Ethernet network cables are a common type of network cable used in wired networks. These cables connect devices such as PCs, routers, and switches in your local area network. These network cables are limited by the length of the cable and strength. If the network cable is too long or of poor quality, it will not be able to transmit good network signals. These limitations are one of the reasons why there are different types of Ethernet cables optimized for a particular task in a particular situation
What does an Ethernet network cable look like?
Ethernet cables are similar to traditional telephone cables, but they are longer and have more wiring. Both cables are similar in shape and connector, but the Ethernet cable has eight wires and the telephone cable has four wires. The Ethernet cable connector is also larger in size. You need to connect the Ethernet cable to an Ethernet port that is larger than the phone’s cord port. You can access your computer’s Ethernet port from the motherboard of the Ethernet card. This port is usually found on the back of your desktop or on the side of your laptop.
Types of Ethernet Network Cable
Ethernet cables support multiple industry standards, including Category 5 and Category 6. Most engineers call these standards CAT5 and CAT6, respectively; hence, many online stores that sell network cables also use this abbreviation.
Ethernet cables are manufactured in two formats:
Solid and Stranded
The Solid Ethernet Cable offers slightly better performance and improved protection against electrical interference. It is also commonly used in corporate networks, cables to fixed locations inside office walls, or under the floor of laboratories.
Stranded Ethernet cables are less prone to physical damage and breakage, making them suitable for travel and home networks.
Restrictions of Ethernet Network Cable
A single Ethernet cable has a maximum range capacity. That is, the cable has an upper limit on the length of time before the signal loss can happen. This issue occurs because the electrical resistance of long cables affects performance. Both ends of the cable should be close enough to receive the signal quickly and well away from external electrical interference to avoid interruptions. However, hardware such as routers and hubs can integrate multiple Ethernet cables on the same network, so this precaution does not limit the size of your network. The maximum length of a CAT5 cable before you can experience signal loss is 100 m (328 ft). CAT6 can travel up to 700 feet. Ethernet cables can be long, but signal loss can occur, especially if you are running near large appliances.
Different types of RJ-45 connectors serve different purposes. Types designed for stranded wire are not compatible with a single wire. Other types of RJ-45 connectors may work with both stranded and single wires.
Alternatives to Ethernet cables for computer networks
Many homes and businesses have replaced Ethernet with Wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Most smartphones or tablets do not have network ports. These wireless technologies are beneficial if cables are routed outdoors or in locations where there is a higher risk of cable damage.
Some other FAQS on Ethernet network cables
How to connect an Ethernet cable?
Find an Ethernet port on your device. Plug one end of the cable into an available port on your computer or laptop and then connect the other end to a router or other network device.
What kind of Ethernet cable do I need?
If your network supports Gigabit Ethernet, you can choose Cat5e or Cat6 ethernet network cables instead of the previous generation CAT5 cables.
Can I run an external Ethernet cable?
Yes, Ethernet cables do work outdoors between buildings or on exterior walls. Choose a cable with a protective coating or a weather-resistant cord that’s clearly designed for greater durability against the elements.