LAN cables (Local area network cables, network cables)
LAN cables or Local Area Network cables are based on the Ethernet protocol and have been available within the market place for a number of years. Lan cables were developed to support the requirement for high speed data transfer rates.
The transfer rates typically being 100 Base-T – 100 megabits per second (Mbps) in most existing local area networks and more recently Gigabit which is 1000 megabits per second (Mbps). Gigabit ethernet is also commonly referred to as Fast Ethernet.
In most current day networks, the most restricting factor is always the lowest performing component within the network which restricts the speeds that can be achieved.
The most common Lan cables on the market today are Category 5 (Cat 5), Category 5e (Cat 5e), Category 6 (Cat 6), Category 6a (Cat 6a) and Category 7 (Cat 7) versions. These cables are widely available in different versions relating to the screening which is available on each version respectively.
What screening is available on Lan Cables?
There are four main types of screening reffered to within these types of cables.
- UTP: which stands for unshielded twisted pairs.
- STP: which stands for shielded twisted pairs – each individual pair is individually Aluminium foil screened.
- FTP: which stands for Foil twisted pairs – this is a collective Aluminium foil screen over all of the pairs as a bundle.
- SFTP: which stands for Shielded and foiled twisted pairs – this is a collective Aluminium foil screen over all of the pairs with a tinned Copper braid screen over and in contact with the foil.
These cables are also available in a variety of materials such as low smoke zero halogen (LS0H).