1.3. Connecting with Network Cabling
After choosing your network topology, it is time to connect all the network devices together, which means deciding the type of cabling to use. The following sections discuss and evaluate the different types of cabling available for standard networks.
1.3.1. Twisted pair
Twisted pair cabling, which is inexpensive and easy to use, is one of the most popular types of cabling used. It gets its name from the fact that it contains four pairs of wires twisted around each other inside the cable's outer jacket, the outer covering of the cabling shown in Figures 1-8 and 1-9. Twisted pair cabling comes in two flavors — unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (STP) — shown in Figure 1-8 and Figure 1-9, respectively.
Figure 1.8. Unshielded twisted pair cabling.
Figure 1.9. Shielded twisted pair cabling.
The only difference between UTP and STP is that STP cabling has an extra layer of insulation, which helps prevent interference from outside devices or cabling. Such interference can distort the data traveling along the cable length.
UTP comes in a number of different flavors, called grades or categories. Table 1-1 lists the categories of UTP cabling, as well as their purpose and speed.