Types of Data Cable

Data cables are used to transmit electronic information from a source to a destination. Extensively used in computer and telecommunication systems the type of data cabling is either copper or fibre optics. These can then be divided into three main types:

  • Twisted pair. (copper)
  • Coax. (copper)
  • Optic cables. (fibre)

Used in different environments, these data cables have different characteristics that make them identifiable.

Base Definitions


The IEEE/ISO 8802-3 (IEEE 802.3) standard for thin Ethernet coax network – 10 Mbps transmission, baseband signalling, 185m per coax segment. Also known as Thinnet or Cheapernet.


The IEEE/ISO 8802-3 (IEEE 802.3) standard for Ethernet backbone (trunk) cable networks – 10Mbps per second, baseband signalling, 500m per coax segment. Also known as Thicknet.

10BaseFL, FB, FP

The IEEE/ISO 8802-3 (IEEE 802.3) standard for optical fibre Ethernet networks connections for inter-repeater links, synchronous links and passive links – 10 Mbps transmission.

Trouble Shooter


Interference, which causes data bit errors, can come from outside the cable or within the cable. We might say from the “enemy without” or the “enemy within”. Generally, the former is easier to get rid of than the latter.

The enemy without

Induced electrical “spikes” or transients from electrical power cables particularly those carrying heavy switching currents.

Induced/radiated electrical “spikes” or transients from electric motors, fluorescent lights, photocopiers, air-conditioning motors, electric arc welders, electrical transformers especially under fault (unbalanced) conditions.


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