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Types of Cabling Media

Media Types

One of the first choices faced when planning or developing a structured cabling system is the type of media to be used.

ANSI/TIA/EIA 568 recognizes these different medias:

  • Copper Media:
    • Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP).
    • Shielded Twisted Pair (STP).
  • Fiber Media:
    • Single-mode optical fiber cables.
    • Multimode optical fiber cables.


Copper Media

There are several types of cable which are commonly used with LANs.

In some cases, a network will utilize only one type of cable, Other networks will use a variety of cable types.

The type of cable chosen for a network is related to the network's topology, protocol, and size.

  • CAT 6
  • CAT 6a
  • CAT 5e


Fiber Media

A Fiber-optic system is similar to the copper wire system that fiber-optics is replacing.

The difference is that fiber-optics use light pulses to transmit information down fiber lines instead of using electronic pulses to transmit information down copper lines.

The two basic types of fiber cables are;

  • Multi-Mode Fiber cables
  • Single-Mode Fiber cables


Multi-Mode Fiber cable

Multi-mode optical fiber (MM) is a type of optical fiber mostly used for communication over shorter distances, such as within a building or on a campus.

Typical multimode links have data rates of 10 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s over link lengths of up to 600 meters more than sufficient for the majority of premises applications.


Single-Mode Fiber cable

A Single-mode optical fiber (SM) is an optical fiber designed to carry only a single ray of light (mode).

This ray of light often contains a variety of different wavelengths.

Although the ray travels parallel to the length of the fiber, it is often called the transverse mode since its electromagnetic vibrations occur perpendicular (transverse) to the length of the fiber.

This type of fiber cables is used for longer distances


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