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.

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 Optics Con: Vulnerable to radio and electrical frequencies
Category
Standard data rate
Usual application
CAT 1 No longer approved No longer approved
CAT 2 No longer approved No longer approved
CAT 3 16 Mbps Used predominantely for POTS Voice
CAT 4 No longer approved
No longer approved
CAT 5 No longer approved No longer approved
CAT 5E 1000 Mbps
(10000 Mbps prototype)
100 Mbps TPDDI
155 Mbps ATM
Gigabit Ethernet
Offers better near-end crosstalk than CAT 5
CAT 6 250 MHz Super-fast broadband applications
Vendor recommended, minimum required and most popular cabling for new installs
CAT 6E 500 MHz Required for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T)
CAT 7
(ISO Class F)

1 GHz per pair with Siemon connector
Full-motion video
Teleradiology
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 possible Con: The extra shielding makes it bulky
Coaxial Cabling
Shorthand: Thin coaxial is 10Base2; Thick coaxial is 10Base5
Pro: Good for TV/Video Con: 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 speeds Con: More expensive than twisted cable
This was first published in March 2006

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