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Twisted pair cable is some of the majority of items we stock here at Infinity Cable Products. We truly pride ourselves on putting quality first while helping you out on the cost side as well. To better help you understand some of the products we carry we feel its important to cover as many topics as we can and an overview of balanced twisted pair cable is one of them.
Balanced Twisted Pair cable is a type of metallic conductor cable in which the construction is made up of twisted pairs. To produce these cables manufactures need to twist individual pairs and group those pairs together to form a cable or part of a cable in greater size.
The benefits of twisting pairs in ethernet cables is to minimize crosstalk and signal noise by lowering capacitance unbalance and mutual inductance coupling between pairs. By twisting the copper conductors you also improve on the balance between conductors of a pair and reduction in noise coupling from outside interference. This is why the cable then becomes a balanced twisted pair cable.
In twisted pair cable capacitance unbalance can occur when the electric field coupling between two pairs has a different voltage on one pair and a different noise current on another pair. For mutual inductance you take the magnetic field coupling between two pairs. In this test if a different current is applied on one pair and a differential noise current is measured on another pair then mutual inductance occurs.
Both of mutual inductance and capacitance unbalance are influenced by the length and consistency of pair twists. Having a balanced twisted pair cable helps in ensuring performance. One of these is its ability to minimized crosstalk. You can see more here on what is crosstalk? A twisted pair cable can minimize crosstalk by maintaining different twist lengths in between a range.
The standard range of twist rate in ethernet cable is usually a counter clockwise twist between 50 mm and 150 mm. Or 2 Inches and 6 inches. The other pairs in the cable have a different length as well around 0.50 inches. You'll notice that not all the pairs are twisted the same and this is to help in reducing crosstalk. It's important to mention here that each manufacturer will have a different twist rate in their cables. Make sure to purchase from a reputable company that offers certified cable.
For greater transmission in ethernet cable, Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6A will have tight twisting. You can expect the twist rate to increase as the category gets higher. Having a tight twist rate helps to keep the shape of the cable better than if it was to be loosely twisted. You'll notice some lower grade cables look like they are nested together in a box and while tighter twisted cable will hold there shape. Some of the best signs for this is a Reelex II box which will have the Reelex II wind. The cable will be nicely coiled in a shape for optimal performance during pulls.
Having a cable that is nicely balanced and has a tight twist rate helps in overall performance of the cable. It's important to purchase cable that is certified and tested so this is maintained. Lower grade cable will attempt to skip out on some of these characteristics to save on cost. Cable's performance relies on many factors and if they are not all on the same page than you can expect less than desirable performance.