With the increase in the number of high-tech gadgets, there is also a need to adopt the necessary innovations for ethernet cables. With the rising need for ethernet cables, which one to choose for network specifications is the real factor. Networking cables are divided into two classes: shielded and unshielded according to the need.
While having a common internal structure, shielding (STP) is the main component that sets it apart from unshielded cables. The article is about the explanation of shielded vs unshielded cables and which one you should adopt for your networking. Here let’s put it all together to understand the concept of STP and UTP networking cables.
As you know, the ethernet cable is made up of 8 separated color-coded conductors (Pure Copper). Furthermore, these 8 separated conductors are further twisted making 4 twisted pairs. When it comes to you picking the right ethernet cable you should always look for the better option.
As the quote said, “Necessity is the mother of invention” so to avoid external interference the need of shielded twisted pairs is much needed.
What Are Shielded Cables?
The shielded twisted pair (STP) cable, features an additional protective insulation layer that fights against the EMI and RFI present in the environment.
The main problem is the presence of electromagnetic interference or the presence of microwaves near your network. EMI has the potential to interrupt your data transfer when there is a need to send a large amount of data on high priority. In STP cables, the twisted pairs of wires are further wrapped with a foil insulation layer that enhances the strength of the cable against electromagnetic interference.
At the core of the networking cable, all STP and UTP cables are built with twisted pairs of copper wiring. The unshielded twisted pairs act as a barrier and reduce crosstalk and EMI but shielded cables go further beyond that of unshielded cables. The shielded cables category is described below as how shielded cables are formed.
The shielding cables can be made either wrapped around the twisted pair of cables or both. Hence making the cable tougher and thicker for installation.
F/UTP – Foil/Unshielded Twisted Pair
It is abbreviated as foil/unshielded twisted pair, a foil shield throughout the cable, and provides the most basic level of shielding.
With time, the cable becomes prone to damage due to the fragile behavior of the shielding material.
S/UTP – Shielded/Unshielded Twisted Pair
A type of shielded cable, wrapped around with a braid or screen, throughout the cable. The cable is more durable and reliable. This type of shielded cable provides less protection than that foil-shielded cable.
With braided cable, things seem more complicated in terms of weight and managing the cable during installation.
F/FTP – Foil/Foil Twisted Pair
The internal structure of this cable is foil shielded to the entire cable and also each twisted pair cable. Such type of shielding cable is more strong for reducing the effect of crosstalk and electromagnetic interference.
This additional foil coating makes the cable less flexible and the bend radius is near to a specific angle. It cannot be installed in complex structures of the building where high bends are required and over time it becomes vulnerable to damage.
S/FTP – Shielded/Foil Twisted Pair
In this type of cable, shielded cable with a braided shield to the entire cable provides 100% protection against EMI and crosstalk. The cable features almost resistance against every interference and acts as a strong intact medium for sending and receiving the data.
These are some of the shielded cable types which can be used for reducing external influence. Moreover, there is another type of shielded cable that includes an internal spline (a plastic material used to divide the twisted pairs of cable).
It further supports the cable to mitigate against (AXT) and (NEXT). In cables like Cat6 shielded cable, the twisted pairs are tight enough to reduce the effect of crosstalk and provide better conductivity.
Unshielded Cables – What Are They?
Unshielded cables are standard ethernet cables with less protection against EMI than their counterparts (Shielded Cables).
The cable internal structure is the same twisted pairs, speed, and cable lengths that cannot be installed in complex structures, but instead in a stationary environment. Another benefit, these cables are cost-effective and can be available within your required budget but the main thing is you are investing in the right cable. This cable due to lack of insulation layer is thinner and lighter. Hence, can be easily installed.
Well, the answer is quite simple, you have to look carefully at the building specifications. If there is already a complex wiring structure then buying an unshielded cable might cause you more burden on your budget.
Shielded Vs Unshielded Cables
|Provides more protection against EMI
|Has an additional layer of foil or braid
|Some might use spline for dividing twisted pairs
|Can be installed in Complex wiring Structure
|The stationary environment with minimal wires
|More Rigid and complicated to install
|Thinner and lighter, easy to install
|Small bending radius
|Large bending radius
These are some of the core features of the STP and UTP cables that can be understood easily.
While purchasing the right cable everyone wants to get a less expensive cable but sometimes cost-efficient cables prove to be more expensive due to wrong decisions.
Which Cable You Should Buy
Choosing the right cable between STP and UTP is entirely up to you and your fine judgment. The reason for buying the STP cables is the need to cancel the effect of external interference which can cause the data to disrupt and slow down transmission speed.
On the other hand, the unshielded cables are only catered to buy under your budget constraints and the minimum requirement of outside interference.
If there are no budget limitations, the priority is for the STP cables which provide future-proofing for your network. If you are unaware of what type of cable your environment requires, for the safe side buy shielded cables.
The comparison between shielded and unshielded cables is quite easy in explaining each cable in a better way for your understanding. There are some genuine reasons we might stick to choosing the right cable due to the specifications and the multiple vendors offering the same specifications.
The right choice cable is STP cable, what next possible choice you might have? If you are planning to upgrade your network infrastructure, then it’s quite obvious you need a shielded ethernet cable rather than unshielded ethernet cables.