Copper Network

Copper Network

Cooper Cabling is one of the two basic types of physical cabling media (the other being glass or fiber-optic cabling). Copper cabling is cheap and flexible, but it is susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI), has limited range because of attenuation, and generates electromagnetic radiation that can be intercepted by nearby equipment.

The types of copper cabling commonly used in networking include

  1. Twisted-pair Cabling, such as Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) cabling and shielded twisted-pair (STP) cabling

  2. Coaxial cabling, such as thin net and thick net

Twisted-pair Cabling

Twisted-pair cabling is a form of copper cabling that consists of one to four pairs of color-coded insulated stranded copper wires that are twisted together in pairs and enclosed in a protective outer sheath.

Twisted-pair cabling is terminated with RJ-11 connectors and was originally developed for the telephone system. It is now also the cabling of choice for networking workgroups and departmental local area networks (LANs). Twisted-pair cabling for networking purposes has RJ-45 connectors at each end.

In computer networking environments that use twisted-pair cabling, one pair of wires is typically used for transmitting data while another pair receives data. The twists in the cabling reduce the effects of crosstalk and make the cabling more resistant to electromagnetic interference (EMI), which helps maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio for reliable network communication. Twisted-pair cabling used in Ethernet networking is usually unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling, while shielded twisted-pair (STP) cabling is typically used in Token Ring networks. UTP cabling comes in different grades for different purposes, the most common of which is category 5 cabling.

Coaxial Cabling

Coaxial Cabling is a form of network cabling used primarily in older Ethernet networks and in electrically noisy industrial environments. The name «coax» comes from its two-conductor construction in which the conductors run concentrically with each other along the axis of the cable.

Coaxial cabling generally consists of a solid copper core for carrying the signal, covered with successive layers of inner insulation, aluminium foil, a copper braided mesh, and outer protective insulation. A solid conductor provides better conductivity than a stranded one, but is less flexible and more difficult to install. The insulation is usually PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or a non-stick coating; the aluminium foil and copper mesh provide shielding for the inner copper core. The mesh also provides the point of grounding for the cable to complete the circuit.

Coaxial cabling is often used in heavy industrial environments where motors and generators produce a lot of electromagnetic interference (EMI), and where more expensive fibre-optic cabling is unnecessary because of the slow data rates needed.

Coaxial cabling has been largely replaced by twisted-pair cabling for local area network (LAN) installations within buildings, and by fibre-optic cabling for high-speed network backbones.