Twisted Cable Pair
Basic Networking

Twisted Cable Pair in Networking – Full Explained

A twisted cable pair is a pair of two wires or conductors interwoven together in a twisted form. The purpose of interweaving them is to improve electromagnetic compatibility. It is an alternative for the coaxial cable and is preferred over it because it has a more bend radius.

It was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881 who is today most famous for inventing the first working telephone. The invention of twisted cable pair is also related to the telephones because it was invented to counter the problem of single earth wires not being able to work properly because they were aligned together for miles and it created signal interference and noise.

Types of twisted cable pair

  1. Unshielded Twisted Pair – UTR cable consists of 2 – 1,800 unshielded twisted pairs of wires wrapped in an upper layer or jacket. These wires inside the upper layer have no metallic shield to decrease them in diameter in order for them to occupy less space it makes them vulnerable to electric interference. This is where these twisted wires come to the rescue.
  2. The twists increase the wires’ immunity to Electromagnetic Interference and Electric noise. This wire is used in telephone service and Local Area Networks (LANs).
UTP Category DATA RATE MAX. LENGTH CABLE TYPE APPLICATION
CAT1 Up to 1Mbps Twisted Pair Old Telephone Cable
CAT2 Up to 4Mbps Twisted Pair Token Ring Networks
CAT3 Up to 10Mbps 100m Twisted Pair Token ring & 10Base-T Ethernet
CAT4 Up to 16Mbps 100m Twisted Pair Token Ring Networks
CAT5 Up to 100Mbps 100m Twisted Pair Ethernet, FastEthernet, Token Ring
CAT5e Up to 1Gbps 100m Twisted Pair Ethernet, FastEthernet, GigaBit Ethernet
CAT6 Up to 10Gbps 100m Twisted Pair GigaBitEthernet, 10G Ethernet (55meters)
CAT6a Up to 10Gbps 100m Twisted Pair GigaBitEthernet, 10G Ethernet (55meters)
CAT7 Up to 10Gbps 100m Twisted Pair GigaBitEthernet, 10G Ethernet (100 meters)

 

  1. Shielded Twisted Pair – These were originally designed by International Business Machines (IBM) for token ring networks. What distinguishes STP cable from UTP cable is that each pair of wires in STP cable is coated with either braided copper wire or foil, unlike UTP cable. STP cable with braided copper wire is heavier and more expansive than the foil-coated wire cable.

More expensive than the Unshielded Twisted Pair cable, Shielded Twisted Pair supports higher transmission rates over the long-distance and provides better protection from crosstalk and Electromagnetic Interference.

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