Did you know that a fiber networking cable could theoretically allow you to download a movie in 4 seconds?

Modern internet speeds allow businesses to transfer data at lightning speed. This means improved productivity and better coordination in work-from-home situations. But without the right networking cable, all of that is for naught.

The right cable decides it all. It not only determines speed but also reliability. A poor-quality cable of the wrong type can slow down your network.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about network cabling for your business. Then you can get in contact with a business cabling contractor to get those blistering-fast speeds.

How Does a Networking Cable Affect Speeds?

First, it’s important to understand how our worldwide internet works. The internet allows you to interact with people and businesses on the other side of the world. In order for this to be possible, computers need a medium to transmit information.

Believe it or not, information can travel at the speed of light. That’s right, the speed limit of the universe is also the limit on how fast data can go between two points. However, that only works in theory.

Light travels at full speed when in a vacuum and without obstructions–in other words, when in space. But when you try to transmit light through another medium, that slows light down. The material of a networking cable, therefore, determines its speed.

Networking Cable Materials and Applications

There are two main ways to transmit data: metal and glass. Electricity travels at the speed of light, meaning you can transmit data through a copper wire.

However, it travels much faster through glass. A fiber optic cable uses strands of glass to achieve these speeds.

You can get impressive speeds with copper wire cables, which have been around for over a hundred years. But fiber optic cables allow businesses to get gigabit speeds and above. Those are the speeds that allow you to download a movie in seconds.

That said, it’s not necessary to have fiber optic cables connecting all your devices. With the short distances inside a building, you can use a wide variety of cables to great effect. That’s why it’s important to get a contractor for networking cable who understands these differences.

Types of Networking Cables

When your networking cable contractor comes, they’ll give you several options to choose from. Every cable works best in a handful of specific applications.

There are ethernet cables, coaxial cables, fiber optic cables, and more. A networking cable contractor will be an invaluable asset to understanding when and where you need certain cables.

Cat Cables

Cat cables are the most ubiquitous on the list here. They are a staple for any networking solution. You’ll see them connecting computers, routers, or even buildings.

Here is a list of common Cat cables:

  • Cat 1 – Two pairs of wires, ideal for voice transmission when it comes to telephone networks
  • Cat 2 – Four pairs of wires, ideal for a “token-ring” network
  • Cat 3 – A basic ethernet cable, perfect for LAN (local area network)
  • Cat 4 – Preferable for a token-ring network with advanced capabilities
  • Cat 5 – Preferable for a LAN network with advanced capabilities
  • Cat 6 – Uses a plastic core, which prevents crosstalk (interference) among cables
  • Cat 7 – Plastic cores like Cat 6, but with more twisted pairs to further increase bandwidth while reducing crosstalk

Note, Cat 1-3 are mostly obsolete and see much less use than the more common Cat 4-7 cables. Cat 7 offers superior speed, shielding, and durability.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure how to tell these cables apart. Your cabling contractor will gladly explain the differences.

Coaxial Cables

Coaxial cables are a trustworthy design that has existed on the market for a century. You can find these cables in many residential and business applications. They work great for transmitting data, video, and voice.

What makes coaxial cables so great is their shielded design. They have a copper-covered steel core, shrouded in insulation. Around this insulation is a shielded layer.

Shielded cables avoid the aforementioned crosstalk issue. Crosstalk can result in interference from other electromagnetic waves. Shielded cables keep the signal clean until it reaches its destination.

Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber optic cables use strands of glass–the fiber–to send data. Rather than using electricity like the aforementioned cables, fiber uses light.

Fiber optic is ideal for transmissions over long distances. The cables that connect continents use fiber optics to facilitate this. They don’t suffer from interference the way that coaxial cables do.

Further, fiber optics are fast. The fastest internet plans use these cables.

Finally, fiber allows for the biggest bandwidth. Fiber optic cables can transmit more data than we are capable of. This is why a handful of fiber optic cables are able to transmit our data between countries and continents.

Twisted Pair Cables

Twisted pairs, as the name implies, are cables made up of several pairs of wires that are twisted together. These cables are very common, especially on telephone lines.

They come in two varieties: shielded and unshielded. Obviously, the unshielded cables will suffer from outside interference. Shielded pairs, like the coaxial cables, maintain data integrity in transmission.

Find the Right Networking Cable for You

Networking cable comes in several different types. While fiber optic is the fastest, it’s important to use the right cables in your networking applications. This ensures you have an optimized network at an affordable price.

If you’re looking for networking cable in Austin, you’ve come to the right place. Get in contact with a cabling contractor in Austin that will ensure your network is at peak speed and efficiency.

Businesses in San Antonio are also in luck. We also serve Kyle, Buda, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Selma, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Pflugerville.