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A Comprehensive Guide to Ethernet Cable

Date: 2023-11-06 16:20:00

An Ethernet cable serves the basic purpose to connect devices to the internet. The Ethernet cable provides high reliability, high speed, high flexibility, low cost, and easy-to-install advantages. This article focus on Ethernet cable.

What is Ethernet Cable?
Ethernet cable is the most common network cable type used with wired networks. It connects network devices such as PCs, routers, and switches within a local area network (LAN). The ethernet cable resembles a traditional phone cable but is larger and has more wires. The eight insulated copper wires are split up into four pairs, and the wires are twisted around each other within each pair to reduce signal interference.

Ethernet Cable Structure
The most common ethernet cable structure is the twisted pair cable. A twisted pair cable is a type of cable made by putting two separate insulated wires together in a twisted pattern and running them parallel to each other to improve electromagnetic compatibility.Twisted pair cable reduces electromagnetic radiation from the pair and crosstalk between neighboring pairs and improves the rejection of external electromagnetic interference.

Twisted pair cables are of two types: shielded (STP) and unshielded (UTP) . STP cable contains an extra foil wrapping or copper braid jacket to help shield the cable signals from interference and transport data faster. STP cables work by attracting interference to the shield, then running it off into a grounded cable. STP cables are foil-twisted pair (FTP) and shielded/foil twisted pair (SFTP).

UTP cable is low-cost network cable built with a pair of insulated conductors twisted together and covered with a plastic jacket for protection. It has no foil wrap shielding or braided shielding screen, which makes the cable smaller in diameter. 24 AWG (short for American Wire Gauge) is the most commonly seen size of UTP cables.


Ethernet Cable Types
The common types of ethernet cables include Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat8.

Category 5 (Cat5): is the older type of ethernet cable and made up of four twisted pairs of copper wire terminated by an RJ45 connector, which has a bandwidth of up to 100 MHz, and supports 10 or 100Mbps speed.

Category 5e (Cat5e): is an enhanced version of the Cat5 cable, which indicates a lower-noise version where the potential for crosstalk is reduced. The internal interference is lower because the cable has an average of two twists per centimeter, which allows it to transmit data without significant signal degradation. Cat5e supports networks up to 1 gigabit (1000 megabits per second) and comes in shielded varieties, performing better in reducing noise.

Category 6 (Cat6): consists of four pairs of twisted copper wire but features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. A Cat6 patch cord has a bandwidth capacity of 250 MHz, which has even stricter specifications when it comes to interference and provides speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

Category 6a (Cat6a) : The "a" in Cat6a stands for "augmented". Cat6a cable can maintain higher transmission speeds over longer network cable lengths. With a stronger sheathing, the Cat6a cable is better suited for industrial environments. However, compared to Cat6 cables, Cat6a cables are thicker and less flexible.

Category 7 (Cat7): contains four individually shielded pairs inside an overall shield, called Shielded/Foiled Twisted Pair (S/FTP) or Foiled/ Foiled Twisted Pair (F/FTP). Cat7 cable does well in reducing signal attenuation and it is relatively stiff when compared to the Cat5e or Cat6a cables. The newer "Class F" cable is an ideal choice for application environments where transmission of frequencies up to 600 Mbps is required.

Category 8 (Cat8) : is the latest IEEE standard in copper Ethernet cable. The Cat8 cable can eliminate crosstalk and enable higher data transmission speeds by wrapping each twisted pair in foil. Cat8 cable can support 25GB and 40GB Ethernet, which represents a significant leap in data transfer speed.


An ethernet cable is used in telephone networks, WiFi routers, TVs, computers, video, security cameras, data centers, etc.
Ethernet cable is simpler, more reliable, and faster than WIFI, supporting speeds of up to a gigabit per second on the most telephone, TVs, PCs, and security cameras. Sun Telecom has over 34 years of experience in supplying Ethernet cable products. Contact us if you have any needs.

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