UTP, which means Unshielded Twisted Pair, is a type of cable consisting of two unshielded and twisted wires twisting around each other. It is extensively used in telephones and Local Area Network (LAN) connections. It does not offer a higher bandwidth unlike co-axial or fiber-optics, but it is easier to use and less costly.
Networks rely on cables as the medium where information can flow from a network to another. Some networks may use only one type of cable while some may use many types for their Local Area Network (LAN). A cable chosen for a network may depend on the topology, size, or protocol of the network. It is important to know the characteristics of each cable type so the network will do well after set-up.
The UTP Cable
There are different grades of UTP cable and each one has different capacity from one another.
- UTP category 1 only supports voice transmission like the telephone wire;
- UTP category 2 supports data transmission up to 4 Mbps;
- Category 3 supports Ethernet at 10Mbps;
- Category 4 supports at 20 Mbps; and
- Category 5, which is the fastest, supports 100 Mbps high-speed Ethernet.
Thus, UTP cable can be used for telephone wires as well as for a very fast Ethernet capacity.
Inside the Cable
The cable has two pairs of wire within the jacket, a total of four. It works in pairs because the two wires will carry opposite and equal signals merged at the destination. Each pair of wires is twisted according to a definite number of twists so that interference from other pairs of wire and electrical devices will be avoided.
Every inch in the length of the cable has a different twist from each other. However, tightly twisted cables are more costly than the loosely twisted ones. The principle behind is that the more-tightly twisted wires can support a higher transmission rate. Therefore, it is also more expensive.
When selecting the best cable you need, choose the one you can afford but is still viable for new development in transmission technology. It has to fit your design specifications. Choosing Category 5 will be a good option because it provides room for improvement.