When it comes to your business, you need dependable ways for communication with clients, consumers, prospects, and staff. This means that your networking must have reliable, trustworthy cables. Making an educated decision on this will help, but that can be overwhelming with the variety of cables there are to choose from. There are multiple factors that go choosing a cable such as the following: connector types, frequency, bandwidth, max length, and application. To start your journey of discovering the different options out there, it’s best to know the common types of cable that you can choose from for your business’ needs.
Broadly speaking, there are two categories of common types of cable for your networking: copper and fiber-optic. One of the biggest differences between these two cables is the way each transmits and receives data. Copper cable will transmit and receive data across the wire by using electricity; whereas, fiber-optic cable will use light pulses (via lasers or LEDs).
Let’s dive deeper into other difference between these two common types of cable
Your Oldest, Most Common Types of Cable Are Copper
Copper is one of the most common types of cable, and you may have already known that. These cables are typically in your home and connect your phones, modems, and computers. In copper cabling, you can break it into two subcategories of coaxial cables and twisted pair cabling. Coaxial cables are probably the ones in your home if you have a cable modem. The coaxial cable has a long, central conductor wire with a di-electric or insulating material surrounding it. A braided metal shield wraps around the insulation, which prevents electromagnetic interference (EMI) from occurring.
On the other hand, since the 80s, twisted pair cabling has been the common types of cable for networks. It is made of 4 or more twisted wires (that prevent cross talk) inside an outer jacket. These are typically used for telephones. There are two common types of cable within this subcategory of twisted pair cabling: shielded twisted pair (STP) and Unshielded twisted pair( UTP) cabling. Overall, you have a multitude of choices within the copper cabling category. They are reliable and have been around long enough to know the benefits and limitations it offers.
Your Long Distance-Friendly Cables Are Fiber-Optic
Due to fiber-optic cables using light pulses for data traveling, there is no risk of wiretapping or EMI. Since this network cabling is in pairs, one cable is solely used for transmitting while the other is used for receiving. This is why government agencies and other organizations who want to protect their data well will use a fiber-optic cable. Though copper cabling is one of the oldest and most common types of cable, fiber-optic offers benefits that copper simply cannot. Fiber-optic cabling can travel from 10 km up to 40 km without signal degradation; whereas, copper Ethernet cables can only travel a maximum of 100 m. There are two subcategories of fiber modes to choose from: multimode fiber mode (MMF) and single-mode fiber mode (SMF). The difference between the two is that MMF utilizes LEDs for light signals and SMF uses lasers. MMF is a great choice for shorter distances and SMF is best if you have a need for long distance connections.
Finding the best cabling for your needs can be challenging. Knowing the most common types of cable can give you a better scope of what may be best for you. We always recommend consulting with a professional before purchasing or installing any cabling. Tri-Tel can help you go through the decision process of what cabling will suit your company or site best (without breaking the bank). Call us today to find out more about what we offer!