Twisted Pair Cable Types

By | August 17, 2022



Since its invention in 1881, twisted pair cables have become the go-to form of wiring for virtually all kinds of data communication applications. This family of cables consists of two insulated copper wires twisted together to minimize interference and improve signal quality. Twisted pair cables are widely used in both home and commercial networking applications due to their cost-effectiveness, easy installation, and great performance. Let’s take a look at the four main types of twisted pair cables currently available on the market.

The first type of twisted pair cable is unshielded twisted pair (UTP). This is the most popular type of cable, mainly due to its affordability. UTP cables range from Cat5e to Cat6a and have different ratings for performance, such as power-over-Ethernet (PoE) or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GigE). The most common UTP cables used for home/small business networks are Cat5e and Cat6 cables. They provide excellent connectivity for voice and data transfer at a great value.

The second type of twisted pair cable is shielded twisted pair (STP). This is the same as UTP, but it features an extra layer of shielding that provides extra protection against noise interference. STP is more expensive than UTP and is best suited for harsh environments or long cable runs, such as in industrial applications. STP cables range from Cat7 to Cat8 and have higher ratings than UTP.

The third type of twisted pair cable is augmented category cables, which are a combination of UTP and STP. The extra layer of shielding protects against noise interference, while the additional insulation increases bandwidth and reliability. Augmented category cables are ideal for high performance applications, such as video streaming and multimedia content.

Finally, plenum cables are specially designed for use in air-circulating spaces and buildings, such as elevators, offices, and homes. Plenum cables have a fire-resistant jacket and are mostly used for low-voltage data transfers. Plenum cables are slightly more expensive than regular UTP cables, but they provide a greater level of protection against fires and noise interference.

With so many different types of twisted pair cables available, it’s important to do your research and select the right one for your needs. Whether you choose UTP, STP, augmented categories, or plenum cables, you can rest assured that you will get a reliable solution for your data communication requirements.


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