Types of Computer Cable
There are many types of Computer Cable for a wide range of special purposes, and even more terms used to describe it all. What type of cable should you use, and when? Some cable projects are so basic, your thirteen-year-old neighbor can set it all up for you. This is great and we love DIY-ers of all ages. But when the installation of ethernet cable becomes more detailed and possibly requires drilling a hole or covering one up, you might want to re-think having your neighbor fussing about with a sledgehammer.
Our experts here at cable supply are so good at what they do, they speak ethernet. This article will break it down for you. This way, you know exactly what type of cable to purchase here at Cable Supply. Also, knowing about ethernet cable and the types there are just makes you a solid conversationalist. You, at a cocktail party, your IT Professional truck parked outside. And people swarming about as you regale them with stories about the latest ethernet installation you did out behind an avocado grove.
Oh, the stories you'll tell. Now let's get started.
PVC Cable / CMR Cable
PVC cable (or CMR cable) is the most common and least expensive type of indoor Ethernet cable. It is ideal for enclosed spaces that do not share airflow with areas of human habitation. We sell these types of Ethernet Cables here at cable supply but can always help you find the exact cut and fit for your job.
Plenum / CMP
Plenum-rated Ethernet cable (or CMP cable) is indoor cable encased in a jacket that conforms to more strict fire safety standards.
Plenum-rated cable is best for use in plenum airspaces (large ceiling areas that share airflow with inhabited rooms) to reduce the risk of harm in the event of a fire. PVC cable produces a deadly toxic smoke when it burns. Plenum-rated cable does not.
There are commercial building codes and workplace safety standards which may require the use of plenum-rated cabling. Check your local code then get back to Cable Supply to get the right Ethernet cable for you.
These gel-filled cables contain a clear gel substance inside the jacket that encases all the wires. What makes this Ethernet cable unique is that the gel is water-resistant, protecting the cable from moisture and water.
Regular Ethernet cable buried in the ground will be exposed to underground moisture, even when placed inside a conduit. All it takes is a small amount of moisture to deteriorate the cable. Gel-filled cable, however, can be directly buried; the gel will keep the moisture out and the cable will last much longer.
The gel is not harmful to the environment and will not harm skin upon contact. The gel itself is perfectly fine to work with but you should be prepared to clean up after the project is complete. This is because the gel can actually be quite messy. After you open the cable to terminate, you might find a mess on your hands so does keep a shop rag nearby.
Direct burial cable is another term for gel-filled cable. They both refer to the same thing and have the same characteristics. Direct burial cable is gel-filled and can be directly buried in the ground without conduit.
UV-protected cable (sometimes called "UV cable") possesses a jacket that is resistant to the ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by the sun.
Sunlight contains UV rays in addition to visible light. Regular indoor cable (CMR, CMP, PVC, and plenum) should not be used outdoors because it will deteriorate within a few years from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
If you plan to run cable across a roof or along a fence, you need to use UV-protected cable. It resists UV rays and holds up well in bad weather.
For added protection, consider UV cable with gel-fill – especially if you plan to run the same cable underground. Gel-filled UV cable protects against both ultraviolet light and moisture.
Ethernet cable is necessary when you're close to strong electrical interference. Nearby generators, electrical motors, and radio stations are sources of this interference and can disrupt signals passing through unprotected cable. (Shielded cable is NOT needed to protect against fluorescent lights.)
You must use shielded cable and shielded jacks to protect your data integrity, preferably with shielded patch panels and patch cords as well. The shielding must be grounded. Once grounded, the cable is protected from electrical interference.
The new code TIA1179 (hospital installation) requires cat6A shielded cabling or above.
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