Ethernet cables have always been an integral part of the networking field. These cables have evolved with time and that is their biggest success. An Ethernet cable is a pillar of any local area network. There are many types of Ethernet network cabling. All these types or categories have different qualities like data transfer rate, outer jacket, internal wiring, and many others.
If you are new to the network industry, it would bode well with you if you have a basic understanding of these cables. In this article, we’ll explain what an Ethernet cat6 plenum cables cable is and we’ll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these cables. So let’s start, shall we?
Definition of Ethernet Network Cabling
Ethernet cables have become popular since the inception of the internet. People use these cables all around the world for wired networks. You can also use them to connect other devices like computers and routers. But like everything else, these cables also have some limitations. You cannot rely on them for long-distance connections. It would affect the quality and strength of your signals and connections. That is the reason that manufacturers have developed certain cables for specific tasks.
Now that you have the basic idea about the Ethernet cable and what it is used for, let’s move on to the next point of this discussion.
What is the Overall Purpose of Ethernet Cables?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions about Ethernet cables. As we have mentioned earlier, these cables have one purpose and that is connection. You can use them to connect various devices, computers, gaming consoles, switches, and routers. You can use them in your local area network. These cables are a basic unit of any network.
To serve this purpose in a better way, the manufacturers over the years have worked hard to develop efficient cables with faster speed and secure connections.
What are the Types of Ethernet Cable?
This is yet another question that people repeatedly. There are many types of Ethernet cables including cat4, cat5, cat6, and cat7. Cat is the shorter form of the category. The types and categories are the same when it comes to Ethernet cables. Some of the most popular cable types are cat6, cat6a, and cat7.
The main reason for this popularity is the speed and superior connectivity. But these categories of cat6 solid copper cables are ideal for commercial purposes like in a giant network. That is why these cables are a tad bit expensive. If you are looking to buy a cable for your home network, you can get cat5e and it would be perfectly fine. This cable would be well within your budget.
Many factors separate these categories. But data transfer rate is the main factor that creates the difference among these types. Older categories had lower data transfer rates but the newer cables have remarkable frequencies. You can get up to 10Gbps speed with newer categories like cat6a and cat7.
Do All Cables have the Same Internal Structure?
The answer is no. The general structure is almost the same with every cable but there are some tweaks. Each cable has copper wires twisted together. If the cable has pure copper then it would be known as solid copper like cat6 solid copper. But some manufacturers use an alloy of copper-clad aluminum. This alloy can have some effect on performance.
There is a total of eight wires twisted together to form four pairs. The currents move in the opposite directions in these pairs to cancel out the effect. These pairs are tightly twisted to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic interferences. Crosstalk is a phenomenon that occurs when signals from two passing by cables interact with each other. This can compromise the integrity of data packets.
Difference between Shielded & Unshielded Cables
Ethernet cat6 cable 1000ft network cabling can be further divided into two categories; shielded & unshielded. The shielded cables have an extra layer of foil around the internal pairs. This type of cable is ideal for networks where there are many electric cables in close vicinity. You can use these cables for big data centers and they would not compromise the data. But these cables are expensive compared to the unshielded cables.
Unshielded cables do not have that extra layer of protection in them. These cables are ideal for home networks with fewer cables in close range. Not to mention that these cables are affordable.
Why Do Cables have Different Jacket Types?
You need to know about the outer jacket of an Ethernet cable. These jackets are as much important as the internal structure of the cable. There are usually three types of jackets; plenum, riser, and PVC.
Plenum-rated cables are ideal for plenum spaces of any building. These are horizontal spaces that have regular airflow. This presence of air makes them dangerous if a fire breaks out. Plenum cables would burn slowly with less toxic fumes in an event of a fire. The jacket type is included in the name of the cable like cat6 plenum.
Riser-rated cables are good to go in riser spaces of your building. These are vertical spaces. You can use a plenum cable in a riser space but not the other way around. It would cost you if you don’t follow these guidelines.
PVC or polyvinyl chloride is an outdoor cable. These cables technology have a great threshold for extreme temperatures and various weather conditions.
We hope that these questions will be helpful the next time you want to buy some Ethernet network cabling.