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Cabels: Compare and Contrast Study

Unshielded Twisted Pair

Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) is probably one of the most regularly used types of cabling (Khavkine, 2017). Twisted pair is a combination of insulated wires that are twisted together to form a single cable. The twisting is used to eliminate potential interference from various outside sources. Although this proves to achieve a particular result, the twisted pair is still rather sensitive to outside noise. In terms of cost per foot meter and termination and installation costs, twisted pair proves to be the cheapest solution. However, this comes with various limitations regarding bandwidth and transmission distance. The designated category six UTP is the best option performance-wise. There are two types of UTP wiring: crossover and straight. Basically, both types may be used to connect various endpoint devices including workstations, wireless access points, switches, routers, etc. Crossover wiring is used to connect devices of a similar type (e. g. computer-computer, switch-switch, etc.). Straight wiring, in turn, connects two devices of a different kind.

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Limitations of UTP are a direct result of its having the lowest cost out of the three cabling types described here. The maximum length UTP is able to flawlessly transport data is two hundred ninety-five feet. If this length is exceeded, data losses may occur. Another natural limitation is that UTP is poorly protected from outside interference. This means that an environment with a high amount of electric or radio interference sources may significantly decrease a UTP’s capabilities. Therefore, UTP is acceptable if a network is required to be built in short terms and the budget is rather small. If this is not the case, other types of wiring may prove to be a better solution.

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cables are the type of cables with a single core made of solid copper (Laven, 2016). The main difference between coaxial cable and UTP is that the former has much higher bandwidth. Data transported via the coaxial cable’s inner conductor is carried with eighty times more transmission capacity than that of a UTP. This allows coaxial cables to be used to deliver TV signals and form a network connecting various types of devices. Coaxial cable provides a stable data transmission. Additionally, coaxial cables are effectively protected from outside interferences and have a set of anti-jamming capabilities. Although it may seem that this comes at a price of much higher cost, coaxial cables are actually just slightly more costly than UTPs.

The types of coaxial cables are differentiated by their electrical resistance ratio (measured in Ohms). There are seventy-five Ohm and fifty Ohm coaxial cables. The former is used to transmit video data. It is often used to connect two video-playback devices (such as DVDs, VCRs, or A/V cables). The latter type is implemented to transfer data in a communication system connecting two devices. It is primarily used to form a computer ethernet system, form a cell phone system, connect AM/FM radio receivers, GPS antennas, and police scanners.

Although coaxial cables are expensive compared to UTP, it is still a more economically affordable option than the implementation of optical fiber. As a matter of fact, coaxial cables are probably the solution that lies directly between the highly expensive optical fiber and low-quality UTP. Companies that require stable performance and affordable costs are most likely to choose coaxial cable wiring rather than a twisted pair or optical fiber wiring.

Optical Fiber

“An optical fiber or fiber optic cable is a flexible, transparent fiber made by drawing glass, which are used most often as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and find wide usage in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than wire cables” (Chen, 2017). Naturally, this type of wiring is the most expensive. However, there are other limitations such as extreme fragility and lack of possibility to curve such cables. Therefore, not only do these cables are costly to install, but the costs are also affected by the fact that a network has to be thoroughly designed so that the cables are not bent or curved while also being protected from any potential damage.

The advantages are, nevertheless, significant. Starting with a much more potent bandwidth and finishing with the highest immunity to outside interference, optic fiber wiring proves to provide the most stable performance. Additionally, optic fiber cables possess a low power loss ratio which means that they can effectively be stretched for much greater distances than highly exceed that of UTP or coaxial cables. For example, coaxial cables may only ensure stable performance in a network connected by one hundred meters of cable, while optic fiber performs flawlessly connecting devices located as far as two kilometers from each other. Furthermore, optic fiber cables are much lighter and thinner than the others. This is especially critical when comparing optic to coaxial wiring. Finally, optic fiber cables possess much higher levels of security. Due to the lack of electromagnetic energy radiance, emissions in optic fiber cannot be intercepted.

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All in all, optic fiber wiring is the most expensive solution. Nevertheless, it has a number of significant advantages that easily outweigh other types of wiring. Although this wiring type may be the most expensive, the ends justify the means. After all, the most important thing to ensure is the stability and security of data transmission. Therefore, optic fiber wiring is recommended to implement in large networks. Smaller ones may as well select other types of wiring as optic fiber may be considered excessive.

References

Chen, C. (2017). Fiber optic cabling solutions. Web.

Khavkine, V. (2017). The characteristics of a UTP cable. Web.

Laven, K. (2016). The difference between twisted pair, coaxial and fiber optic cables. Web.

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