A network consists of two or more computers linked together to share resources such as a printer or a scanner, exchange files, and enable electronic connectivity. Network cables are data transmission cables and are used to connect one network device to another. These cables enable high-speed data transfers between different components of the network.
Different types of network cables are used depending on the kind of network. The type of cable used for a network depends on the network’s topology, protocol, and size. If a network has large number of network devices, it will need cables that provide high speed and error free connectivity.
Some of the cables being used today are Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables, coaxial cables and fiber optic cables. The UTP cable is the most popular variety, largely used for school networks as it transfers data at 100 mbps. Coaxial cables have a single copper conductor at their center. A plastic layer provides insulation between the center conductor and the braided metal shield. The outer metal shield blocks out outer interferences such as lights, motors and other computers. Fiber optic cables consist of a center glass core surrounded by several layers of protective materials. It transmits light rather than electronic signals and transfers signals over much longer distances than coaxial and twisted pair cables.
A local area network (LAN) requires network cables to stay connected. Almost every organization is going for networking these days to improve efficiency. This has increased the demand for network cables.
Network cables are the backbone of any network. However, today several networks are switching over to other mediums of data transfer such as high frequency radio signals, and infrared light beams to connect the workstations. These systems are not only fast and effective, but also do away with the problem of maintain several hundred feet of cables spreading across the workspace. With such technologies coming to the forefront, the future may well tilt in favor of wireless systems.