Data and Network Cable FAQs
What is the difference between ST, SC, LC, MTRJ and Fibre connectors?
The ST connector uses a slotted bayonet locking system that is spring loaded and attached using a push & twist motion. Ferule 2.5mm.
The SC connector is a push/pull connector often used on GBIC's and switches. Ferule 2.5mm.
The LC connector is a push/pull connector half the size of SC connector and used on SFP/mini GBIC's and switches. Ferule 1.25mm.
The FC connector is a metal screw connector with an alignment key mainly used on singlemode. Ferule 2.5mm.
What is the difference between 62.5/125 and 50/125 micron fibres?
The fundamental difference between the two is bandwidth, 50 micron being nearly three times the bandwidth of 62.5. At 850nm it is rated at 500 MHz/km verses 160 MHz/km. The 850nm wavelength is becoming more important as lasers are being developed and used more frequently as light sources for networks.
What is the difference between Singlemode and Multimode fibre?
Multimode fibre: has a bigger core (almost always 62.5 microns - a micron is one one millionth of a meter - but sometimes 50 microns) and is used with LED sources at wavelengths of 850 and 1300 nm for short distance, lower speed networks like LANs.
Singlemode fibre: has a much smaller core, only about 9 microns, and is used for telephony and CATV with laser sources at 1300 and 1550 nm. It can go very long distances at very high speeds.
What is the difference between stranded and solid cable?
Solid cable is best used to punch down on to patch panels, modules and outlets when installing. Stranded cable is used to patch between patch panels.
What is the difference between Cat3 and Cat 5 Telco cables?
Cat3 is used for voice.
Cat5 is used for data.
What does UTP mean?
Unshielded twisted pair cable.
When should I use STP patch cable?
STP should be used in any environment were interference could be a problem i.e. mains cables, noisy machinery and equipment.
Can you tell me the difference between Cat5, 5E & Cat 6?
Cat 5e and Cat 6 are ratified standards. Cat5 and Cat5e systems both have bandwidth capabilities of 100Mhz. However additional parameters are tested on Cat5e systems to ensure they can support transmissions up to Gigabit Ethernet using all four pairs of the cable. Traditionally network systems, with few notable exceptions, have been carried on only two of the available pairs.
Cat6 systems have a bandwidth of 200Mhz (characteristics are defined to 250Mhz). The improved performance of a Cat6 system could support Gigabit Ethernet transmission using only 2 pairs of the cable. This is likely to may make Gigabit interfaces cheaper when running on Cat6 systems although the cost of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces to run on Cat5e has already reduced considerably.
The other consideration is that within the lifetime of the cabling system faster technologies may develop which require the higher bandwidth of Cat6. http://www.dttuk.co.uk/structured-cabling-products.html
What is OM4 Fibre?
OM4 fibre is a 50 μm laser-optimized fiber with extended bandwidth. It will be used to enhance the system cost benefits enabled by 850 nm VCSELs for existing 1 and 10 Gb/s applications as well as future 40 and 100 Gb/s systems. OM4 fibre will support Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and OIF applications, allowing extended reach upwards of 550 meters at 10 Gb/s for ultra long building backbones and medium length campus backbones. With an Effective Modal Bandwidth (EMB, also known as laser bandwidth) of 4700 MHz-km (more than double the IEEE requirement for 10 Gb/s 300 meter support), OM4 fiber is also especially well suited for shorter reach data center and high performance computing applications.
What is OM3 fibre
Big quantity information is generated every day on the internet and people need to exchange more and more information which in turn result in the demand of more and more bandwidth. IEEE802.3ae defined the 10Gigabit Ethernet standards used in LANs. OM3 10G multimode fiber optic cables are developed for such 10Gig Ethernet applications, they are with so called OM3 optical fiber, which is 50/125 type and with industrial acknowledged Aqua color. OM3 10G fiber enable low cost 10g fiber optic communications over multimode fiber for as long as 500 meters or so.
What is Cat6a
Cat6a S/FTP patch leads are designed to meet and exceed the 10 gigabit Cat6a TIA/EIA 568-B 2-10 performance requirements. Each lead is assembled using a 50 micron RJ45 plug with individually shielded 4 pair cable with woven braid and LSZH jacket as standard. http://www.dttuk.co.uk/structured-cabling-products/cat6a.html
What does U/UTP cable mean
Unscreened outer with unscreened twisted pairs
What does F/UTP cable mean
Screened foil outer with unscreened twisted pairs
What does U/FTP cable mean
Unscreened outer with individual screened foil twisted pairs.
What does SF/UTP cable mean
Screened braid and foil outer with unscreened twisted pairs
What does S/FTP cable mean
Screened braid outer with individual screened foil twisted pairs
What does F/FTP cable mean
Screened foil outer with individual screened foil twisted pairs
Can I convert copper into fibre
Most network switches have expansion slots for optical transceivers (or SFP's, GBIC's). Alternatively you can convert a copper port into fibre by using a media converter.