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What is an UTP cable?

In our daily lifes, Internet keeps increasing in its importance; more and more people start not only doing their tasks, but also socialize and recreate themselves on the World Wide Web. Just have a look around at home, just to see how many devices are being used with the help of the Internet - problably more than just your computer. Many people are using the Internet for a lot of other devices, like the printer, media box, television and maybe even a NAS.

For all these devices, Internet is needed. In order of having a steady (home) network, it is advised to connect your devices with an UTP cable. This is a networking cable, and is made for data transfer and telephony. So its whole task is connecting devices with each other and/or the Internet.

What does UTP stand for?

UTP stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair. In the mantle of a UTP cable you will find eight separate wires. All the wires are twisted in four pairs. A connector can be placed on the end of these cables. These connectors are also known as RJ45 plugs.

voorbeeld utp kabel

What is the function of the UTP wires?

The wires have the function to transmit the signal. To prefent malfundtions, they are twisted in pairs. There are eight different wires, which are twisted in four different pairs.

Which different categories are known?


There's a vast variety of UTP cables. One of the most important difference, is the large range of Categories. Starting from Cat5 (category 5), we are already capable of using Cat8. And it doesn't end there, for within these categories there are other different types of UTP cables. For example, we not only have Cat5, but there's Cat5e too! The difference between these categories is the different bandwidths the cables can work with. For example, a UTP Cat8 cable has the highest data transfer. Down below you can find an overview of the various cables and the corresponding speeds:

  • UTP Cat5, has a transfer rate of 100mbit/s and a bandwidth of 100Mhz
  • UTP Cat5e, has a transfer rate of 1.000mbit/s and a bandwidth of 100Mhz
  • UTP Cat6, has a transfer rate of 1.000mbit/s and a bandwidth of 250Mhz
  • UTP Cat6a, has a transfer rate of 10.000mbit/s and a bandwidth of 500Mhz
  • UTP Cat7, has a transfer rate of 10.000mbit/s and a bandwidth of 1.000Mhz
  • UTP Cat7a, has a transfer rate of 10.000mbit/s and a bandwidth of 1.200Mhz
  • UTP Cat8 has a transfer rate of 10.000mbit/s and a bandwidth of 2.000Mhz

 

As you can see, the higher the category, the higher the speed of the cable. However, a high category is not always better. For example, you have to keep in mind that not all your networking equipment can process that much data. If the router can only process 100mbit /s and it is connected to a UTP Cat7 cable, the maximum speed will still be 100mbit /s.

Shielding of UTP cables

Technically, UTP cables have no protection of the wires. The U stands for Unshielded, adter all. However, since the term "UTP cable", is simply a synonym for "networking cable", it is technically all the same thing. To prefent unnecessary confusion, all networking cables provided with protection, or so-called "shields", are dubbed with different abbrevations. To clarify these, an overview is given down below:

Old nameNew nameCable shieldWire shield
UTPU/UTPnonenone
STPU/FTPnonefoil
FTPF/UTPfoilnone
S-STPS/FTPbraidedfoil
S-FTPSF/UTPfoil, braidednone

The thickness of the internal cables of a UTP cable are indicated in AWG. AWG stands for "American wire gauge". With UTP cables you often see that this value is 23AWG or 24AWG. The rule that applies to AWG is the following: the lower the number, the thicker the cable. This can be explained due to the way the cable is made. It corresponds to how often the cable is pulled through a mold. The more often that happens, the thinner the cable will be.

Learn more about the several categories of UTP cables and which one we recommend, depending on the situation:

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