If you’ve ever seen a movie that involves a bomb squad, you know that messing with wires and cables is no easy task.  Fortunately, fumbling with cables when building a network won’t cause an explosion, but it can seem just as disastrous when things aren’t working properly.

Despite the ever-increasing wireless world we live in, many of the networks used by businesses worldwide, still depend on wire and cables to work.  That means that a crash course on cable is in order for business owners, especially if you don’t have Information Technology experts on staff.  Read on for some cable basics.

Wire vs. Cable

For any cable newbies out there, the best place to start is with understanding the difference between wire and cables.  It’s really quite simple.  Wire is defined by gauge number which runs from 0000 to No. 40.  The smaller the number, the thicker the wire and the more current it carries.

Cable, on the other hand, is a collection of strands of wire.   Cables generally contain a “hot” line that carries the current, a “neutral” line and a grounding wire.  Cables are categorized by number of wires and size – and contain a series of letters and numbers.

Network Cables

The four most commonly used types of network cables are:  Coaxial, Ethernet, Fiber Optic and Phone lines.

  • Coaxial:  Invented in the 1880s, this copper conductor cable is best known for connecting early TVs to home antennas.  Today, coaxial cables are used as a line for transmitting radio frequencies great distances.  They are most often used to carry internet connections.  Their claim to fame is that they can do this with little or no interference.
  • Ethernet: Created by Xerox in the 1970’s, this type of cable is used for making connections.  Ethernet is a type of cross-over cable that can connect two or more network devices of the same type, like computer systems.  Ethernet cables are most commonly used for connecting network devices.  While similar to a DSL cable, Ethernet cables have a greater capacity.
  • Fiber Optic: Quickly growing in popularity because of their lightning-fast transmission speed, fiber optic cables operate using strands of glass and pulses of light.  If you work in a large office building or complex, it’s likely that fiber optics are used to carry the large volume of communications traffic common to large enterprises.  Fiber optics also work well with WANs or wide area networks that span entire cities, states or countries. The internet is the king of all WANs as it enables online communications worldwide.
  • Phone Line: These are known as electromagnetic interference (EMI), or twisted line cables.  Once used for dial-up and DSL Internet service, phone lines are quickly being replaced by Ethernet and fiber optic cables.  They still play a vital role in connecting land-line telephone service and show no signs of disappearing anytime soon.

Still stumped?

If dealing with wire and cables isn’t something you have time for, consider outsourcing that work to a professional telecommunications provider.  That’s all they do.  You can get back to running your business while the wire and cable experts take care of keeping all systems go.

MAX Communications Inc. is a complete business telecommunications provider offering business telephone systems and video surveillance systems throughout the tri-state area. We pride ourselves on our 11-year long-standing reputation for excellence, quality, and customer satisfaction.  For questions or more information, give us a call and we’ll be right over.  You can also contact us here.