A wire or cable is an indispensable element in communication system for connecting optical devices like optical transceivers, router and switch. Recently the most common cable types deployed in communication system are fiber optic cable, twisted pair cable and coaxial cable. Both twisted pair cable and coaxial cable are copper cables, so what’s the difference between them? This article may help you sort it out.
Twisted pair cables as the names implies, consists of a pair of cables twisted together, which has been utilized in telecommunication field for a long time. The twisting can avoid noise from outside sources and crosstalk on multi-pair cables, so this cable is best suited for carrying signals. Basically, twisted pair cable can be divided into two types: unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) and shielded twisted-pair (STP).
UTP is for UNshielded, twisted pair, while STP is for shielded, twisted pair. UTP is what’s typically installed by phone companies and data communication (though this is often not of high enough quality for high-speed network use) and is what 10BaseT Ethernet runs over. However, STP distinguishes itself from UTP in that it consists of a foil jacket which helps to prevent crosstalk and noise from outside source. It is typically used to eliminate inductive and capacitive coupling, so it can be applied between equipment, racks and buildings.
Coaxial cable is composed of an inner solid conductor surrounded by a paralleled outer foil conductor that is protected by an insulating layer. A coaxial cable has over 80 times the transmission capability of the twisted-pair. Coaxial cable has also been the mainstay of high speed communication and has also been applied to network with 10 Gigabit links data centers, because it is proved to be cost efficient for short links within 10 m and for residential network.
Comparison Between Twisted Cable and Coaxial Cable
Most people now are quite familiar with what coaxial cables are, as they are used in almost every home for cable television connections. These data cables are also popular in local area networks (LAN) because they are highly resistant to signal interference, which also gives coax cables the ability to support longer cable lengths between two devices.
The biggest advantage of twisted cables is in installation, as it is often thinner than coaxial cables and two conductors are twisted together. However, because they are thinner, they can not support very long runs. These tightly twisted designs cost less than coaxial cables and provide high data transmission rates. They connect with the RJ45 connector, which looks similar to a telephone jack but is designed for twisted pair pins.
In the end, twisted pair cabling is better suited when cost and installation are an issue and if EMI and crosstalk are not too much of a problem. But for coaxial cable, it supports greater cable lengths, and can be shielded in a variety of ways—with a foil shield on each conductor, a foil or braid inside the jacket or a combination of individual conductor and jacket shielding.
Additional Information About Fiber Optic Cables
Besides Twisted and coaxial cables, here comes a new generation of transmission media—fiber jumper. Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables, which means they can carry more data. They are also less susceptible to interference. For these two reasons, fiber optic cables are increasingly being used instead of traditional copper cables despite that they are expensive. Nowadays, two types of fiber optic cables are widely adopted in the field of data transfer—single mode fiber optic cables and multimode fiber optic cables.
Single mode optical fiber is generally adapted to high speed, long-distance applications. While a multimode optical fiber is designed to carry multiple light rays, or modes at the same time, which is mostly used for communication over short distances. Optical fiber cables are also available in various optical connectors, such as LC to SC patch cord, LC to ST fiber cable, SC FC patch cord, etc. The picture above shows a LC to SC patch cord.
Some engineers confirm that fiber optic cables is sure to be the dominant transmission media in telecommunication field, while others hold that copper cables will not be out of the stage. Thus, whether to choose fiber optic cables, twisted cables or coaxial cables, it is advisable for you to have a full understanding of your application before selecting these data cables. All types of Ethernet cables as well as fiber optic cables are provided at FS.COM. Our Quick Order Tool will help you find what you need. If you have any requirement of our products, please send your request to us.