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VI Cables and Wireless
So we have a bunch of PCs with NICs
that a ready to go. How do we connect them together so that they can
share resources, like files and printers? The answer for most networks
is by cables. As with everything else in the PC world, there are a myriad
of various cable types that can be used to wire a network. For the purposes
of this book and the A+ exam, we will focus on cabling used in Ethernet
networks. We will begin our discussion on network cabling with a history
lesson about the early days of Ethernet cabling.
Thick, Not Thin
In the original days of Ethernet, it was designed for tying together a few mini computers. The early design used what was officially called Thick Ethernet. Those of us who actually had to work with the cable called it a Frozen Garden Hose. That is what it felt like to work with it. It had a maximum length of 500 meters (approximately 540 yards). Physically it featured a solid copper core, with a thick plastic shroud, followed by a braided metal shield, which was enclosed in a plastic covering.
If struggling with this cable didn't get you, the connector, sooner or later would. Cables were 'tapped' with a device known as a Vampire Tap (see Figure 103). This device had two 'fangs' of unequal length. One 'bit' the shield, while the other sank down to hit the copper core. These fangs were very sharp, which was needed to penetrate the cable, or draw blood from the installer.
Since it was so much 'fun' to work with, and expensive, other options appeared.