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An ethernet cable is a common type of networking cable. Ethernet cables connect various devices such as Personal Computers, routers, and switches within a local area. Certain limitations come with these cables like lengths and durability. The longer the cable, the weaker the signal would be. Let’s know more about these cables in this article.
The Outer Structure of an Ethernet Cable
An ethernet cable is just like a telephone cable but it is bigger and has more wires. Both of these cables are similar in shape but few differences set them apart. Ethernet cable comes with eight wires while a telephone cable has only two wires. Ethernet cables use larger connectors. These cables come in various colors but telephone cable comes only in one color.
Any ethernet or networking cable has an ethernet port which is bigger than the telephone port. These ports are on the back of the computer or the side of a laptop.
Categories of Ethernet Cable
There are many industry standards for these cables such as category 5, category 6, and category 7. These standards are also known as Cat5, Cat6, and Cat7 respectively. There are two basic forms of these cables:
Solid copper ethernet cables offer better performance and enhanced protection against electromagnetic interference. The common uses of this cable are business networks, wiring inside the offices, and in the lab floors.
The other type of these cables is a standard cable. These cables have a tough jacket and they are less prone to breaking and cracking. These Ethernet cables are ideal for travelers and outdoor installations.
Restrictions of Ethernet Cable
Certain limitations come with these cables. The length is one of the biggest issues. A single ethernet cable has a maximum distance capacity. You can use it for a certain distance before it starts to lose signals. The electrical resistance of a long cable affects its performance.
Both ends of an ethernet cable should be close enough to receive the signals quickly. There should be enough distance between ethernet cables and electrical cables to avoid any interference. This precaution, however, does not limit the size of a network. There is hardware like hubs and routers that can join multiple ethernet cables together on the same network. The distance between the two devices is known as the network diameter.
Every category of ethernet cables has different lengths before it starts to lose signals. Cat5 comes with a maximum length of 324 feet. Cat6 can go up to 700 feet without affecting the signal quality. These cables suffer a great deal of signal loss if they are passing by an electrical cable.
The length of these cables is different for both thin and thick ethernet cables. In the case of thin cables, the length limit is 600 feet while thick cables can go up to 1640 feet.
Wireless technologies are on the verge of completely replacing the ethernet cables. Technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are dominating the field. Many devices do not have any ethernet ports. These wireless technologies can be beneficial if the ethernet cables have limited reach.
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