Coaxial, Twisted Pairs, Fiber Optic: Network Cables

In networking, communication cables are used to transfer data between the network and connect devices with each other devices. There are three major types of communication cables that are used in computer networking. They are coaxial cables, twisted-pair cables, and fiber optic cables. Choosing cables are mainly depends on the network needs and network topology.

01. Coaxial cables

 Co-axial cable consists of four main parts. The main parts of a coaxial cable are the outer plastic sheath, woven copper shield, inner dielectric insulator, and copper core. The copper core is covered by the inner dielectric insulator. The woven copper shield can be seen around the inner dielectric insulator. The outer plastic sheath is used to cover the woven copper cable and gives protection to these cables. 

Coaxial cables can transmit high-frequency signals up to 500 meters without interruption. In general coaxial cables are used to transmit digital video signals and cable and satellite tv. Because of the woven copper cable in the coaxial cable has a high sound immunity. Because of that, signal interruptions due to the external noise are minimal. 

Advantages of coaxial cables

  • Easy to install.
  • Easy to locate.
  • Can transfer data to more distance than twisted-pair cables.
  • Very durable.

Disadvantages of coaxial cables

  • Speed is low.
  • Signals can be lost in the long distance.
  • Expensive.

02. Twisted-pair cables

Two separated insulated copper cables are twisted parallelly together to make these cables. The copper wires are twisted in these cables to reduce the electromagnetic radiation between neighboring pairs and improve the rejection of external electromagnetic interference.  

There are two types of twisted-pair cables. They are shielded-twisted pair cables(STP) and unshielded twisted-pair cables(UTP). In shielded twisted-pair cables, there is a metal shield to cover the twisted cables. STP cables are used for the token ring networks. In unshielded twisted-pair cables, there is no metal shield around the twisted cables. UTP cables are more suitable for ethernet networks. These cables are mainly used for telephone communication and ethernet network. A twisted-pair cable can transmit data to 100 meters without interrupting up to 10 Gbps speed.

Advantages of twisted-pair cables

  • Easy to install.
  • Have the best performance in short-range data transmitting than coaxial cables.
  • Cheaper than coaxial cables.

03. Fiber-optic cables

The fiber cables are made out of a fiberglass tube which is thicker than hair. These fiber glasses are coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube. Fiber optic cables transmit the data as pulses of the light. Because of this, fiber optic cable can transmit 200 Gbps up to 80km. 

There are two types of fiber optic cable as single-mode fiber and multimode fiber. Single-mode fiber optical has a small core, and multimode fiber cables come with a larger core. Fiber cables are mostly used for high-speed telecommunication networks, deep-sea data transaction cables etc. The cables are used in deep-sea are protected with a metal core. It will protect the cable from sharks, ship anchors etc.

Advantages of fiber cables

  • Speed.
  • It can use in underwater.
  • Cheaper than copper cables.

Disadvantages of fiber cables

  • Installation is complex.
  • Need more protection.
  • Can be broken.

Additional Readings

Computer Networks: Everything You Need To Know

Network Devices: Switch, Router ,Bridge

Uses Of Computer Networks In Education Sector

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