Talk About AWG

For those who are familiar with different types of bulk Ethernet cables, it is not difficult to tell the differences between cat5e bulk cable and cat6 bulk cable. Apart from functional differences, like data transmission rate and transmission distance, the obvious physical difference is that cat6 bulk cable is thicker than cat5e bulk cable. One reason is that there is a longitudinal separator inside cat6 bulk cable which isolates each of the four pairs of twisted wire from the others. And another reason is that cat6 bulk cable utilizes copper conductor which has larger cross-section area than that of cat5e bulk cable—the wire gauge of cat6 bulk cable is 23AWG while the wire gauge of cat5e bulk cable is 24AWG. Reading this, you may get confused about the wire gauge sizes. What is AWG? Why does 23AWG cat6 bulk cable look thicker than 24AWG cat5e bulk cable? Is wire gauge a good indicator of cable quality? The answer will shown in this article.

What Is AWG?

First of all, let’s learn about what is AWG. AWG is the acronym for American Wire Gauge, which is commonly used as a standard of measurement for the cross-sectional area of a round wire. Incidentally, it’s important to remember that it is the size of the wire, not the size of the wire with its insulation, measured in AWG. In the case of solid wire, measurement of cross-sectional area is pretty straightforward. While stranded wire is another matter. Its wire gauge is measured by summing the cross-sectional area of the strands. Because there are small gaps between the strands, any given cross-sectional area of wire will take up more overall space in a stranded configuration than it will in a solid wire.

Why Does 23AWG Cat6 Bulk Cable Look Thicker Than 24AWG Cat5e Bulk Cable?

For a lot of people, the relationship of gauge to wire size is confused. In fact, the larger the gauge number is, the smaller the wire is. A 23AWG cable is 0.57mm wide, while a 24AWG cable is 0.52mm wide. That’s why we say 23AWG cat6 bulk cable looks thicker than 24AWG cat5e bulk cable. Here is a figure for you, which shows the comparison between cross-sectional area of cat5e bulk cable and cat6 bulk cable.

cross-sectional area of cat5e bulk cable and cat6 bulk cable

Is Wire Gauge a Good Indicator of Cable Quality?

The wire gauge is an important factor for determining current-carrying capacity of a cable. In the cable industry, it is referred to as current flow (of electrons) that runs throughout the wire. To better understand this, you can imagine a flow of water that runs through a pipe. The wider the pipe is, the more water runs through it in shorter time. How does that translate to cable? Resistance is how many electrons make it through the cable and do not evaporate. With a thinner cable, there is less flow and heat buildup, which causes the electrons to dissipate. The wider the cable, the easier it is for the electrons to pass through it. To reduce resistance and allow for a better flow of electrons, the cross-sectional area of the cable’s conductor must be increased. By doing so, resistance is automatically reduced over the cable.

Conclusion

An easy way to think about AWG is that the smaller the number is, the physically larger the cable is. Since wire gauge can be a meaningful factor in cable quality which is very important for some applications, like computer networking, speaker wire, analog and digital video, it is necessary to understand the demands of the application before making a judgment about cable quality based upon wire gauge. And I hope this article can help you have a better understanding of AWG.

All About STP Cable

We know that EMI (electromagnetic interference) is a disturbance in twisted pair cables. It affects the performance of an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction. The primary way to combat EMI in cables is through the use of shielding. The shielding can act on EMI in two ways: first, it can reflect the energy; second, it can prevent the noise and conduct it to ground. With the help of cable shielding, cables can be immune to the disturbance and keep a stable connection. And this article will present some knowledge about STP (shielded twisted pair) cable.

Overview of STP Cable

First of all, let’s have a quick overview of STP cable. As the name suggests, STP cable has a metal shield around each twisted pair which is composed of copper tape, a layer of conducting polymer or a braid (made of copper or aluminum mostly). And the shield can be applied to each pair of the cable or to all pairs together. Typically, STP cable is more expensive than UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable. And due to the fragile and rigid shield of STP cable, it is necessary to pay much attention to the installation and maintenance of STP cable.

Types of Shields

There are mainly two types of shields: braided shield and foiled shield. Braided shield is made up of woven mesh of bare or tinned copper wires. The braid makes it much easier for cable termination by crimping or soldering when attaching a connector. However, braided shield does not provide 100% coverage. It typically provides 70% to 95% coverage according to the tightness of weave. But as a matter of fact, 70% coverage is always sufficient if cables are fixed. Another shielding is foiled shield. This type of shielding uses a thin layer of aluminum. Because it is thin, it is harder to work with, especially when applying a connector. It provides 100% coverage for the conductors it surrounds.

As copper has higher conductivity than aluminum and the braid has more bulk for conducting noise, the braid is more effective as a shield. If the environment is extremely noisy, a cable may use multiple layers of shielding with both the braided and foil designs. Here is figure of braided shield, foiled shield and braided/foiled shield, from which you can have a better understanding of inner structure of these three types of shields.

braided shield, foiled shield and braided foiled shield

Different Constructions of Shielding

When you plan to buy shielded 100m cat6 cable on store, you may have to make a choice between different construction of shielding. And here are are some commonly used shielding constructions:

1) Individual Shield

U/FTP is the typical individual shielding using aluminum foil. This kind of construction has one shield for each twisted pair or quad above the conductor and insulation. Individual shield especially protects neighboring pairs from crosstalk.

2) Overall Shield

F/UTP, S/UTP, and SF/UTP are overall shielding with different shield materials. Overall shield refers to the entire coverage around the whole cable. This type of shielding helps prevent EMI from entering or exiting the cable.

3) Individual and Overall Shield

F/FTP, S/FTP, and SF/FTP are individual and overall shield. This type of construction has both layers of shielding. And its immunity to EMI disturbance is greatly improved.

Meanings of the abbreviated letters:

U = unshielded

F = foiled shielding

S = braided shielding

TP = twisted pair

Applications

Power cables are constructed with shielding to be electromagnetic compatible (EMC) to minimize noise generation, which affects many other systems like radio and data communication. Bulk Ethernet cables are shielded to prevent the effects on the data transmitted from EMI. To further prevent cross talk and coupling, some bulk Ethernet cables are also paired and individually shielded. In some applications, such as those needing servo cables, double or even triple, shielding is required around individual conductors, around twisted pairs, and around the entire cable. By the way, if you use shielded cat6 cable for your network, the cat6 patch panel you choose must be shielded, too.

Conclusion

Adopting twisted pair cable shielding is an effective method to prevent EMI from interfering signal transmission. For the purpose of providing a reliable connection between electronic devices, choosing a proper shielded twisted pair cable is essential. FS.COM provides various types of shielded cables, such as FTP cat5e cable 305m, SFTP 100m cat6 cable, SFTP 1000 feet cat6 cable. If you want to know more details, please visit our site.

Distinguish A Good Ethernet Cable From A Bad One During the Selection

When you plan to deploy your network by using bulk Ethernet cable, you will find there are always various types of bulk Ethernet cables available on the market. And cables provided by different vendors vary in quality. There is no doubt that the quality of bulk Ethernet cable have an influence on the network performance. During the selection, how to distinguish a good Ethernet cable from a bad one is critical, which can also directly embody the ability of an engineer. Then, how to make sure that bulk Ethernet cables used in your network are of good quality? This article aims to share some tips with you.

Test the Data Transmission Rate

Testing the data transmission rate is one of the most effective methods to identify the quality of Ethernet cables. It is recommended that you connect two computers directly to do the test. But there may be some other factors that can affect the data transmission rate of the bulk Ethernet cable, such as the configuration of computer itself, the network card, RJ45 connector and so on. Hence, you should use machines with high configuration to reduce the external factors on the data transmission rate of the bulk Ethernet cable to a minimum. In this way, the result of test will be accurate.

Test the Flexibility

Ethernet cables of good quality are as flexible as possible, because the convenience of cabling has been taken into account at design time. It is easy to bend them in any ways and they are less likely to be broken easily. However, on the current market, there are some inferior bulk Ethernet cables which are mixed with other cheap metal components. The texture of such bulk Ethernet cables is no longer so soft and the data transmission rate becomes slower. In the process of cabling, if you bend the bulk Ethernet cable repeatedly, the copper wires inside the cable may be broken. While if the cable is too soft, then you should also note that it may be a fake and shoddy product.

Test the Flammability

In general, the materials composed of bulk Ethernet cable must be characterized with fire resistance, otherwise there is a fire, it will suffer heavy losses. Therefore, when choosing the bulk Ethernet cable, it is necessary to check the flammability of the cable jacket. Take cat6 cable 305m for example. In the test, you can use scissor to cut off about 2 cm length of its cable jacket, then burn it with a lighter. Under the condition of fire, cable jacket of good quality will gradually melt and deform after six seconds, with white smoke, but it will not burn itself up; while if the cable jacket is unable to resist the fire and burns up in less two seconds, with a large amount of black smoke, even though the cat6 cable 305m can provide 1000Mbps data transmission rate, you should give up the choice.

Test the Temperature Resistance

When carrying out cabling, bulk Ethernet cables are highly required to resist the external temperature changes. Not to say they can resist any change in the environment, at least those cables will not become soften under high temperature environment or frost crack under low temperature environment. For the sake of the performance of cable that will not be affected in the high temperature environment, cable jacket of good quality bulk Ethernet cable utilizes the material that can resist high temperature of up to about 50 degrees. And phenomenon like becoming soften or deformation will not occur. Take cat6 cable 305m from Fiberstore for example, its operation temperature range is from -10 degrees to 60 degrees and its installation temperature range is from 0 degree to 50 degrees. To do the test, you can place a short length of its cable jacket next to the stove for a while. And you will find that the cable jacket does not become softer than the normal one, it means that the quality of this cat5e cable 305m is good.

Observe the Identification

In the actual selection of Ethernet cables, sometimes due to the lack of test environment or conditions, you are not able to test the quality or material of the cable by the methods mentioned above. So what should you do at that time? You might as well observe the identification on the cable jacket. Normally, the regular brands of Ethernet cables have category identification and manufacture trademark on the cable jacket. If there is no identification on the cable jacket, you should be vigilant and try to create conditions to test the cable by following the above methods. Here is a figure of cat5e cable, from which we can clearly see the category identification and some other information about the cable.

cat5e cable

Conclusion

It is essential to select Ethernet cables of good quality for your network deployment, and that is the basic requirement to make your network achieve high performance level. As a result, when making a choice among various Ethernet cables, you have to observe carefully, compare more and test more. FS.COM provides good quality bulk Ethernet cables with many color and length options, such as gray cat6 cable 305m, yellow cat6 cable 100m, red cat6 cable 305m. If you want to know more details, you can visit our site.

An Easy Way to Build a Copper Network at Home

It can be easily found that more and more home devices are getting access to the network, such as television, air condition, light controls and other digital recording devices. Though the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) is being widely deployed, most of our home devices are still with copper based interfaces like RJ45 interfaces. In addition, the copper network cable and technologies are keeping developing to satisfy the requirements for high data rate broadband. Thus, many people are more likely to deploy a copper based network at home which is more cost-effective and easier to manage. This article is going to introduce an easy way to build a copper network at home.

Factors to Consider Before Copper Home Network Deployment

To build a copper network at home is easier than that of a fiber optic based home network, even if you have little knowledge about it. But there are still a lot of things to be considered before you build a copper network at home. For example, you should make sure what you want from this copper home network. Of course, good access to broadband and WiFi are the most basic and important requirements. You should also take the port number and expectation of the network performance into consideration, which will directly decide the product selection or the cost of your network.

Three Steps to Build A Copper Home Network

There are mainly three steps to build a copper network at home which will be introduced in the following part of this article.

Bring the Service Provider Distribution Cable to Your Home

Nowadays, in order to achieve quick installation, the broadband service provider will set a distribution point near or inside a building. Fiber or copper cables are deployed in this building to connect every required house to this fiber or copper distribution point, thus providing broadband services to end users. Usually the distribution cable from the broadband service provider should be connected to a router which will be connected to each room of the house. If the distribution cable is fiber optic based, then you need to connect the distribution fiber cable from the broadband service provider to an ONU (Optical Network Unit) which can convert the optical signals into electrical signals and distribute the signals to different ports and home devices. At present, there are a variety of ONUs and routers available on the market which can support WiFi and satisfy various port requirements. If your home is not very big, you just need to choose one ONU or router for the whole home network.

Wire the Whole Connection for Your Home

After bringing the service provider distribution cable to your home, you should determine how many ports your home network requires and how many devices should be connected to the network, which is very important for building a home wired network with good broadband access. From the figure below, you can learn that the bedroom, living room, office and dining room of this house are all connected to the home network for better and smarter performance. Even the telephone is connected to the network via the voice cable, ensuring the home owner would not miss phone calls. As for which type of copper network cable should be chosen for the connection, Cat5e is enough for most of applications. However, Cat6 and Cat7 are better for future use.

Build a Copper Network at Home

Terminate Copper Cables and Connect Them to Home Devices

The final step is to terminate these copper cables and connect them to home devices. In general, to ensure a secure and reliable home network, the copper network cable is suggested to be terminated at the wall plate port. Besides, a length of RJ45 copper network patch cable should be used to connect the port with target devices, thereby the whole deployment of home network can be finished.

Conclusion

If you plan to build a copper network at home, I hope this article can be helpful for you. What’s more, it is necessary to choose the right products for high network performance. FS.COM provides a wide range of bulk network cables, such as bulk Cat5e cable, bulk Cat6 cable and so on. Also, other copper network products can be found on our site. If you want to know more details, please visit our site.

How to Choose the Right Ethernet Cable for Your Network?

To build your Ethernet network, the transmission media Ethernet cable is indispensable. And there are a variety of choices for Ethernet cables, such as Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and so on. If you are familiar with the differences between these different types of Ethernet cables, you may think it’s very simple to choose the right Ethernet cable for your network. However, is this really enough to help you make the decision? Are there any other factors you have to take into consideration? This article will give you the answer.

Overview of Different Types of Ethernet Cables

First, let’s have a quick review of the basic knowledge of these different types of Ethernet cables. For data speed, Cat5e is designed to support 1 Gigabit Ethernet with bandwidth up to 100MHz; Cat6 can support higher data rate of 10 Gigabit Ethernet with bandwidth up to 250 MHz; Cat6a is defined at frequencies up to 500MHz among 10G Ethernet applications. For transmission distance, Cat5e can reach 100 meters at the speed of 1Gbps; Cat6 is able to run 100 meters with data speed up to 1Gbps and only 55 meters at the speed of 10Gbps; Cat6a can support the distance over 100 meters at the speed of 10Gbps. Which types of Ethernet cables to choose depends on your requirement for transmission speed and distance. After you make a decision on this, there are some other factors you have to consider—straight-through or crossover cable, UTP (unshielded twisted pair) or STP (shielded twisted pair) cable, length and color. The following part will focus on these factors.

Straight-Through or Crossover Cable?

Ethernet cable terminated with RJ45 connector contains eight color-coded wires. The color-coded wiring sequences exist as a cabling industry standard. When linking RJ45 connector to a cable, there are two wiring standards—T-568A and T-568B. The two wiring standards are used to create a straight-through cable (T-568A or T-568B on both ends), or a crossover cable (T-568A on one end and T-568B on the other end). To choose a straight-through cable, you have to use either T-568A or T-568B on both ends of the cable; to choose a crossover cable, you need to wire T-568A on one end and T-568B on the other end of the cable. Here is a figure of T-568A and T-568B, from which you can see the difference between these two wiring standards.

T-568A and T-568B

UTP or STP Cable?

STP cable has a metal shield around each twisted pair which is composed of copper tape, a layer of conducting polymer or a braid (mostly made of copper or aluminum). With the shield, EMI (electromagnetic interference) and crosstalk can be greatly reduced, which enables the high performance of data transmission between different devices. While UTP cable has no shielding. It is designed to cancel electromagnetic interference through the way the pairs are twisted inside the cable. If the Ethernet cable runs in the environment where the interference or crosstalk is not the main concern, it is suggested to choose UTP cables which are lower in cost. But if the environment is full of powerful magnetic fields which may have an influence on the performance of network, STP cable is absolutely the optimal choice. To have a better understanding of the difference between UTP cable and STP cable, here is figure of the inner structure of UTP cable and STP cable.

the inner structure of UTP cable and STP cable

Length and Color

When choosing Ether cable for your network, you also need to consider length and color. Ethernet cable comes in standard lengths such as 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 meter. Longer lengths are available, such as bulk Cat5e cable 305m. The distance between your various network devices and your network switch or router will determine the length you need. In addition, Ethernet cable is designed in all sorts of colors, such as blue, gray, red and some other color. This decision can be based purely on your individual taste and preference.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that choosing the right Ethernet cable can make your network work at a high performance level. I hope this article can help you know more about Ethernet cable and make the right choice for your network application. There are different types of Ethernet cables available in FS.COM, such as UTP Cat5e bulk cable, STP Cat6 bulk cable and so on. Also, we provide different types of RJ45 couplers which can be a convenient way to combine two short Ethernet cables into a longer one, such as Cat6 coupler and Cat5e coupler. If you want to know more details, please visit our site or contact us.

Unsuitable Length of Ethernet Cable In Your Application?

Sometimes we may encounter the situation where the length of Ethernet cable bought in store is not suitable for the application. Is there an cost-effective way to solve this problem? Terminating the cable with RJ45 connector or using a RJ45 coupler to connect two cables by yourself can be a good option. This passage will introduce these two ways to solve such awkward problem.

Terminate Ethernet Cable With RJ45 Connector
Overview of RJ45 Connector

Before we come to the termination process, let’s have a brief overview of RJ45 connector. The letter “RJ” represents “registered jack”, which is a standardized physical network interface for connecting telecommunication or data equipment. RJ45 connector features eight positions and eight contact pins (8P8C). Material of the connector often uses plastic which makes it look transparent, thus the connector can also be called crystal connector (shown as the figure below). RJ45 connector is the most common twisted-pair connector for Ethernet cables.

RJ45 connector

Necessary Tools for Termination

Using special tools for termination is very important. You should not cut the cable with other unprofessional tools since it may cause damage and increase signal loss. Jacket cutter or wire stripper is needed to safely cut the jacket off and not hurt the inner wires. Cable crimping tool is necessary for crimping the RJ45 connector onto the wire to make a compact connection. Wire cutter is used to neatly cut the cable ends. Ethernet testing tool is important for the final check of the cable when termination is complete.

Steps of Termination Process

After everything is prepared, you can start terminating the Ethernet cable. Just follow the steps one by one, and the process can be done within several minutes.

Step one. Trim the end of the Ethernet cable with a crimping tool. Strip off about one inch of the jacket, leaving the twisted pairs outside.

Step two. Separate the 4 twisted wire pairs from each other, and then unwind each pair. Flatten the 8 individual wires as much as possible to make preparation for proper individual insertion into the connector.

Step three. Make clear on which standard you are based, then carefully place the wires in order according to that standard.

Step four. Hold the RJ45 connector and carefully insert the prepared wires into the connector, pushing them through the connector until the wire ends come out of the connector’s pin side. Make sure the color order is correct. If not, remove the wires from the connector and do it again.

Step five. Carefully cut the wire ends using crimping tool. Make sure the ends are as flush with the connector’s surface as possible to ensure a good plug-in connection.

If you have experience to install or maintain cables in LANs, you may know how important to terminate Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a bulk Ethernet cables with RJ45 connectors. Mastering this skill sometimes can save time as well as money in Ethernet cable installations.

Use a RJ45 Coupler

A RJ45 coupler, or inline coupler, is a small device with two female RJ45 jacks that joins two wires with Ethernet plugs together (shown as the figure below). Inline couplers do not provide any amplification or signal boost, and can cause attenuation and signal degradation unless they are of high quality. The primary use for a RJ45 coupler is to turn two short Ethernet computer networking cables into one long cable. When processing this, the RJ45 couplers need to be built to carry two cables with the same bandwidth in the network. This can be a convenient way to join two RJ45-terminated cables together to form one long cable.

RJ45 coupler

Conclusion

Learning the skill of Ethernet cable termination or connecting two cables with RJ45 couple efficiently solves the problem of unsuitable cable length. In this way, Ethernet cables can be more flexible to suit different applications. FS.COM provides the related copper products mentioned in the article, such as Cat5e cable 305m, Cat5e coupler, Cat6 coupler, RJ45 to RJ45 connector, etc. If you want to know more details, please visit our site or contact us via sales@fs.com.

Difference Between Cat6 and Cat7

Since the Ethernet cable is characterized with the advantages, such as affordable price, fast transmission speed and good reliability, it becomes more and more popular with people. As technology continues to progress, Ethernet cable also has been improved over time to meet the increasing demand of bandwidth. Cat6 and Cat7 are two kinds of Ethernet cables for 10G Ethernet applications. Do you know the differences between them? Now, this passage will focus on the comparison between Cat6 and Cat7 from five aspects: frequency, transmission distance, wiring, cost and lifespan. First, let’s go to the overview of Cat6 and Cat7.

Overview of Cat6 and Cat7

As the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet cable, Cat6 contains four pairs of copper wire and utilizes all of these pairs for signaling in order to obtain the higher level of performance—supporting 10G Ethernet. In addition, it is backward compatible with the Cat3, Cat5 and Cat5e cable standards. With even more stricter specifications for crosstalk and system noise, Cat7 is designed to allow 10G Ethernet over longer distance. It also contains four twisted copper wire pairs, just like the earlier standards. And Cat7 is backward compatible with Cat5e and Cat6. Here is a figure of Cat6 cable reel and Cat7 cable reel.

Cat6 cable reel and Cat7 cable reel

Difference Between Cat6 and Cat7

It is obvious that Cat7 greatly improves the capacity and reliability of Cat6. So what is the difference between Cat6 and Cat7? This part will focus on five aspects—frequency, transmission distance, wiring, cost and lifespan.

Frequency

Cat6 can perform at a frequency of up to 250 MHz and works fine for normal speeds—10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T, and 10GBASE-T standards. While the frequency of Cat7 is higher and up to 600 MHz, which is 2.4 times as fast as Cat6. And this makes Cat7 suitable for high-speed data rate transmission.

Transmission Distance

Cat6 can reach 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short transmission distance—it can achieve only 55 meters at the speed of 10 Gbps and 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions. While Cat7 can operate at the speed of 10 Gbps with transmission distance up to 100 meters.

Wiring

Cat6 is available in both STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) forms and UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) forms. While Cat7 uses Screen Shielded twisted wire that not only reduces the chances of crosstalk, but also reduces the noise and enhances performance.

Cost

Cat7 costs more than Cat6. Take Fiberstore’s cables as an example, 100m Cat6 cable is 54.00 US$, while 100m Cat7 cable is 200.00 US$. The more cables you purchase, the bigger the price difference will be. Therefore, if your network needs 10 Gbps, maybe Cat6 is a more cost-effective choice.

Lifespan

Cat6 has an estimated lifespan of ten years. While for Cat7, shielding has been added for individual wire pairs and the cable as a whole. Because of this shielding, Cat7 is thicker, more bulky, and more difficult to bend. Cat7 is regarded as the most durable cable and has a longer lifespan of fifteen years than Cat 6.

Conclusion

Careful planning and product selection will be the key to a successful installation. Transmission speed, distance, cost and lifespan are the important factors that you should consider when choosing a transmission media. For 10G Ethernet applications, both Cat6 and Cat7 can be used. However, Cat7 is really high in cost when providing wider bandwidth with longer transmission distance. So you have to think carefully before making a decision. When it comes to make a choice between Cat6 and Cat7, I hope this passage can be helpful for you.