The Wonderful World of Cabling


There are numerous types of cabling one can use. Coaxial cables, created in the 1880’s, typically connected television sets to home antennas and also supported 10Mbps Ethernet. These old cables suffer from stiffness, which created issues during installation. Twisted Pair Cables, invented in the 1990’s, started with 10Mbps (10BASE-T/Cat 3) and evolved into 100 Mbps (100BASE-TX/Cat 5). These cables contain up to 8 wires wound together in pairs. There are also 2 variations of this cable, Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Shielded Twisted Pair (STP). Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) offers lower cost while Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) can be used in Fiber networks such as FDDI (Fiber Distributed Data Interface).
Fiber Optics, the next form of cabling, uses strands of glass and light pulses to send and receive data. Although they are made of glass, they can still be moderately bent. These cables are used in WAN (Wide Area Network) installations due to its long distance and a large volume of data transference. Like Twisted Pair Cables, Fiber Optic cables come in 2 varieties, Single-Mode (100BaseBX standard) and Multi-Mode (100BaseSX standard). Single-Mode is generally used for long-distance telecommunications due to its high bandwidth capability, while local networks use Multi-Mode due to its lower cost. Next, USB (Universal Serial Bus) cables connect peripherals such as mice and keyboards to a computer. Also, Ethernet cables can be connected. USB cables use Twisted Pair wiring. Serial and Parallel cables were used in the 1980-1990’s. These “null model cables” featured data transfers between 0.115 and 0.45 Mbps. Finally, Crossover Cables connect 2 network devices of the same type. These devices can be PC’s or switches. However, these cables are not used often anymore since most networks use routers that have crossover capabilities built-in.
When deciding which cable works best, it really comes down to a couple things. The network environment, current, and future bandwidth requirements, and your budget should all be considered. Ideally, one should wish to go above and beyond the minimum network requirements if the cost can be managed. The top-performing cabling is gigabit Internet through the use of Fiber Optic cabling. However, this service can be expensive and isn’t available in all areas. When it comes to deciding which type of network and cabling one wishes to use, it is best to see what is available to you in your region and within your budget.
Burgress, Rick. (2013). Omaha next up for gigabit Internet, but it’s not Google Fiber. Retrieved from https://www.techspot.com/news/52451-omaha-next-up-for-gigabit-internet-but-its-not-google-fiber.html.
Moran, Joseph. (2013). Networking a Small Business Office from Scratch. Retrieved from http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/ProductReviews/Networking/networking-a-small-business-office-from-scratch.html.


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