Ethernet cables are alternatives to Wi-Fi. They connect your computer device to a Wi-Fi router with a physical, wire-based connection to offer you a faster and stabler connection compared to a wireless internet connection.
Even as we move towards an age of wireless, many people out there are happy to give up the perks of wireless connections to get faster and stabler connections- Hence the popularity of ethernet cables.
If you’re intrigued and considering buying an ethernet cable, this article is for you. Here, we will quickly walk you through the different types of ethernet cables and their respective usage so that you can choose the one which best suits your needs.
Types of Ethernet Cables
In general, there are three major types of ethernet cables. Namely, these are:
- Twisted pair
- Fiber optics
- Coaxial connections
Coaxial cables have an inner conductor that runs through the wire’s core, surrounded by layers of insulation material. Such insulation is to ensure that the wire remains protected from any sort of interference from the outside. These cables usually come in two varieties- thinnet and thicknet, which differ from each other in terms of thickness and cost. Both these varieties, however, transmit data to a maximum speed of 10 Mbps.
While coaxial cables used to be commonly used in computer networks, they are largely obsolete today- twisted pair cables (see next section) replaced them.
The twisted pair cable is structured exactly what it sounds like- it has four pairs of twisted wires whirling around each other. Such cable is not only effective in canceling outside interference but also great at minimizing crosstalk between wires.
Because of these benefits, twisted-pair cable is still commonly used today in LANs (or Local Area Networks).
These cables are used for internet connections and wired telephones, and it comes in two main varieties, namely, UTP (unshielded twisted pair) and STP (shielded twisted pair). The difference? STP cables just come with an additional layer of insulation that offers better protection from outside interference compared to UTP wires.
Fiber Optic Cables
You might’ve heard of this one before. Fiber optics are pretty popular today for the speed and strength with which they transmit data. These cables are able to attain such speed because they transmit data in the form of light signals. Making them the fastest among the three types of cables we’ve discussed.
It doesn’t stop here, though. Fiber optics cables also support greater cable lengths than other cable types we’ve discussed. They are the most effective among the three in securing your data from outside interference.
These plus points, of course, come with the drawback that these cables tend to be significantly more expensive than the other two cable types, but if you’re wondering whether it’s worth the price? We think so.
Fiber optics cables come in two varieties as well:
- Single-mode fiber (or SMF) – SMF cables are used for longer data transmission distances. As the name suggests, they carry data using only a single light ray.
- Multi-mode fiber (or MMF) – This cable uses multiple light rays to carry data and tends to be less expensive than SMF cables.
Here is a list of the four main types of connectors used in fiber optic cable:
- LC (straight tip connector)
- SC (subscriber connector)
- FC (fiber channel)
- ST (lucent connector)
In summary, while ethernet cables restrict you to a very small radius around your internet router, they offer your stronger and faster internet connections.
There are three major types of ethernet cables: coaxial, fiber optic, and twisted cable. While coaxial cable is mostly obsolete, twisted pair and fiber optic cable are still widely used today.
Fiber optics are the most widely used form of ethernet cables, and they are popular because they offer stronger and more securer connections over the longest distances. They may be a bit more costly than the rest, but their perks justify the cost.