Network cables are used to physically connect the stations or participants of a network. There are different network cables. They differ in material and structure. While copper cables are available either as twisted-pair cables or coaxial cables, fibre optic cables are made of the basic material glass or plastic.
Passive connection components of network cabling
- Connection boxes (connection units)
- Patch panels (patch panels)
- Patch cable (patch cable)
Patch panel and patch cable
Patch cables are the preferred cables for connecting patch panels and junction boxes to network stations and active network components. Patch panels are devices where the network cables arrive.
A LAN cable is an unusual term that indicates that it is a patch cable used to establish a connection in the local network (LAN).
A network cable is sometimes also called a data cable. However, this term is misleading. The term only indicates that data is transmitted via this cable. In contrast, a power supply cable is used for power supply. The term “network cable” indicates that this cable is used for networking or as part of network cabling. What is transmitted is irrelevant.
Still, the term is generally used, especially in the commercial sector. For more information, check the Newscom data cable installation website.
Installation of network cables
- Central elements of a cabling system are shielded cables and sockets, as well as special tools for installation.
- Network cables must always be handled with extreme care and only be stored and installed in dry rooms.
- Crushing, excessive pressure and pulling must be avoided, as it can reduce the quality and physical properties of the network cables.
- Edges on the laying section must be smoothed. The manufacturer’s bending radius must be observed so that the properties of the network cable are not affected.
- The network cables should be unrolled or pulled directly from the cable drum or cable reel and not unwound (changing the cable structure).
- Network cables should be laid in a cable duct separately from power cables. For example, by means of a separating web.
- When laying them, the twisted wires of twisted pair cables must not be opened too wide and must not be twisted again, otherwise the cable route will get bad values for the NEXT measurement.
- The shielded cable network and all metallic components must be included in the potential equalization of the building.
How to find the right network cable for your office
As in many areas, the same applies to network cables: the higher the quality and performance, the more expensive the product. Consumers must therefore ultimately decide for themselves how high their own demands on their home network or the budget available for it are. For most households, however, good solutions can be found at a reasonable price.
- CAT 1 to 4: Network cables are designated according to the so-called CAT standard. CAT 1 to CAT 4 are older standards that are no longer available in stores today. In the home network, cables of these standards should be replaced if possible.
- CAT 5: Simple CAT 5 cabling is sufficient for the control of end components in the home network. However, for main data lines, for example between floors or routers, or for supplying servers, the use of cables with a higher operating frequency and a faster transmission speed may be recommended.
- CAT 6: Due to the high transmission rate of up to 250 MHz and the high speed of up to 10 Gbit/s, CAT-6 cables meet all requirements in the home network. According to the current state of technology, they are therefore the best compromise between high performance and a reasonable purchase price for most households.
- CAT 6a: With a transmission rate of up to 500 MHz, CAT-6a is slightly more powerful than CAT 6, but also slightly more expensive.
- CAT 7: In the field of copper cables, CAT 7 is now the benchmark in the private sector. With the best possible shielding and high transmission rates, the cable offers the best possible performance, but also at a significantly higher price. However, as the demands on network systems are likely to continue to increase in the future, you should consider installing CAT 7 cables, especially when renovating or building a house, in order to be optimally equipped for the long term.
- CAT 8/fibre optic: CAT-8 cables and fibre optic cables are also used in the industrial sector. In the domestic sector, however, such cables are not (yet) of importance.