You must have heard the name of ethernet cables. They are found everywhere nowadays.
And are extremely important in establishing internet connections. You might be well aware of their fame, but do you know what ethernet cables are?
To clarify this term for you, here is a guide. Let us explore ethernet cables through different aspects.
What are Ethernet Cables?
Ethernet is one of the latest technologies for connecting different devices. It is commonly used in local area networks (LAN) to connect all the computers or devices present in that area. It helps these devices to share data, files, and information seamlessly.
In this era of crowded networks, what is better than an efficient file sharing system! These cables are built specifically.
And they can be connected to only those devices which have special ports. The special ports that support ethernet cables are called ethernet ports.
Nowadays, because of the wide usage of ethernet cables, ethernet ports are installed in numerous devices, such as TVs, computers, routers.
Though some will criticize that the use of wire cables in today’s digital era would be a little outdated, it can work brilliantly for devices that aren't moved much.
Moreover, when talking about the efficiency, speed, and reliability of the connection, there can be no better option than ethernet cables.
What is the Configuration of Ethernet Cables?
Now that you are acquainted with the basic introduction of ethernet cables, you might want to know what ethernet cables look like! To create a picture of ethernet cables in your mind, you can assume that they look much similar to phone cables.
The only difference between phone cables and ethernet cables is that the latter has double the number of wires compared to the former.
Also, the connector of the ethernet cable is a bit sizeable than the connector of the phone cable.
There is a small modular plug at the end of the cable. It helps adjust the ethernet cable in the ethernet port. The small lever on the top ensures that the cable is perfectly fitted in the port.
Sometimes, the port might come with an LED light. When the cable is connected successfully with the port, the LED lights up.
As far as the length of the ethernet cable is concerned, you don’t have to worry about it. Ethernet cables come in different sizes.
You can get any size according to your requirements or preferences by cutting a longer ethernet cable.
Ethernet cables have different colors. The varied colors are not for decorative purposes but to differentiate one type of ethernet cable from the other.
When different ethernet cables are used in a network, and some error occurs, it becomes difficult to find a specific cable if all are of the same color.
It is why internet service providers use ethernet cables of numerous colors, each specific for a particular connection. It makes the maintenance process effortless for you.
What is the Purpose of an Ethernet Cable?
The prime purpose of ethernet cables is to provide an internet connection to different devices present on the local area network (LAN).
The most common channel used for internet connection is WiFI. So, you might be wondering what ethernet cables are good for?
Ethernet cables are the connection source between your WiFi router and the internet service provider. Yes, this is how your WiFi works, and you are dependent on ethernet cables for the internet connection.
Besides, you can use ethernet cables to connect different devices, such as TV, computers, etc., directly to the internet.
What is the Structure of Ethernet Cables?
Ethernet cables are widely used for numerous purposes. And it is why they come with different structures. The most common and widely used structure of ethernet cable is twisted pair ethernet cable.
As the name suggests, this structure includes a pair of cables, which are twisted together. This structure is used in local area network connections as well as industries.
Its functionality and efficiency is the reason behind its wide applications. When it comes to their market competence, no cables other than fiber o[ptics can beat them.
Why is the Twisted Pair Structure so Famous?
There is a reason behind the fame and functionality of this specific structure of ethernet cables. It is their configuration.
When two wires are twisted together, both of them carry data in opposite directions. As the data travels parallel opposite, it results in a balanced magnetic field.
Types of Twisted Ethernet Cables?
Furthermore, ethernet cables having twisted pair structure are available in two different forms, given as,
- Shielded twisted pair structure
- Unshielded twisted pair structure
Both these types have their own characteristics. As the name suggests, one of them has foil shielding around it, and the other doesn't. As far as the price is concerned, unshielded twisted ethernet cables are cheaper than shielded twisted ethernet cables.
However, the differentiation doesn't end here. The signal quality of both these types also varies. If the foil shield is absent, the electrical noise will increase.
And consequently, it will affect the quality of the signal traveling inside the wire. On the other hand, if the shield is present, the electrical noise will be decreased, and signal quality will be enhanced.
What are the Types of Ethernet Cables?
We can classify ethernet cables on different criteria. As they have a lot of applications, they should be in accordance with the requirements of the user. So, ethernet cables come in different types.
On the Basis of Device
Ethernet cables must be compatible with the device. Otherwise, they won’t be functional. If we classify ethernet cables on the basis of the device to which it is connected, there are two types of ethernet cables.
- Straight through ethernet cables
- Crossover Ethernet cables
Straight Through Ethernet Cables
These types of ethernet cables are used to connect different devices, such as computers, TV, etc. You can connect any type of device with straight-through ethernet cables without worrying about compatibility as long as it has an ethernet port.
Crossover Ethernet Cables
These types of ethernet cables are used to connect the same type of device. If you have more than one computer in your home, you can connect all of them with the help of ethernet cables. It increases the efficiency and seamlessness of your connection.
On the Basis of Usage
Where are you employing these ethernet cables? It is the question most probably asked when you are buying ethernet cables. So, where you apply them matters a lot. On the basis of usage, there are two different types of ethernet cables.
- Solid cables
- Standard cables
These Ethernet cables are cheaper, and they have a single wire. However, their low budget never compromises on quality. They offer the best and most efficient connection.
It is why they are widely employed in business projects. By option for solid ethernet cables, businesses can get better connections at an affordable price.
The second type is the standard ethernet cable. It has a twisted pair structure and is found to be useful for home settings. It contains small patches of wires that work together. And its durability is brilliant, as it is less prone to breakage.
Its stability and functionality make it an ideal choice for home settings. However, it might be a bit expensive compared to solid cables.
On the Basis of Speed
While talking about the speed of internet connection delivered by ethernet cables, they offer numerous options.
Ethernet cables are divided into several categories on the basis of their speed. So, you can judge the connection speed of an ethernet cable by inspecting its category.
The category of ethernet cable is abbreviated as Cat. Along with other advancements in technology, the connection speed of ethernet cables is also improving.
Many of the low categories of ethernet cables are already discarded.
Now, the lowest connection speed available is Cat5, and the highest is Cat8.
All of these categories have their specific speed. And this speed specified their applications.
It offers the lowest connection speed, which is 100Mbps. It is the oldest form of ethernet cables being used nowadays. However, its applications are decreasing day by day, as better categories are introduced in the market.
It is a variation of Cat5. This updated version has a bit faster speed. However, the main difference between Cat5 and Cat5e is the reduction of electrical noise. The latter updated version reduces the electrical noise by decreasing the interference in electrical cables.
Cat6 is an amazing update of ethernet cables. It enables the ethernet cable to offer a speed of up to 10 GB. However, the speed of the ethernet cable depends upon the area in which the cable is present. The local area network is a very crucial factor.
These cables are stiffer than the previous version of ethernet cables. However, they have thin wires. And these thin wires of the ethernet cat6 variant allow them to work efficiently. Also, it decreases the noise of the electrical field.
It is an improved version of cat6 ethernet cables. The connection speed is similar to the cat6 variant.
However, the bandwidth varies. This variant of cat6 helps in the reduction of noise and is more efficient than the previous version. It shields the cable from electromagnetic radiation that penetrates them.
Cat 7 is one of the advanced variants of internet cables. It offers a connection speed of up to 10 GB per second. Also, Cat7 can work efficiently over a distance of 15 m.
Efficient speed and broad coverage make Cat7 ethernet cables an ideal choice for businesses as well as home settings.
The Cat7 Ethernet cables are fully shielded. It helps them to reduce the electrical noise, and consequently, allows them to work efficiently.
It is the latest category of ethernet cables. Also, it is an ideal choice for data centers and enterprise networks.
Its high and efficient speed of 40GB per second and bandwidth of 2000 MHz makes it the most high-tech ethernet cable available in the market.
Which Category Should You choose?
Different settings have different requirements. If you are looking for an ethernet connection to support your business setting, you should always go for the one that is efficient but affordable.
It is because your business cannot afford low connection speed when working in a competitive market. At the same time, you have to keep in mind your budget.
When buying an ethernet cable for your home, you should go for the one that is supported by your internet service provider. Also, your choice depends on the connection speed that you are expecting.
You should also check the support of your device because many older devices do not support new cables.
What are the Limitations of Ethernet Cables?
Apart from the various advantages of ethernet cables, there are also several limitations. As technology always has some drawbacks, ethernet cables also have some flaws that you might consider while buying them.
Though ethernet cables are available in numerous lengths, their functionality is inversely proportional to their length. As their length increases, the interference also increases. And consequently, the performance of the ethernet cable is also affected.
Connectors also vary from cable to cable. Not all the connectors are compatible with all types of ethernet cables.
You have to look for a specific connector, such as the one that you are using with solid cable might not be compatible with the standard cable and vice versa.
Why Choose Ethernet Cables Over WiFi?
WiFi has become famous over the past few years. And it is because of its wireless technology and its advanced high-tech structure.
Though WiFi is widely being used, when the network becomes crowded, it is difficult to maintain an efficient connection speed.
When there are so many devices connected to your WiFi, each competes for better connection speed. At your home, there are a lot of appliances, such as TVs, microwaves, and computers that are connected to WiFi.
When all these devices are in use simultaneously, the overall speed of the internet drops, and the efficiency may be affected.
So, a better solution to this network inefficiency is the use of hardwiring. Ethernet cable can connect all your home appliances to your internet connection through hard wires.
Another reason for the preference of ethernet cable over WiFi is security. When WiFi is used, the signals are transferred via radio waves in the air, so they can be easily penetrated.
However, when ethernet cables are used, data is securely transferred through wires from one device to another.
You can connect almost all your devices to ethernet cables. Keeping in view the wide applications of ethernet cables, almost all the devices are manufactured with ethernet ports.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ethernet cables are one of the most frequently used connection channels. Though they are commonly used, not all of us are acquainted with their basic characteristics.
So, you might have a lot of questions about what ethernet cable is, how it works, and a lot of other questions.
What is an ethernet cable?
Ethernet cables are wires that are used to connect the internet to different devices. They look similar to phone cables and ensure an efficient and reliable internet connection.
Even in this era of WiFi, many people prefer ethernet cables because of their seamless internet speed.
How do I connect an ethernet cable?
Many of you might think connecting your devices to ethernet cables is a laborious task.
However, the process is really simple as many of the devices have an inbuilt ethernet port. All you have to do is find that ethernet port and connect it to the ethernet cable.
Which type of ethernet cable do I need?
When opting for ethernet cables, many people are confused about what to choose. There are so many types and categories of ethernet cables that newbies hesitate in selection.
A better way to decide is to narrow down your requirements. If only a good connection speed is your priority, you should opt for Cat7 or Cat8. However, if you are low on budget, you can go for a lower category.
What is the fastest ethernet cable?
Advancements in the latest technology have also affected ethernet cables. They are becoming better and better day by day. New categories are being introduced, and each category has better speed.
The fastest ethernet cable available in the market right now is Cat8. It has the highest speed and bandwidth. And it is being used for large data centers.
Until now, you might be well aware of all the rudimentary concepts of ethernet cables. And you must ve convinced of their efficiency and realizability.
If you are struggling to find a seamless internet connection for your business or home, there is no better option than ethernet cables.
Though there are a few limitations of ethernet cable, overall, it is worth your money and trust.
It keeps your data secure and allows you to share files and information seamlessly. Doesn't it seem like the perfect internet connection?