Back to Basics: What Are Ethernet Cables? How do They Work?

You’ve likely heard the term Ethernet before, but have you ever stopped to think about how Ethernet cables actually work and why they’re still so widely used? If you haven’t, there’s no need to worry. This short guide will help you understand what Ethernet cables are and some of their most important applications. Keep reading to learn more!

What is an Ethernet cable?
Ethernet cables come in a few different categories, but they all serve the same purpose. They are one of the most popular network cables and typically serve as a stable connection to a building’s Internet service. You’ve almost certainly used these colorful cables before to connect a computer to the Internet. In an age where WiFi has been ingrained so fully into our lives, it’s hard to imagine why these network Ethernet cables would be necessary, but the stable connection they provide often surpasses the capabilities of WiFi.

What does an Ethernet cable look like?
Ethernet cables come in many sizes. These cables could easily run from a second story bedroom to a basement family room if necessary. An Ethernet cable may look similar to a phone cable, but the ends are typically larger and the cables themselves hold more material within.

Are there different types of Ethernet cables?
Yes! Cat5e network cables and Cat6 Ethernet cables are frequently used because they offer efficient, reliable bandwidth to support any normal household Internet connection. In addition, Ethernet cables are often categorized as either solid or stranded. Solid cables are used for infrastructures such as home runs between the wall socket and a panel in a media closet while stranded cables patch the device to our wall socket. Stranded are more flexible, offering a tighter bend radius which can be useful around the desk or in very short situations such as connecting ports from a punch down panel to a switch. If you’re looking for a basic and reliable cable, Cat6 and Cat5e network cables are a great starting point.

Wireless technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth have moved in where Ethernet once stood alone, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’ve reached the end of the Ethernet age. This connection is still important for desktop computers and even smart devices such as televisions or other home appliances that utilize the Internet. Whatever the application, now you have a better knowledge of Ethernet cables to move forward with.

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