A Closer Look at Data Cabling

Even while wireless technologies take us further and further away from our desks and our homes and allow us the freedom to connect without a cable, wired connections are still vital to making everything work. Without wired connections, many of our internet connections would never make it to their destinations and would take much longer. Even now, wired connections are still highly valued for keeping the world connected. In fact, just last month, tech giants Facebook and Microsoft agreed to partner on a new trans-Atlantic cable installation to carry 160 Tbps of data from Virginia to Spain to help expand connectivity across the ocean, reported MarketWatch.

With cables the true heroes behind our connectivity, we thought it wise to take a closer look at the two main types that make data transmission possible – copper cables and fiber optic cables.

Copper Cable

There are many types of copper cable used in data networks today. The cable has been improved through the years, and copper cabling can now sustain very high data rates. Copper cable does have limits when it comes to the length of each individual data connection, though. If the cable is too long, data rates will slow down. It’s important to maintain the right cable length to have a maximum available data rate.

Older copper cables also have the potential to slow your data rates depending upon the category of the cable. You may be familiar already with the most common Ethernet cables – CAT 5 and CAT 6. Proper installation of the copper cable is essential, as well. Jack terminations and cable routing can dramatically affect the data speeds.

Once the cable is installed it must be tested and certified by a trained technician who is certified by the manufacturer. Using testing equipment to certify the network’s capabilities is the only way to determine the integrity of the network. Without the proper installation and testing, even the best material can be useless. If your network is slow or additional data connections need to be installed, proper materials and quality workmanship are the keys to better data rates.

Fiber Optic Cable

Like copper cable, fiber optic cables have also been improved since they were first created. The length limitations with copper cable don’t exist with fiber optics, which is why cables can be nearly any length – whether 4 feet or 4,000 miles, like the cable Facebook and Microsoft are planning to install.

In many cases where the copper cable would have to be run too far to maintain data rates, fiber optic cable will be used to either make the connections alone or used in tandem with other electronic equipment to extend the reach of a network.

Like copper cabling, fiber optic cables must also be installed by a trained technician. To terminate fiber optic cable, a technician must use manufacturer-approved methods to ensure the fiber is not compromised by the connection terminal. Special equipment is also used to test and certify the fiber cable once it is in place.

At Muth Technology, we have extensive experience working with both copper and fiber optic voice and data cabling and can help you with your networking needs. Whether you need to wire an office to connect all of your computers or need to run wired data connections throughout a whole structure like an office building or hotel, we can help ensure that your cabling is installed correctly and offers reliable connectivity for every user. To learn more, give us a call today at 605-334-3232.