Data cabling helps transfer electronic information efficiently from one source to another.
Without it, you would not be able to access the Internet and share work and data with your employees. Previously, data cables were only used in large business corporations. But, thanks to technological advances, today, it has become affordable and is an efficient networking system for startups and small-sized businesses.
If you are planning to use a structured cabling system for your newly-opened business, proper knowledge of data cables is an absolute must. We have explained all the different types of data cables and their various uses in this informative guide, so without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Types Of Data Cables And Their Uses
There are three main types of data cables:
1. Twisted Pair
Computer networks and telecommunications primarily use twisted pair data cables. They feature two copper cores having separate plastic insulation that are twisted together.
While one wire is used as a ground reference, the other helps transmit the signal. Since the wires are twisted, both are equally unaffected by outside influences, which prevents communications from getting affected by signal degradation.
Twisted pair data cables can be divided into two main categories: STP (shielded twisted pair) and UTP (unshielded twisted pair). As far as the STP cable is concerned, it features an extra metal shield that covers the insulated conductors, whereas this shield is not present in UTP data cables.
The UTP data cable is divided into seven main categories depending on the quality of the cable.
A coax data cable is mainly used in computer networks that are a bit older and carry higher frequency signals when compared to twisted-pair cables. Additionally, it features a core conductor made from a solid wire in an insulating layer, enclosed by an outer conductor shield.
Even though coax data cables have higher bandwidth, they have a higher attenuation (noise on the network) when compared to twisted-pair cables. They are commonly used in telephone cable networks where just one cable can carry data worth 600 Mbps.
Other than that, coax cabling uses a BNC connector, which connects the cable with a device, and cables are classified by radio government (RG) ratings. While RG-11 is used for thick ethernet cabling, RG-58 and RG-59 are used for thin ethernet and cable TV, respectively.
3. Fibre Optic
Last but not least, we have fibre optic data cables, which telecommunication companies extensively use to offer fast internet connections. They carry data signals through glass and light, making them efficient and reliable. Since signal degradation or attenuation is low in fibre optic cables, they provide high speed and bandwidth without any hindrance caused by electromagnetism.
The light channel comprises two parts: cladding and core, with the cladding offering protection to the core by working as a cover.
We must also mention that fibre optic cables are extremely lightweight and do not suffer from signal degradation issues like the two other types of data cables. That said, it’s worth noting that they are a bit fragile due to their glass construction and tend to be more expensive.
Fibre optic cable utilises two main modes of light propagation: single and multimode. While multimode fibre supports several simultaneous light modes, a single mode can propagate only one light mode.
How Can You Use Data Cabling In Your Business
Structured data cabling can help take your business to the next level in these ways:
1. Enhancing Scalability
When you install a structured data cabling network for your business, it ensures that the telecommunications and the IT systems have enough room for growth down the road. Also, considering the compatibility of data cables, they can help make your systems futureproof. Suffice to say, data cabling is an absolute must for enhancing scalability in businesses today.
2. Improving Competitiveness
In this tech-driven day and age, data cabling solutions have allowed businesses to become more competitive.
For instance, the growing popularity of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has enabled telecommunication services to utilise a single data source for both internet and telephone connections. Thus, it increases both the space and efficiency of your IT system, allowing you to grow the business.
The most advantageous feature of data cables is that they help connect numerous devices to a central system, allowing data to pass seamlessly from one point to another. From network servers to photocopiers, pretty much every piece of equipment in your business can greatly benefit from structured data cabling.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here, we have answered a couple of commonly asked questions to help clear your doubts.
Q1. Can you install Cat6 in your home?
It would be a great idea to install Cat6 in your home as it carries more data and offers better speed than Cat5e.
Q2. Is it possible to use a Cat6 cable on a Cat5 network?
Yes, you can use a Cat6 on a Cat5 network. But keep in mind that Cat5 cables cannot be used on Cat6 networks as the latter has higher performance requirements, which Cat5 may not fulfil.
With that, we have come to the end of our guide; hopefully, it has helped you learn quite a bit about data cabling.
Before we wrap up, here are a couple of things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, know that data cabling is not a DIY task, unlike other electrical tasks, like putting back a tripped breaker or repairing a toaster. It requires good knowledge of electrical wiring and fiber optic cables.
Make sure that you contact a licensed professional offering data cabling services and ask them to do the job. It is also worth noting that it could take a few hours for the data cabling to be up and running, so be patient.
That’s all for today. Hope to see you soon.