Unshielded Twisted-Pair Cable
UTP is a 100 ohm twisted pair cable. It is the most commonly used cable in data communication. It is used in Ethernet networks and telephone systems. This cable is easy to install, and its installation charges are cheap.
UTP cable only has an outer covering (jacket) and no shielding. The outer covering contains a type of non-conducting material and covers pairs of wire that are twisted together. Usually, a UTP cable contains four twisted pairs.
The American National Standards Institute/Telecommunications Industry Association/Electrical Industries Association-568-A (ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A) standard defines various categories of UTP cable, such as Category 3, 4, and 5, to help customers in selecting the right cable for the right application. In addition to these categories, some other categories of UTP cable such as Category 5e, 6, and 7 have been defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A for offering high-speed data transmission. Various categories of UTP cable are as follows:
Category 1: Supports frequencies less than 1 MHz. Category 1 cables are commonly used in analog voice telephone systems. These cables are not defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard.
Category 2: Supports frequencies up to 1 MHz. This type of cable offers data and voice transmission speed of 4Mbps. Category 2 cables are used only in twisted-pair ARCnet and Apple LocalTalk networks. These cables are not defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard.
Category 3: Supports frequencies up to 16 MHz. Category 3 cables are used in UTP Token Ring, 10Base-T Ethernet, 100Base-T4 Ethernet, and telephone systems. These cables are defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard for voice applications.
Category 4: Support frequencies up to 20 MHz. Category 4 cables are especially designed for Token Ring LANs of 16 Mbps.
Category- 5: Supports frequencies up to 100 MHz. Category 5 cables are used in applications that use FDDI and 100BaseTX over copper and 155 Mbps Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) over UTP.
Category 5e (Enhanced Category 5): Supports frequencies up to 100 MHz. In addition, Category 5e cable-, provide enhanced performance and a tighter transmission test requirement. These cables are used in applications that run on high speed, such as Gigabit Ethernet.
Category 6: Supports frequencies up to 250 MHz. These cables are used for high-speed applications. These cables are used with 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, and Gigabit Ethernet. Category 6 cables are defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A standard.
Category 6A (Augmented Category 6): Supports frequencies up to 500 MHz. These cables are used in the area of unknown crosstalk. It provides better performance in comparison to category 6 cables.
Category 7: Supports frequencies up to 600 MHz. This category is defined by International Organization for Standardization/International Electro-technical Commission (ISO/IEC) standard. These cables are used for Gigabit Ethernet.
UTP Categories and Corresponding Data Transfer Rate:
|UTP Category||Purpose||Data Transfer Rate|
|Category 1||Voice Only||1 Mbps|
|Category 2||Data||4 Mbps|
|Category 3||Data||10 Mbps|
|Category 4||Data||16 Mbps|
|Category 5||Data||100 Mbps|
|Category 5e||Data||1 Gbps|
|Category 6||Data||1 Gbps|
|Category 6A||Data||10 Gbps|
|Category 7||Data||40 Gbps|