Major Facts about Network Cabling
It's no secret that internet service has transformed the business world. With the availability of network cabling in New York, local businesses, residences, and other properties are able to access the internet and work online more quickly and easily than ever before. It's worth considering some well-known facts about network cabling, so you know what to expect today and can be ready for the trends that will shape the information superhighway of tomorrow.
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)
The most common type of network cabling for ethernet is known as unshielded twisted pair or UTP cabling. It was already well-established as a cable for telephone systems with standards established by AT&T. Today, UTP is the most popular type of cabling used for data networking. The metal inside the cables is copper, usually measuring around 22 or 24 American Wire Gauge (AWG). The insulation is generally either polyethylene or fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP). The bundled wires are also covered in a polyethylene jacket. These twisted pairs of cables can come in even larger bundles featuring hundreds or even thousands of pairs. When gathered this way, the groupings are usually divided into smaller bundles. As the name implies, the wires are twisted together, but bundles with the same twist may experience crosstalk. Thanks to its lower cost, UTP is frequently used for data networks. UTP is ideal for short or medium-length connections.
Types of Cabling
Category 3, or Cat 3, was the earliest successful implementation of UTP cabling. Today, it's used for voice or lower-speed data applications. Cat 3 is rated for a maximum of 10 Mbps, which makes it insufficient for higher-speed data networks. Although Category 4 technically was developed, it never achieved the popularity or wide usage of Cat 3 or Cat 5. When it's used, Cat 4 is also for voice and lower-speed data. It has a maximum of 16 Mbps speeds.
As ethernet speeds continued to improve, Category 5 (Cat 5) became the industry standard. It's still widely used today. In fact, Cat 5 was the most widely used UTP cabling for high-speed data networks. Cat 5 runs at a maximum of 100 Mbps, which for many years, was more than adequate. Today, networks commonly operate at even faster speeds, so improvements obviously had to be made.
Category 5e (Cat 5e) was the solution. With higher speeds being demanded, Cat 5e improves on Cat 5 by revising and introducing new specifications. These changes help to mitigate crosstalk. However, the bandwidth (100MHz) is the same as Cat 5, and most Cat 5e cables are backward compatible with Cat 5. Gigabit ethernet is fast becoming the industry standard. With Cat 5e, the life of Cat 5 cable is extended for several years. The Cat 5e UTP cabling is rated to operate at a maximum speed of 1,000 Mbps or 1 gigabit.
Cat 5e has already taken Cat 5 to its absolute limits. With 10-gigabit ethernet assumed to be the new standard in the coming years, Category 6 (Cat 6) has been developed to meet the need. Cat 6 cable has a maximum length of 55 meters when used for 10-gigabit ethernet. However, Cat 6A is an improvement and has an increased bandwidth of 500MHz. It may run for a maximum distance of 100 meters.
Considerations and Standards
Today, Cat 5e is recommended for most new installations, unless you're planning to future-proof your network for 10-gigabit ethernet. Structured cabling in NYC will undoubtedly continue to improve and advance. Contact Maximum Cabling at 718-414-2426 if you have any questions or if you would like a recommendation.