A UTP cable with 4 twisted pairs of wires


Unshielded twisted pair or UTP is the most common type of network cable, used everywhere. While technically incorrect, this is often called an ethernet cable. As it works very well with the ethernet protocol, which is why it gets that name.

UTP cables contain four pairs of wires, with each wire wrapped in an insulator. Each pair of wires are then twisted together, which is where the ‘twisted’ part of the name comes from.

Twisting the wires together stops ‘crosstalk’, a type of interference.

This clever method stops the electromagnetic field of one wire from affecting another. This avoids corrupting the information being sent.

Over the years, a range of different standards of UTP network cables have been created.These are called ‘categories’.  Each new category is an improvement on the last. We generally shorten these names to ‘cat’ . For example, you may have heard of ‘cat 6’ or ‘cat 6a’.

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