Network Cabling began with the use of coaxial cable. This was also the standard cable used in Television transmission. It became obvious that better methods of transmission were required for faster transmission of larger amounts of data. This means twisted pairs became the standard for data transmission. Cat5 cabling at this point is still the most common method of data transmission, while Fibre optic transmission is many times faster, it is also many times more expensive. It is utilised in backhaul transmission.
First invented in the 1880s, “coax” was best known as the kind of cable that connected television sets to home antennas. This is how it became the standard for CCTV Cabling. Coaxial cable is also a standard for 10 Mbps Ethernet cables. When 10 Mbps Ethernet was most popular, during the 1980s and early 1990s, networks typically utilized one of two kinds of coax cable – thinnet (10BASE2 standard) or thicknet (10BASE5). These cables consist of an inner copper wire of varying thickness surrounded by insulation and other shielding. Their stiffness caused network administrators difficulty in installing and maintaining thinnet and thicknet.
Twisted Pair Cables
Twisted pair eventually emerged during the 1990s as the leading cabling standard for Ethernet, starting with 10 Mbps (10BASE-T, also known as Category 3 or Cat3), later followed by improved versions for 100 Mbps (100BASE-TX, Cat5 and Cat5e) and successively higher speeds up to 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T). Ethernet twisted pair cables contain up to 8 wires wound together in pairs to minimize electromagnetic interference.
Two primary types of twisted pair cable industry standards are defined – Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Shielded Twisted Pair (STP). Modern Ethernet cables use UTP wiring due to its lower cost, while STP cabling can be found in some other types of networks such as FDDI.
Fiber Optic Cables
Instead of insulated metal wires transmitting electrical signals, fiber optic network cables work using strands of glass and pulses of light. These network cables are bendable despite being made of glass. They have proven especially useful in wide area network (WANs) installations where long distance underground or outdoor cable runs are required and also in office buildings where a high volume of communication traffic is common.
Two primary types of fiber optic cable industry standards are defined – single-mode (100BaseBX standard) and multimode (100BaseSX standard). Long-distance telecommunications networks more commonly use single-mode for its relatively higher bandwidth capacity, while local networks typically use multimode instead due to its lower cost.