What are the Types of Ethernet Cables

There are three varieties of ethernet cables that are typically used in local area networks: twisted pair, coaxial, and fiber-optic cables. Twisted pair Ethernet cables are the most popular form of an ethernet cable used in local area networks. Twisted pair cable is the most commercially viable type of cable; the usage of fiber-optic cable in networking performance is growing at an alarming rate. Coaxial cabling is essential for ensuring that an internet connection is always accessible. The following is a thorough study of the advantages and disadvantages of various ethernet cable types.

What Are the Different Types of Ethernet Cables?

A variety of ethernet cables (see our ‘Best Ethernet Cable’ review) are used to connect various devices, and the kind and category of an ethernet cable used to have a considerable influence on the speed of your internet connection. Let’s have a look at the many types of network cables available for businesses, households, gaming (see this page), and other general purposes.

Twisted Pair Cabling

These are the ethernet cables that you will need in order to connect your computer to your router or modem in order to gain internet connectivity. Rj45 connectors are used to connect computer interfaces to a local area network that is based on ethernet.

Another cable is plugged into the network interface card of your computer, and the other end is plugged into the network port of your router’s switch or modem, depending on which one you’re currently using. Twisted pairs can be classified into three categories.

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)

Twisted pairs, which are not insulated, are by far the most prevalent form of cable used today. The UTP cable is made up of four pairs of color-coded wires that are coiled around one another.

The twisting of the wires prevents electromagnetic interference or reduces crosstalk; this sort of network cable is what the vast majority of people use in their homes or companies to connect computers and other devices.

Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)

With the exception of a foil shield that protects the wires, STP is essentially similar to UTP in its design. The foil shield provides an additional layer of protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI) flowing into and out of the cable.

STP ethernet cable is mostly utilized in industrial applications and is not commonly seen in residential or commercial settings. Straight (patch) and crossover cables are the most popular types of twisted pairs used in a local area network (LAN).

Crossover Cable

On a LAN, a crossover ethernet cable is also utilized, but it is not as common as a straight ethernet cable. When constructing a crossover, cable wire ends are terminated according to two separate standards. They are used to link two devices that are comparable.

Foiled Twisted Pairs

FTP cables are created and designed with a twisted pair or several twisted pairs of cores that are shielded throughout the whole assembly during the manufacturing and design process. The foiling into twisted pairs aids in the reduction of crosstalk and electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Foil screening is a type of screening that is made of a thin layer of foil. Copper wires completely round the cable cat, leaving no gaps between the wires. When compared to foil screening, braided screening offers more effective mechanical protection. The following diagram depicts wires that are compatible with various choices;

  • U UTP is adaptable in order to minimize CSA requirements for big containment to a bare minimum.
  • U FTP; the screening contained inside it helps to reduce crosstalk. Cat 6a cables, for example, are mostly used for high-frequency transmission.
  • In the case of UTP, concealing the whole cable includes all four pairs within a single overall screen.
  • F FTO is less flexible due to the lack of braiding, but its screen capabilities are not impaired as a result.

Coaxial Cabling

A sheath protects the outside cover of a coaxial cable, which is made of PVC or fire-resistant plastic. The braided shielding of the metal lowers electromagnetic interference, often known as EMI. Underneath the covered metal is an insulator made of PVC or Teflon. The copper conductor is the primary metalcore that is used as a conductor.

Coaxial cable is a type of cable that transmits electrical signals at high frequencies with minimal loss. It is widely used in a variety of applications, including telephone networks, high-speed computer data buses, cable television, internet bandwidth, and ethernet. Thinnet and thicknet cabling have a maximum frequency transfer of 100 megabits per second (Mbps).

There are hundreds of requirements, however, the radio guide (RG) numbers are used by the majority of coaxial cable kinds. Each variety is used for a certain purpose; for example, RG-6 coaxial cable is commonly seen in homes with cable TV or cable internet. Ohm is the unit of measurement for the impedance or resistance of coaxial wires.

Coaxial Cable Connectors

  • The British Naval Connector (BNC) has impedances ranging from 50 ohms to 75 ohms in different specification versions, making it a connector that is commonly used in high-frequency test and measurement equipment.
  • N Connectors are capable of transporting microwave-frequency communications and are available in a variety of sizes.
  • The subminiature (SMA) connection is a kind of connector that is commonly seen in high-frequency microwave and wireless systems.
  • In the case of television or internet cables, use F-type connectors to connect the cables to the modem.

It is common practice to use F-type connectors for terminating RG-6 cable.

Coaxial Cables vs. Twisted Pairs

  • When compared to twisted-pair cables, coaxial cables are substantially more efficient in transmitting signals over long distances and are more protected from crosstalk.
  • Twisted pair wires have a substantially better transmission rate than coaxial cables and are thus preferred. For example, cat 6e and cat 7 twisted pair cables are capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 10 Gbps.
  • Even though coaxial cables are extremely resistant to signal interference and need less installation effort than twisted cable types, they are more expensive and time-consuming to install.
  • Twisted pair cables are flexible and are utilized in a variety of applications, including ethernet networking and telephone systems.

Fiber-Optic Cabling

Fiber-optic cables, as opposed to copper lines such as coaxial cable or twisted pair cable, provide significantly greater throughput. Optical fiber can be either single-mode or multimode in nature.

Inner components are protected by the fiber-optic outer layer (insulating jacket), which is constructed of PVC or Teflon. The buffer layer, which is the second layer, wraps one or more optical fibers and protects them from being physically damaged.

It is this layer (cladding) that protects the fiber core and reflects light back to it in patterns that differ depending on the transmission method used. Cladding does not absorb light in the same way as a mirror does, allowing the light to travel long distances. The central core permits light to travel at higher frequencies since it is closer to the surface.

Single-Mode Fibre (SMF)

SMF transmits light in a single-mode; that is, the light wave travels in the same direction or in the same pattern every time, resulting in the emission of a single ray of light. It demonstrates a number of characteristics, including:

  • High transfer rates in conjunction with fast speeds
  • The diameter of the core is around 9 microns.
  • The light created by a laser only travels along a single path.
  • As the transmission travels, light does not dissipate.
  • Signals can go for several kilometers before they need to be repeated.
  • Long-distance connections, such as a WAN connection, are preferable.
  • The backbone of the internet
  • A patch cable in the color yellow

Multimode Fiber Cable (MMF)

MMF is mostly employed for the transmission of information across short distances. Because of this, light waves dissipate into various routes as they travel through the cable core. MMF is capable of operating at data speeds of up to 100Gbps with the utilization of multimode lines. It has the following characteristics:

  • Light pulses are generated at various angles by SMF LEDs or lasers because they have a bigger core diameter.
  • Although there is more considerable attenuation than with SMF, there is a modal distortion problem.
  • A patch cable in the color orange.

Categories for Ethernet Cables

There are several different types of ethernet cables available for use in telecommunications and other networking applications. You can figure them out as if they were distinct variations of the same thing. Because the latest versions of the cables are backward compatible with the older versions, these cables will often function. The following information pertains to the ethernet category:

Cat1Recommended for standard telephone wiring.
Cat 2used for 4Mbps network ring
Cat 3category 3 employs networking frequencies of up to 16Mhz
Cat 4this type of ethernet cable is significant for networks carrying frequency up to 2oMhz
frequency in category 5 rates up to 100 Mbps, 100 meters maximum, and 100 Mhz bandwidth. It has a lower speed and is less reliable compared to the new types. Cat 5 cable is obsolete and not recommended for new network installations.
Cat5efrequency in this category is at 1 Gbps, 100 meters, and also 100 Mhz. It is a result of improved specs regarding twisting of wires, shielding to reduce crosstalk. Cat5e uses four twisted pairs, unlike category 5 cable, which has only two.
Cat6category 6 has a rating of 10 Gbps, 250 Mhz at 55 m, making it a relatively long ethernet cable. Cat6 cabling is tighter than Cat5 and Cat 5e and has braided shielding to protect wires inside the ethernet cabling.
Cat 6acategory 6a is also capable of 10 Gbps, 100 m distance, and 500mhz.
Cat7category 7 has 10gbps with 600 Mhz
Cat8category 8 release provides a huge fast ethernet to access points. Cat 8 is more expensive than other versions below it.

What Is the Difference Between Cat 5 and Cat 6?

Cat 5 ethernet cable can handle rates of up to 100 Mbps at a frequency of 100 MHz, but Cat 6 ethernet cable can handle speeds of up to 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) at a frequency of 250 MHz. Cat 6 is a gigabit ethernet cable, and the increased braided shielding reduces crosstalk interference from occurring between twisted ethernet cable pairs.

Cat5e ethernet cables are generally utilized in households that already have network infrastructure in place. The advantage of cat5e ethernet cable over cat 5 ethernet cabling is that it is better at preventing crosstalk since it is capable of handling higher rates.

Cat6 is capable of handling Gbps ethernet rates in the same way as cat 5e, but at a higher frequency bandwidth of 250Mhz. Cat5e and cat6 differ in the number of twists per cable type; having more twists per cable type increases the performance of Cat 6.

How Do I Know Which Ethernet Cable to Buy?

In general, choosing a broad ethernet connection over Wi-Fi is preferred since it provides faster speeds and lower latency. Wi-Fi technology and hardware have progressed significantly over the years, but ethernet has not.

Buy ethernet cables with a gigabit-speed such as these best selections for PS4, which will not cause you to be delayed if speed is what you are searching for on your home internet connection. Using a slower connection, you’ll be equipped with several types of Ethernet cables, which range in size and speed from cat 5 to 7.


As our home networks go from Mbps ethernet to Gbps, allowing for greater network speeds, more complex cables are required to maintain control of the network. If you want to maximize the performance of your network, it is advised that you utilize the most recent versions of Ethernet cable types. It is possible that an ethernet cable guide will be offered to ensure that the connection is completely understood.

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