Data cables serve an important purpose in our lives. Find out what they do and how they are made by reading this article.
What are data cables?
Data cables facilitate communication between parts of a device and multiple devices by connecting hardware components. This connection allows a data transfer cable to send electrical signals to the receiving device.
One example of this is seen when a computer communicates with its own hardware via the connection between the motherboard and the hard drive. These cables are also used to connect printers, scanners, and cameras to computers.
How are data cables made?
Because consumers have such high expectations regarding the speed at which data transfers, care needs to be taken when choosing the material used to create cables. Inappropriate materials will negatively affect the rate of data communication.
That’s why it’s essential to build data cable compounds from materials that aid in expediting data transmission and reducing electrical loss. Those materials form the jacket and insulation compounds that surround the data cables and affect transmission speed.
Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) is commonly used to cover data transfer cables. Not to be confused with low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear polyethylene is comprised of shorter branches and is fairly durable. LLDPE density ranges from 0.91-0.94g/cm3.
In addition to choosing the right materials for creating data cable compounds, increasing the cable’s diameter and the insulation’s thickness could also help to reduce signal disruptions. However, it’s important to remember that the cable’s diameter must fit available connectors.
Different data cable types
There are different kinds of data cables which are classified as follows:
- Twisted Pair Cables;
- Coax Cables,
- Fiber Optic Cables.
We are going to give an overview of each one now.
This type of data cable is designed according to its name. The wires are twisted in order to protect the transmission process from interference and prevent a decline in signal quality. This protection only goes so far as signal quality begins to decline at about the 300 ft mark.
A pair of copper conductors with plastic insulation form twisted wire cables. Each wire has its own part to play. One is responsible for transferring the signal while the other must be relied upon for ground reference.
This data cable type can be broken up into the following subcategories:
- UTP (unshielded twisted pair) – Does not have a metal shield for protecting the twisted wires. There are seven different UTP cable categories,
- STP (shielded twisted pair) – Includes a metal shield to cover the wires
Telephone lines, DSL lines, and local area networks utilize twisted wire data cables.
Coax data cables were commonly used in the past for computer networks, but now this type of cable is more often employed for TV communication and digital telephone networks.
Coax data cables are large and round with inner wires for transmitting data. The wire’s communication signal is preserved by an insulator and a shield, which are both enclosed in a casing. Coax data cables need a BNC connector in order to link to the desired device.
Although its bandwidth is greater, this type of cable loses more signaling strength than twisted-pair cables. However, coax data cable signals have higher frequency levels than twisted-pair cable signals.
This data cable type is the best choice when quick connections are desired. It is commonly used by telephone and cable companies for providing fast internet connections.
Fiber optic cables communicate through the use of light and glass, which makes these cables lightweight. A protective covering called cladding encases the core. Because they are partly made of glass, fiber optic cables are more delicate than other data cable types.
Fiber optic cable signals don’t lose as much strength as the twisted wire or coax cable signals do. However, fiber optic cables are more costly because they require network cards and specialized hardware.
Fiber optic cables work by directing light into channels. The cladding reflects the light to carry it through the core and transmit signals.
Fiber optic cables can be divided into two subcategories:
In multimode cables, several beams of light travel through the cable’s core component.
There are two different types of multimode cables:
- Multimode step-index fiber —This cable’s core density remains constant,
- Multimode graded-index fiber — This cable’s core density decreases towards the edges of the core which helps to reduce disruptions to traveling signals.
Depending on what the fiber optic cable is being used for, there are two different connectors:
- SC connector — This is used for cable TV.
- ST connector — This is used for networking devices.
Regardless of the type of data cable you need, its covering should be made from the right materials that will help the data transmission process. Polyexcel produces compounds that meet that need.
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