Crossover Cable versus Standard Cable and How They Work

Despite the advent of newer cable technologies, the crossover cable remains widely used for its various capacities. This is a type of cable that directs outgoing signals towards an electrical connector as it sends input signals to another connector. Using this type of cable allows two electronic devices to communicate directly.

More commonly known as the Ethernet crossover cable, it follows the same principles of other types of cable. Two separate computers connect via the NIC, or network interface controller. Hence, you can connect two devices using the Ethernet crossover cable even when there are no networking routers, hubs, or switches available.

The internal wiring that reverses the transmission and receives the signal differentiates the crossover cable from other Ethernet cables. While standard lines have the same order of colored wires on their end, in crossover cables, the 1st and 3rd wires (from left to right) are crossed, as well as the 2nd and 6th wires. Although standard cables have their own functionality, the Ethernet crossover cable has a different configuration of pins, so that two devices can simultaneously receive and send data.

If you intend to purchase Ethernet crossover cable, you will also see the name “crossover” on the package and wire casing. However, you need to take note that Ethernet crossover cables can be used only for direct network connections. You might also notice that the network link fails to function if you try connecting a computer to a hub using a crossover cable. The link will function if, instead of a hub, a home broadband router is used. This is because modern routers are equipped with logic that readily detects a crossover cable and enables it to function with other Ethernet devices.

Today, network cards can perform the same functions as those of a built in crossover cable. If two computers connect to the same network through a modem or router, crossover cables are no longer required to connect them.

Most computer stores or computer equipment shops today have crossover cables available when you need them. However, making your own crossover cable using available materials is also possible. Keep in mind that a crossover cable configures differently from a standard cable; you need to know the right configuration to receive and send data on both devices simultaneously.