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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to Network+
 9  Chapter 0001:  LAN Cabling
      9  V  Twisted Pair Technologies

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Twisted Pair Cable Naming Conventions
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Understanding Twisted Pair Technologies Can I tell twisted pair cables apart by looking at them?

In many cases, different Cat levels of cable can look identical (and use the same physical connectors on the ends of cables), and still have different data-carrying capabilities and performance. Among Unshielded Twisted Pair, for example, Cat 3 and Cat 5 cables might look interchangeable, but due to their hardware characteristics, Cat 5 performs better than Cat 3 at higher data transmission speeds.

Can I substitute one lookalike cable for another?

In general in the Unshielded Twisted Pair world, a higher-level Cat cable can be substituted for a lower one without affecting network reliability or speed.

However, the same is not true in reverse – if you’re using your cable at its maximum rated speed, and replace a cable with one of a lesser Cat level, it may not work (worst case) or it may slow down your network.

How do I know which to use?

Selection of the proper variety of twisted pair cable requires that you know the network hardware communication standard used at your site (or that you determine the standard to be used, at a new site), and the hardware that must be connected.


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