Common Types of Shielding Used for Ethernet Cables

Common Types of Shielding Used for Ethernet Cables

The use of cables has become a widespread commonality amongst the people and businesses of our world. We use Ethernet cables with computers and routers to maintain a solid connection to the Internet. These cables have a unique protective element called shielding to help them perform efficiently and without interference from outside sources.

What Is Shielding?

Wires act as a conduit that transfers electricity from one source to another. These electrical pulses produce electromagnetic waves that can leak out from the wires and cause interference to other cables or small electronic devices or even be detected and recorded by bad actors. To prevent this interference and potential leakage, we place shielding around wires, controlling the electromagnetic waves from leaking out or being disrupted and protecting the electrical pulses in the wires from any possible signal interference.

Think of shielding as insulation inside the cable that keeps interference out and signals in. The shielding usually consists of a conductive material, such as mylar foil and/or braided strands.

Foil Shield

This material is a common type of shielding that wraps around the wires with an aluminum mylar layer, occasionally with a polyester backing to increase durability and structure. Cat5e network cables are easily sourced with this shielding, making them cheap and easy to craft with great protection against interference.

Braided Shield

Braided shielding is another common type of shielding that uses tin or copper as a material to create a woven metal tube encasing the wires. This shielding works better than foil shielding due to its thicker, stronger shape and ability to handle higher-performance electrical tasks. Braided shields don’t offer an absolute amount of coverage, but provide a solid amount depending on how tightly it is woven. Given its bulk, you may want to consider the amount of space it will occupy.

Shielding is an essential aspect of Ethernet cables and their function. These layers of protection will prevent interference and help the electrical pulses in the wires get to their destination efficiently.

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