There are specific cables for different types of speed and distance, each with its own price and application.

An Ethernet cable is the most common form of network cable used on a wired network, whether at home or in a business. This cable links wired devices to a local network, allowing for file sharing and Internet access.

Ethernet cables are network cables that are used on linked networks. They were designed to connect network devices. These cables are available in a variety of sizes. You can get whatever duration you want based on your needs. Ethernet cables are typically used to link devices on LAN networks such as routers, PCs, and switches.

Four Ethernet Cable Types in Networking

In networking, there are 4 main cable types for ethernet cabling. These three are: coaxial, twisted pair, and fiber-optic.

  1. Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable.
  2. Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable.
  3. Coaxial Cable.
  4. Fiber Optic Cable.

In order to determine which cable to use, you need to understand the distance, price, speed, and environmental limitations. All of these factors will be used to determine which Ethernet Cable type you will use.

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable.

  • UTP Cables are least expensive
  • Vulnerable to radio and electrical frequency interference
  • Reduces noise and crosstalk

Unshielded Twisted Pair UTP cable quality can range from telephone-grade wire to extremely high-speed cable. Inside the jacket of the cable are four pairs of wires. To help remove interference from neighboring pairs and other electrical devices, each pair is twisted with a different number of twists per inch. The higher the assisted transmission rate and the higher the cost per foot, the tighter the twisting.

Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable

  • Protection from radio and electrical frequency interference
  • Shielded cables extend the maximum distance

Question: What is the distinction between UTP and STP?

The primary distinction between UTP and STP is that UTP (Unshielded twisted pair) is a cable with twisted wires that reduces noise and crosstalk. STP (Shielded twisted pair) is a twisted pair cable encased in a foil or mesh shield that protects the cable from electromagnetic interference.

Ethernet Cable Categories (CAT)

There are numerous Ethernet cable options available, each with its own function and application. As a result, if you want to learn everything there is to know about Ethernet cables, you must first understand each cable and its application. You must choose a higher quality cable that is thicker, quicker, and better suited to your unique needs.

Ethernet Cable Categories (CAT) Types:

Cable    ShieldingMaximum FrequencyMax Data RateSpeed
Cat 3No16Mhz10Mbps
Cat 5No100MHz100 Mbps100Mbps
Cat 5eNo100MHz1Gbps1Gbps
Cat 6Sometimes250Mhz1Gbps1Gbps
Cat 6aSometimes500MHz10Gbps10Gbps
Cat 7Yes600Mhz40 Gbps40 Gbps
Cat 8Yes2GHz25 or 40 Gbps40Gbps


Ethernet Cable Speed Comparison:

CategoryStandard BandwidthMax Data RateShielding
Cat5e100MHz (up to 350)1000MbpsUTP or STP
Cat6250MHz (up to 550)1000MbpsUTP or STP
Cat6A500MHz (up to 550)10GbpsUTP or STP
Cat7600MHz10GbpsShielded only
Cat82000MHz25Gbps or 40GbpsShielded only


Coaxial Cabling

Coaxial cable is most commonly used with Internet Service Providers sending coaxial cables down to homes and into modems. Despite the fact that coaxial cabling is difficult to mount, it is extremely resistant to signal interference. Furthermore, it allows for longer cable lengths between network devices than twisted pair cable.

A coaxial cable has an inner conductor that runs down the center of it. This form of cabling is immune to outside intrusion since the conductor is covered by a sheet of insulation, which is then surrounded by another conducting shield. This cabling is available in two varieties: thinnet and thicknet. The maximum transmission speed for both forms is 10 Mbps. Coaxial cabling was once used in computer networks, but it has been largely replaced by twisted-pair cabling.

coaxial cable

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)


Fiber-Optic Cables

Optical fibers are used in this type of cabling to relay data in the form of light signals. The cables are made of glass strands that are encased in a cladding film.

optical fiber cable

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This form of cabling can accommodate longer cable lengths than any other type of cabling (up to a couple of miles). In addition, the cables are resistant to electromagnetic interference. As you can see, this cabling approach has many benefits over others, but the biggest disadvantage is that it is more costly.

Optical fiber: The glass part of a fiber optic cable that does not have any jacketing or power members. A light-carrying core is surrounded by cladding in an optical fiber. The cladding prevents light from leaving the core, allowing the signal to travel down the glass.

Single mode fiber is one that has a narrow light-carrying core that is around 9 micrometers (m) in diameter.  The center is surrounded by cladding, which increases the optical fiber’s maximum diameter to 125 m.

Multimode fiber: a fiber with a core length of 50 m or greater. A larger core allows several modes (or rays of light) to pass down it at the same time.

Fiber-optic cables are classified into two types:

  • Single-Mode fiber (SMF):
    • Short and Long Distance
    • Single mode cables allow for brighter, higher-power light sources with less attenuation.
    • A single fiber mode potentially offers an infinite amount of bandwidth.
    • Narrow light-carrying Core
    • Maximum Distance 125 meters.
  • Multi-Mode fiber (MMF)
    • Fiber with core length >50 Meter.
    • Multiple light modes with less brightness and higher attenuation
    • Shorter Max Transmission Distance (<1000ft)

Four types of connectors are commonly used:

  • ST (Straight-tip connector)
  • SC (Subscriber connector)
  • FC (Fiber Channel)
  • LC (Lucent Connector)
Previous Article