Fast Guide

Fast Reference: Cabling

The second in a series of fast references, "Cabling" will give you an at-a-glance knowledge of the major types of cables, their basic pros and cons, and the shorthand for each type.

Fast Reference: Cabling
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable
Shorthand: 100BaseT
Pro: Less expensive than Fiber OpticsCon: Vulnerable to radio and electrical frequencies
Standard data rate
Usual application
CAT 1No longer approvedNo longer approved
CAT 2No longer approvedNo longer approved
CAT 316 MbpsUsed predominantely for POTS Voice
CAT 4No longer approved
No longer approved
CAT 5No longer approvedNo longer approved
CAT 5E1000 Mbps
(10000 Mbps prototype)
100 Mbps TPDDI
155 Mbps ATM
Gigabit Ethernet
Offers better near-end crosstalk than CAT 5
CAT 6250 MHzSuper-fast broadband applications
Vendor recommended, minimum required and most popular cabling for new installs
CAT 6E500 MHzRequired for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T)
(ISO Class F)

1 GHz per pair with Siemon connector
Full-motion video
Required for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T)
Government and manufacturing environments
Shielded system
Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cabling
Shorthand: 100BaseTX
Pro: Good for use when radio or electrical interference is possibleCon: The extra shielding makes it bulky
Coaxial Cabling
Shorthand: Thin coaxial is 10Base2; Thick coaxial is 10Base5
Pro: Good for TV/VideoCon: UTP/STP cable is cheaper, easier to install and offers higher speeds
Fiber Optic Cabling
Shorthand: 10BaseF
Most common is 50 micron laser
Pro: No problem with electrical interference, can transmit signal further than coaxial and twisted cable, and at faster speedsCon: More expensive than twisted cable

This was first published in March 2006

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