Solid Cable vs. Stranded Cable

As we know, bulk Ethernet cable can be divided into unshielded twisted cable (UTP) and shielded cable (STP) according to the structure of shielding. Apart from this, bulk Ethernet cable can also be divided into solid cable and stranded cable. These two types of bulk Ethernet cables have their individual features and advantages. As they can be easily found in Ethernet network applications, how much do you know about them? This article will mainly make a comparison between solid cable and stranded cable.

Overview of Solid and Stranded Cable

Solid cable is made up of a single and solid wire per conductor. That means in four twisted pairs cat6 cable reel, there are a total eight solid wires. This type of cable is used for home electrical cabling, cabling for breadboards and other situations where cables are not required to be constantly flexed. Stranded cable consists of multiple smaller-gauge wires wrapped around each other in each conductor. That is to say in a four twisted pairs Ethernet cable with seven strands per conductor, there are a total of fifty-six wires. This type of cable is typically used in situations where cables need to be routed into tight spaces or experience frequent flexing or vibrations. To better understand the difference of the inner structure between solid cable and stranded cable, here is a figure for you.

Solid cable and Stranded Cable

Comparison Between Solid Cable and Stranded Cable

With different structural designs, both solid cable and stranded cable have advantages and disadvantages. Hence, the following part will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of cables.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Solid Cable

Solid cable is often favored because of its cheaper production costs. It is simple but quite durable. With single and solid wire, solid cable is very easy to produce. Solid cable also has a much more compact diameter compared to stranded cable. Though the sized is reduced, it still has the same carrying ability as stranded cable. In addition, solid cable is less likely to fail due to the corrosion. However, one of the main problems with solid cable is that it is typically only available in small gauges. Also, if there is constant flexing or vibration, the cable would eventually wear down and break, resulting in the need for a replacement. Therefore, solid cable is not optimal for applications like robotics or vehicles that require a considerable amount of movement. The figure below shows the detail information about gray solid cat6 bulk cable 1000 ft from FS.COM and the price is about US$ 130.00, which is really a cost-effective option.

product datails about cat6 bulk cable 1000 ft

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stranded Cable

Stranded cable is easier to route in comparison to solid cable. It is very flexible. And stranded cable can withstand an incredible amount of vibrations and flexing without fatiguing and breaking. As a result, you won’t have to replace your stranded cables as often as will be necessary with solid cable. But stranded cable is more expensive. It is more costly to produce due to the more complex manufacturing process that is required to develop these intricate wires. Also, stranded cable is much more likely to fail as a result of corrosion from capillary action. In addition, stranded cable has a higher attenuation, so it is not suitable for long runs.

Conclusion

With the diversity and popularity of the bulk Ethernet cable, it is critical to choose the right type of cable for the network deployment. Like the two types of Ethernet cables mentioned above, the solid cable is less flexible but cheaper than the stranded cable, and it is less likely to fail due to the corrosion. If you want to make a permanent cabling, then the solid cable is a good choice for you which will save you a lot. But if your cabling network needs to move cables constantly, then you are strongly suggested to choose the stranded cable.

Understand 10GBASE-T in Depth

Today, the Ethernet cabling system market is dominated by 10G links. Although fiber optic cables become popular with the advantages of high data transmission rate and low latency, many IT departments still use copper cabling for switch-to-switch or switch-to-server connections in 10G Ethernet applications. As one major copper cabling technology applied for 10GbE, 10GBASE-T was released by IEEE 802.3an in 2006 which specifies 10Gbps data transmission over four-pair copper cabling. Then, how much do you know about it? This article will guide you to understand 10GBASE-T in depth from five aspects—reach, backward compatibility, power consumption, latency and cost.

Reach

10GBASE-T is able to reach transmission distances up to 100 meters, and Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, these three types of copper cables are commonly used with the 10GBASE-T standard. Cat6 bulk cable can perform at the bandwidth of up to 250 MHz, but it may reach only 55 meters at the speed of 10Gbps and 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions; Cat6a bulk cable is defined at frequencies up to 500MHz, and it can support the transmission distance over 100 meters at the speed of 10Gbps; Cat7 bulk cable can deliver 10G performance up to 600 MHz and at a distance of up to 100 meters. Here is a figure of a roll of cat6 cable.

roll of cat6 cable

Backward Compatibility

We know that Cat6 bulk cable, Cat6a bulk cable and Cat7 bulk cable are backward compatible with the Cat5 and Cat5e bulk cable standards, so these three types of cables can also be used for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T and 1000BASE-T applications, though a little overqualified. Moreover, 10GBASE-T is backward compatible with 1000BAE-T. Therefore, 10GBASE-T can be deployed in preceding 1GbE switch infrastructures in data centers that are cabled with Cat6, Cat6a or Cat7 cabling. This enables data center managers to save costs while upgrading the network to 10GbE.

Power Consumption

According to the study, the early physical layer interface chips (PHYs) consumed too much power for widespread adoption. The original gigabit chips were roughly 6.5 Warts per port. With the process of improvements, the chips are now under 1 Wart per port. In addition, the PHYs benefit a lot from the latest manufacturing processes in 10GBASE-T. And the technology will continue to reduce the power consumption of PHYs.

Latency

Depending on Ethernet packet size, the latency for 1000BASE-T ranges from below 1μs to over 12μs, while 10GBASE-T’s latency ranges from just 1μs to less than 4μs—a much tighten latency range. And with a larger packet size, 10GBASE-T’s overall throughput offers an advantage over 1000BASE-T, and the latency for 10GBASE-T is more than three times lower than that of 1000BASE-T. The 1μs latency of 10GBASE-T is of no consequence to most users. Only the most latent-sensitive applications such as High Performance Computer (HPC) or high frequency trading systems would be affected by normal 10GbE latency.

Cost

As for cost, copper cables are cheaper, which is one reason for their wide applications. Take cables of FS.COM for example, Cat6 cable 1000 ft is about US$ 130.00; Cat6a cable 1000 ft is about US$ 180.00; Cat7 cable 305m is about US$ 600.00. Though 10G SFP+ DAC Twinax Cable is about US$ 42.00, from the perspective of structured cabling, it has a limited distance (up to 10m), and is not as flexible or cost-effective as 10GBASE-T.

Conclusion

From the above content, we can learn that 10GBASE-T offers the lowest cost media, and is backward compatible with preceding 1GbE networks. It can not only satisfy the increased bandwidth needs, but also greatly simplify the network and lower power consumption by replacing multiple gigabit connections with a single or dual-port 10GbE connection. Hence, it is an idea choice for 10G Ethernet copper cabling. And I hope after reading this article, you can have a better understanding on 10GBASE-T. FS.COM provides cost-effective solution for your 10BASE-T Ethernet network deployment. If you want to know more details, please visit our site.

Difference Between Straight-Through Cable and Crossover Cable

It is well known that bulk Ethernet cable consists of four twisted pairs of copper wires and utilizes them to support data transmission between devices. To meet the demand of increasingly higher data rates and larger bandwidths, Ethernet cables have been upgraded constantly, from cat5, cat5e, cat6, cat6a to cat7. Although various types of Ethernet cables look the same, the internal wiring scheme distinguishes. With different wire arrangements inside the cables, Ethernet cables can be divided into straight-through cables and crossover cables. Then, what is the difference between them? This article will tell the answer.

Different Wiring Standards for Wire Arrangements

Before discussing the difference between straight-through cable and crossover cable, it is necessary to learn about two wiring standards—T568A and T568B, which can help you better understand the different wire arrangements inside these two types of cables. T568A and T568B wiring standards are recognized by ANSI, TIA and EIA for wiring Ethernet cables. Generally speaking, T568B is more widely used than T568A. And T568B is regarded as the default wiring scheme for twisted pair structured cabling. Here is a figure of T568A and T568B wiring standards, from which we can easily find that the only difference between T568A and T568B is the orientation of the green and orange wire pairs.

T568A and T568B

Comparison of Straight-Through Cable and Crossover Cable

As mentioned above, straight-through cable and crossover cable are designed with different wire arrangements for serving different purposes. Hence, the following part will focus on the comparison of these two types of cables from these two aspects.

Different Wire Arrangements

Straight-through cable uses one wiring standard. That means both ends of one straight-through cable use T568A wiring standard or T568B wiring standard. As for crossover cable, it uses two wiring standards: one end uses the T568A wiring standard, and the other end uses the T568B wiring standard. The internal wiring of crossover cables reverses the transmit and receive signals. For a better understanding of inner wire arrangements of straight-through cable and crossover cable, here are two figures for you.

Straight-through cable

Crossover cable

Different Applications

Straight-through cable is the most common type which is easy to find in stores. It is used to connect different type of devices, such as connecting a computer to a switch/hub’s normal port or a cable/DSL modem’s LAN port; a router’s WAN port to a cable/DSL modem’s LAN port; a router’s LAN port to a switch/hub’s uplink port (normally used for expanding network); 2 switches/hubs with one of the switch/hub using an uplink port and the other one using normal port. While crossover cables may be a little harder to find since they aren’t used nearly as much as straight-through cables. They are usually used to connect the same type of devices, like connecting 2 computers directly; a router’s LAN port to a switch/hub’s normal port (normally used for expanding network); 2 switches/hubs by using normal port in both switches/hubs.

Conclusion

Straight-through cable and crossover cable are structured with different wire arrangements and used for different applications. The straight-through cable is usually used for connecting two different kinds of devices, while the crossover cable is commonly used to connect the same type of devices. If you want to distinguish these two types of cables, you can just have a look at the order of the colored wires inside the RJ45 connector. If the color orders of the wires are the same on both ends, it means it is a straight-through cable. If not, it’s mostly like a crossover cable or there may be a wiring error inside the cable. At present, straight-through cable is much more popular than crossover cable and is widely used by people. FS.COM provides a full range straight-through bulk Ethernet cables with many colors and lengths options, such as red cat5e cable 1000 ft. If you want to know more details, please visit our site.

UTP Cable vs. STP Cable

It is well known that twisted pair cable consists of a pair of insulated wires twisted together, which is widely used for Ethernet cable. In general, there are several types of twisted pair cables, such as, UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable, STP (shielded twisted pair) cable, SSTP (screened shielded twisted pair) and FTP (foil twisted pair). Among these cables, UTP and STP are the two most commonly used cables which occupy the majority of the market. Are you familiar with UTP cable and STP cable? What is the difference between UTP and STP cables? Which one is better? If you don’t have enough knowledge of these two kinds of cables, you may feel confused when you plan to buy bulk Ethernet cables. As it is necessary to make a choice between UTP and STP cables for deploying the network, this article is going to introduce these two kinds of twisted pair cables in details, seeking the answer.

What Is UTP Cable?

From its name, it is easy to learn that UTP cable has no shielding. Considering that the shielding feature is mainly designed to reduce Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), does the UTP cable have this function if put into use? In fact, UTP cable reduces the interference directly through the twisted pairs inside the cable. Furthermore, without shielding, UTP cable is thinner, lighter, more flexible and more durable than STP cable, which makes cable installation easier, especially in limited space. In addition, not relying on an outer shield, less money will be spent on the maintenance of UTP cable, which is beneficial to save the investment on installation and maintenance. To better understand the inner structure of UTP cable, here is a figure for you.

UTP Cable

What Is STP Cable?

STP cable has a metal shield around each twisted pair which is composed of copper tape, a layer of conducting polymer or a braid (made of copper or aluminum mostly). The shield can be applied to each pair of the cable or to all pairs together. With the shield, EMI can be greatly reduced, which enables the high performance of data transmission between different devices. Also, the crosstalk can be efficiently prevented by the shield, which exists among the wires inside the cable. However, the shield of STP cable is quite fragile and rigid. If the shield suffers damage, the cabling system is likely to be affected by interference. Therefore, it is necessary to pay much attention to the installation and maintenance of STP cable. You can learn more about the structure of STP cable from the figure below.

STP Cable

Applications

Due to different characteristics, the two kinds of cables are used in different environment.

STP cables are often used in high EMI environment where interference is a risk. For example, airports, hospitals and factories usually have lots of machines that can produce interference, so it would be more beneficial to apply STP cables. And STP cables are also useful when cables are surrounded by fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, powerful motors and other equipment with larger electromagnetic interference.

UTP cables are typically used in offices and homes. If the interference or crosstalk is not the main concern, it is suggested to choose UTP cables which are lower in cost. But if the environment is full of powerful magnetic fields which may have an influence on the performance of network, STP cables are absolutely the optimal choice.

Conclusion

After discussion, we can learn that UTP cable is cheaper, easier to install and more suitable for environment with low EMI; while STP has a stronger ability for anti-interference and needs careful maintenance. If the place you deploy network has high EMI, STP cable is highly recommended; if the EMI is not a risk, you are suggested to choose UTP cable which is lower in cost. I hope this article can help you choose the suitable Ethernet cable. There are different types of Ethernet cables available in FS.COM, such as UTP bulk cat5e cable, STP bulk cat6 cable, UTP cat6a bulk cable, STP cat7 bulk cable and so on. If you want to know more details, please visit our site or contact us.

Cat6 VS. Cat6a

As the data speed increases from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet, cables for the network connection are also required to be improved. Cat6 and Cat6a are two kinds of copper cables for Gigabit Ethernet. Do you know which one you should use, Cat6 or Cat6a? Could these two types replace each other? Now this article will tell the difference from five aspects: crosstalk, thickness, transmission distance, cost and durability. First, let’s come to the overview of Cat6 and Cat6a cables.

Overview of Cat6 and Cat6a

Cat6 is a standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet and it is backward compatible with the Cat3, Cat5 and Cat5e cable standards. In addition, Cat6 provides performance of up to 250 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet), and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet). Cat6a is the “Augmented” version of Cat6 and offers better performance. It is defined at frequencies up to 500MHz—twice than that of Cat6, and it is popular among 10G Ethernet applications. Here is a figure of Cat6 and Cat6a cable.

Cat6 vs. Cat6a

Comparison Between Cat6 and Cat6a

The name of Cat6a indicates that it was created to further improve on the performance of Cat6 for Ethernet cables. So what are the differences between them? This part will focus on the comparison between Cat6 and Cat6a cables from from four aspects: crosstalk, thickness, transmission distance and cost.

Crosstalk

We know that Cat6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise, while Cat6a cable is stricter when it comes to shielding and protection against alien crosstalk. Crosstalk occurs when the signal from one cable leaks into another. This can distort the signal through the introduction of noise and force the network devices to work at a slower speed. Because of this, Cat6a cables would work better in situations where it is to be bundled with a lot of other cables.

Thickness

Another identifying characteristic of the Cat6a cable is its thickness. Cat6 looks just like the Cat5 and Cat5e cables that preceded it. Cat6 cable manufacturers had to come up with approaches to adjust to the stricter alien crosstalk shielding, thereby making it thicker with others adopting odd shapes. While Cat6a cable is slightly thicker than Cat6 cable.

Transmission Distance

Cat6 cable can reach 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short distances. But it can support only 55 meters at the speed of 10Gbps and 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions. While Cat6a cables can support the distance over 100 meters at the speed of 10Gbps.

Cost

The cost of Cat6a is higher than that of Cat6. Take Fiberstore’s cables as an example, bulk Cat6 cable 1000ft(305m) is 130.00 US$, while bulk Cat6a cable 1000ft(305m) is 180.00 US$. The more cables you purchase, the bigger the price difference will be. And the price difference is not only caused by the cable. Other matched connection components should also be considered.

Durability

As mentioned above, Cat6a cable is thicker and heavier than Cat6 cable. Cable trays can not hold as many Cat6a cables as Cat6 cables. When laying cables on the trays, you should better not bend cables too much as this can damage the wiring and influence network performance. The minimum radius that a cable can be bent without damaging is called the bend radius. The lower the bend radius, the more you can bend the cable. As Cat6a cable is bulkier than Cat6, Cat6a cable has a larger bend radius than Cat6 cable.

Conclusion

From this article, you can make a clear identification of Cat6 and Cat6a cables. When you plan to purchase this copper cable, you need to consider their differences like crosstalk, thickness, transmission distance, cost and durability, etc. Hope you can choose the suitable cable and build a high performance network.