The Advantages And Disadvantages of Coaxial Cable, Twisted Pair And Optical Cable
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The Advantages And Disadvantages of Coaxial Cable, Twisted Pair And Optical Cable

Network cables are used in communication systems around the world. Using the correct cable will ensure the best performance of the network. Therefore, whether the correct cable is selected according to the requirements of the system will play a crucial role in whether the installed communication system can play an ideal use effect.

Each type of cable has different uses and has specific advantages. If the wrong cable is installed, it will not reach the ideal performance level of the system. When choosing the right cable for the network to achieve the best performance, there are many factors to consider, including:

  • surroundings

  • distance

  • bandwidth

  • transmission

  • capacity

Starting from the above five aspects, this article briefly summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of the three most commonly used cables, coaxial cable, twisted pair, and fiber optic cable.

Coaxial Cable

Its widespread use in countless homes has made coaxial cables a familiar sight for many people. It has been in use since the early 20th century, and cable operators, telephone companies, and Internet providers still use it to transmit data, video, and voice communications. It is known for its reliable and accurate transmission.

ethernet cable connected to a compartment port

The coaxial cable has an inner conductor surrounded by an insulating layer with a conductive shielding layer around it. For some applications, even the jacket of the cable may be insulated. The center conductor carries electrical signals. The shielding design of the cable allows rapid data transmission through the copper core without interference from environmental factors.

Coaxial cable assemblies are easy to install and very durable. Because the coaxial cable has the best performance in a short distance, it is very suitable for home installation and average capacity data transmission network. When using coaxial cables over long distances, signal loss is a disadvantage. And the signal leakage is easy to occur at the entrance or exit position, that is, the contact point between the male connector and the female connector. Leakage can cause distortion and blur the signal. During high usage rates, speed fluctuations in broadband networks also occur during data transmission.

Advantages of Coaxial Cable

  • Coaxial cable is very durable

  • Best performance in short-distance transmission

Disadvantages of Coaxial Cable

  • Long-distance signal loss is serious

  • Signal leakage at the connection

  • Speed fluctuation under heavy use

Twisted Pair

As the name implies, a twisted pair cable means to wind two or more separate insulated wires together and make them parallel to each other. Twisted pair has the characteristics of eliminating interference. Twisted pair cable reduces the impact of electromagnetic interference on electronic signals, so it is suitable for short-distance data and voice infrastructure. Compared with coaxial cable, it is also more flexible and easy to install.

white and blue twisted pair

Two types of twisted pair cables are used: shielded and unshielded twisted pair cables. Shielded twisted pair (STP) has a thin wire mesh surrounding the wire to protect the transmission. Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) does not. The latter is the more common of these two types and is used in Ethernet installations and is often used in residential and enterprise applications. Shielded cables are used in telephone networks and network and data communications to reduce external interference and crosstalk, and are designed to help ground. Of these two types of cables, UTP cables are cheaper than STP cables and have lower maintenance requirements because they do not rely on external shielding. Although UTP can transmit data as fast as STP cables, they are more susceptible to noise than STP cables.

Twisted pair cable is the most cost-effective choice for coaxial cables and optical fibers, but the bandwidth is also lower and the attenuation is higher, that is, the farther the distance, the worse the performance. They are also prone to wear and must be maintained regularly. It is best to use twisted-pair cables wherever there is no strong electromagnetic interference.

Advantages of Twisted Pair Cable

  • High-cost performance

  • Reliable and easy to install

  • Best performance in short distances

Disadvantages of Twisted Pair Cable

  • Higher attenuation

  • Susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI)

  • Low durability (must be maintained regularly)

Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables differ from coaxial cables and twisted pair cables in several ways. First, its core is fiber rather than copper, which is used in coaxial cable mostly. Even more impressive is that data is transmitted through light rather than electrical or electronic signals. Transmission can be transmitted with faster pulses over longer distances-26,000 times faster than twisted pair. The optical fiber is insulated in a protective plastic outer layer or a plastic coating in the pipe. Optical fibers are also flexible and can be bundled into cables, which makes them very advantageous for long-distance communication because compared with copper cables, the attenuation of light when transmitted through optical fibers is very small.

fiber optic cable

The optical fiber is connected by single-mode or multimode. The former allows only one mode of light to pass through the core at a time, resulting in higher bandwidth. The effect of this is to reduce the number of light reflections, thereby reducing attenuation and allowing data to be transmitted more quickly. Single-mode connections are used for CATV networks and telecommunications in universities, colleges, and other educational institutions.

The multi-mode fiber optic cable has a large core diameter, which can simultaneously transmit multiple modes of light.

The amount of light reflection passing through the core increases as the propagation increases, allowing more data to pass through. However, this does result in high dispersion, which means that the lower the bandwidth and the greater the attenuation, the worse the signal quality. Multimode connections are ideal for LANs, security systems, and other fiber optic networks, and can be used for high-speed communications over short distances.

Fiber optic cable is the most expensive of these three types of wiring. The optical fiber is fragile and easily cut or damaged during installation or construction. This also means that it is not as flexible as copper. If it is bent or twisted too much or the angle is wrong, it will break. Finally, data transmission over longer distances requires components such as EDFA to amplify the optical signal to add it to the network, further increasing costs. Despite these shortcomings, if within your budget, fiber optic cabling will be more efficient and have higher transmission capacity.

Advantages of Fiber Optic Cable

  • Can be bundled together

  • Better resistance to EMI

  • Performs well over long distances

Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Cable

  • More expensive

  • Difficult to install

  • Easy to be cut and damaged

Get in Touch

HONGSEN CABLE Headquarters
 No.1266, Jinxi Road (south), Linglong Industrial zone, Lin An, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, 311300,China
 Tel :+86-571-61070668
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