Networking Guide : Physical Media - Twisted Pair Cable

A network needs physical medium to connect its nodes together. The physical medium is where the data actually flows. There are several media types often used in networking. They are described in the following paragraphs.

twisted pair

Picture: Twisted Pair

Twisted pair is two insulated copper wires that are twisted around each other to minimize interference and noise from other wires. Based on the presence of individual shield and overall (outer) shield, there are three types of twisted pair, i.e. UTP, STP, and ScTP. Individual shield encloses a single twisted pair, while outer shield encloses all twisted pairs in a cable. A shield is a protective sheath that is made from conductive material (metal) and functions to protect the twisted pair from external interference. An insulator is made from non-conductive material, such as plastic.


Picture: Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)

UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) is a cable containing several twisted pairs that is only insulated but not shielded. UTP is the most widely used cable in telephone and computer networks because it is relatively cheaper than other cables and performs well in normal electrical environment such as inside an office or a house.

page 2 - STP and ScTP
page 3 - Coax
page 4 - Fiber optic
page 5 - Radio, microwave, and infrared

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