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Types of Ethernet Cable

Last Updated : 03 Apr, 2023
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An ethernet cable allows the user to connect their devices such as computers, mobile phones, routers, etc.; to a network that will allow a user to have internet access, it also carries broadband signals between devices connected through it.

Types of Ethernet Cables:

Mainly there are three types of ethernet cables used in LANs i.e., Coaxial cables, Twisted Pair cables, and Fiber optic cables.

1. Coaxial Cables: A coaxial cable is used to carry high-frequency electrical signals with low losses. It uses 10Base2 and 10Base5 Ethernet variants. It has a copper conductor in the middle that is surrounded by a dielectric insulator usually made of PVC or Teflon. The dielectric insulator is surrounded by a braided conducting metallic shield which reduces EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) of the metal and outside interference; and finally, the metallic shield is covered by a plastic covering called a sheath usually made of PVC or some other fire-resistant plastic material. Its maximum transmission speed is 10 Mbps. It is usually used in telephone systems, cable TV, etc.

Design:Coaxial cable design choices affect physical size, frequency performance, attenuation, power handling capabilities, flexibility, strength, and cost.It consists an inner conductor which might be solid or stranded surrounded by an insulator and, to provide flexibility, it is further surrounded by a copper mesh and which is further surrounded by a plastic or insulating jacket.

Coaxial Cable

Types of Coaxial cables:

  • Hardline coaxial cable is used in applications where high signal strength is required; this type is most commonly used. They are used in internet lines and telephone lines.
  • RG-6 Coaxial Cable is used where better signal quality is required; it has a thicker dielectric insulator, they are used in broadband internet, cable TV, etc.
  • Tri-axial Cable They offer more bandwidth and interference rejection; they use an additional copper braid shield. Commonly used in connecting cameras and cable TVs. Etc.

Types of Connectors used in Coaxial cable:

  • BNC (Bayonet Neil Concelman),
  • N series Connectors,
  • F Type connectors,
  • SMA or Subminiature connector,
  • TNC (Threaded Neil Concelman), etc.

2. Twisted Pair Cable: Twisted pair is a copper wire cable in which two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other to reduce interference or crosstalk. It uses 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T, and some other newer ethernet variants. It uses RJ-45 connectors.

Design:A twisted pair cable usually contains two or more conducting wires either shielded by an insulator or not and, further these twisted pairs of wires are coated for protection from any damage.

Twisted Pair Cable

Types of twisted pair cable:

  • Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable: In STP the wires are covered by a copper braid covering or a foil shield, this foil shield adds a layer that protects it against interference leaking into and out of the cable. Hence, they are used for longer distances and higher transmission rates.
  • Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable: Unshielded twisted pair cable is one of the most commonly used cables in computer networks at present time. UTP consists of two insulated copper wires twisted around one another, the twisting of wires helps in controlling interference.

Categories of UTP Cables: 






1.4 MHz   1 Mbps     Telephone wire


4 MHz   4 Mbps              Transmission Lines


16 MHz 16 Mbps   10BaseT Ethernet


20 MHz  20 Mbps   Used in Token Ring


100 MHz          100 Mbps    100BaseT Ethernet


100 MHz     1 Gbps     Gigabit Ethernet


100 MHz    1 Gbps   Gigabit Ethernet


250 MHz    10 Gbps   Gigabit Ethernet


600 MHz   10 Gbps        Gigabit Ethernet


1 GHz   Up to 10 Gbps    Gigabit Ethernet


2 GHz  25 Gbps to up to 40 Gbps  Datacenters

3. Fiber Optic Cable: Fiber optic cables use optical fibers which are made of glass cores surrounded by several layers of cladding material usually made of PVC or Teflon, it transmits data in the form of light signals due to which there are no interference issues in fiber optics. Fiber optics can transmit signals over a very long distance as compared to twisted pairs or coaxial cables. It uses 10BaseF, 100BaseFX, 100BaseBX, 100BaseSX, 1000BaseFx, 1000BaseSX, and 1000BaseBx ethernet variants. Hence, it is capable of carrying information at a great speed.

Design:An optical fiber consists of a core and a cladding, chosen for their total internal reflection due to the difference in refractive index between the two. In real optical fibers, the cladding is usually covered with a layer of acrylate or polyimide polymer. The coating protects the fiber from damage and several layers of protective sheathing, depending on the application, are added to form the cable.

Fiber Optic Cable

Types of Fiber Optics:

  • SMF (Single-mode fiber)- it uses one single ray of light to transmit data, it is used for long-distance transmission.
  • MMF (Multi-mode Fiber)- it uses multiple light rays to transmit data, it is comparatively less expensive.

Types of Connectors Used: Mainly these four connectors are used with fiber optic cable:

  • ST (Straight-tip) Connector
  • FC (Fiber Channel) Connector
  • SC (Subscriber) Connector
  • LC (Lucent) Connector

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