Nowadays the introduction of high-definition digital video formats and the requirements for carrying high-speed signals have ushered in a higher demand for quality cable construction all the way down the line. A new level of care and expertise in installation is required to avoid damage and accompanying loss of bandwidth. Here we take a look at the current field of cables and connectors being offered to meet these new challenges.
Cable is the medium through which information usually moves from one network device to another. There are several types of cable which are commonly used with LANs. In some cases, a network will utilize only one type of cable, other networks will use a variety of cable types. The type of cable chosen for a network is related to the network’s topology, protocol, and size. Understanding the characteristics of different types of cable and how they relate to other aspects of a network is necessary for the development of a successful network.
The following are the mainstream types of cables used in networks currently:
- Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Cable;
- Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) Cable;
- Coaxial Cable;
- Fiber Optic Cable;
- Cable Installation Guides;
- Wireless LANs.
Twisted pair cable comes in two varieties: shielded and unshielded. The quality of UTP may vary from telephone-grade wire to extremely high-speed cable. The cable has four pairs of wires inside the jacket. Each pair is twisted with a different number of twists per inch to help eliminate interference from adjacent pairs and other electrical devices. The tighter the twisting, the higher the supported transmission rate and the greater the cost per foot.
Coaxial cable can support greater cable lengths between network devices than twisted pair cable. The two types of coaxial cabling are thick coaxial and thin coaxial.
Fiber optic cable transmits light rather than electronic signals eliminating the problem of electrical interference. This makes it ideal for certain environments that contain a large amount of electrical interference. It has also made it the standard for connecting networks between buildings, due to its immunity to the effects of moisture and lighting.
Fiber optic cable has the ability to transmit signals over much longer distances than coaxial and twisted pair. It also has the capability to carry information at vastly greater speeds. This capacity broadens communication possibilities to include services such as video conferencing and interactive services. The cost of fiber optic cable is comparable to copper cabling; however, it is more difficult to install and modify.
Connector has several functions. It aligns the fiber with emitters in transmitters, adjacent fibers in splices, and photo-detectors in receivers. With the development of various connector styles, each one has its own advantages, disadvantages, and capabilities. All fiber optic connectors have four basic components, which are the ferrule, connector body, cable, and coupling device.
For multimode networks such as those used in buildings and campuses, the ST is the most common fiber optic connector. This connector has a long cylindrical ferrule for holding the fiber and a bayonet mount. The ST connector is considered the most popular multimode connector because it is cheap and easy to install.
The SC Connector, which is a snap-in connector that latches with a simple push-pull motion, is used in single mode systems. This connector shows excellent performance and is also available in a duplex configuration. The MU connector is more popular in Japan and looks like a miniature SC with a 1.25-mm ferrule.
A standard ceramic ferrule connector, which is half the size of a ST connector, is the LC connector. This connector is used in single mode systems, performs well, and is easily terminated with any adhesive. A connector that is similar to the LC, but has a shutter over the end of the fiber is the E2000/LX5.
Used in multimode systems only, the MT-RJ connector is duplex with both fibers in a single polymer ferrule. Pins are used for alignment with male and female versions.
There are Single mode fiber optic connector and Multimode fiber optic connector, Single mode fiber optic connectors can be with PC, or UPC or APC polish, while Multimode fiber optic connectors only with PC or UPC polish. PC or UPC or APC refer to how we polish the ferrule of the fiber optic connectors. Multimode connectors are usually with black boot or beige color, Single mode PC and UPC ones are usually with blue or black color, Single mode APC is with green color. Insertion loss is important technical data of the fiber optic connectors. The smaller the better. APC insertion loss is smaller than UPC, UPC is smaller than PC.
Both cables and connectors are important components used in fiber optic network. They are also the key parts used in fiber optic patch cord and fiber optic pigtail. While there are so many types of cables and connectors, choose the type of cable and connector completely depend on the network your install.