Before you can really understand how cable networking works, you should be know about all kinds of cables and how they work. Each cable is different, and the type of cable used for a particular network needs to be related to the size, topology and protocol of the network.
Unshielded/Shielded Twisted Pair: The type of cable that is used for many Ethernet networks. There are four sets of pairs of wires inside the cable. There is a thick plastic separator that keeps each pair isolated through the run of cable. Each pair of wires are twisted so there will be no interference from other devices that are on the same network. The pairs are also twisted at different intervals so they will not cause interference between themselves. In an application where there is a lot of Electromagnetic Interference, such as a mechanical space, you may choose to use shielded twisted pair, which has an outer shielding that adds extra protection from EMI. Unshielded/Shielded Twisted Pair is
one of the most reliable types of cables, and when used, network failures are less common than when other cables are used.
Fiber Optic: Fiber Optic Cable is primarily used as backbone cable. By backbone cable i mean it connects Telecommunication Rooms within a space to each other. Fiber optic cable has huge broadband capacities which allow it to carry large amounts of information as super fast speeds. Fiber optic cables can cover great distances (hundreds of meters) as opposed to copper cable. Because these cables must work hard and the information travels such distance, there are many layers of protective coating on fiber optic cables. Fiber optic cables transmit light as opposed to electrical current. Fiber optic cable requires much less power than high speed copper does. Fiber optic cable is a great choice for high speed reliable communications.
Coaxial Cable: Coaxial cable usually falls under the scope of work of the network cabling installation contractor. Coax will be used for the cable television locations within the space you are cabling. The service provider will drop off the outdoor cable at the point of entry. The contractor will run an extension (usually RG-11) to the local telecom closet within the space. The individual station runs (RG-11) will terminate on a optical splitter to connect to the service cable. The center of this type of cable has copper conductor and a plastic coating that acts as an insulator between the conductor and the metal shield. This cable is covered with coating, which can vary in thickness. There are a few types of terminations for coax.
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