When it comes to picking out Ethernet cables, one of the questions we often get asked is “what is the difference between solid and stranded?” If you are unsure of the answer, you’re not alone. Today we will go over the differences between solid and stranded cables, and which ones will work best in different types of installations.
To begin, the biggest difference between a solid and a stranded cable is the way they are designed. A solid cable has just one thick copper wire running through each conductor, while stranded cables have a few small copper wires that are twisted together to form a single conductor. These design differences are what make these two different types of cables work better in different environments.
Solid cables are stiffer and more rigid than stranded cables, and because of this they can be ran through walls easily, and they are more durable when it comes to impact and abrasion. This stiffness also makes solid cables easier to terminate. However, the rigidness of a solid cable also makes them less portable. Solid wires also stand up to corrosion better than stranded, which makes it ideal for outdoor installations. Cables with PoE (power over Ethernet) use a solid core. Solid cables have also have what’s referred to as a lower “attenuation,” otherwise known as resistance.
Stranded cables are much more flexible than a solid cable, which makes them perfect for shorter installations like in workstations, where they cable may need to be moved around a lot. Keep in mind that stranded cables are more expensive to manufacture, so therefore they are more expensive than solid cables.
So which should you choose, solid or stranded? In the end it depends on what you are looking to do. If you are looking for a shorter wall-to-patch panel cable, your best bet is stranded. If you are looking to run a cable in-wall or in a more permanent installation, then your best bet is to go with a solid core.
So now that you have the differences between solid and stranded down, you can pick which type will work best to keep your install running flawlessly and to give you peace of mind.