etetool.gif (3468 bytes)"Cat 5, A Closer Look"

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Cat 5, Up Close


    Category 5 cable is constructed usingeight 24 AWG insulated conductors (four pairs), enclosed by a thermoplastic jacket. Each of the four conductor pairs is twisted together at a slightly different twist-per-inch rate, in order to create a balanced high-speed communications circuit and to reject electrical interference or "noise" from sources such as power wiring, fluorescent and HID ballasts, mo tors, and so on.
    Most Cat 5 cable uses PVC (polyvinyl chloride) insulation, but plenum cables intended to be installed in spaces that handle environmental air use more expensive fluorinated ethylene propylen (FEP) lso known as Teflon.
    Just as speed has made Cat 5 the defacto standard for data networks, it has driven manufacturers to develop and market "extended performance" Cat 5 cables. These cable-which are manufactured with tighter twists, more precise conductor -to- conductor spacing, and premium insulation-are rated at 350 MHz. But because there are no extended performance Cat 5 outlets and patch panels to connect to these premium cables, there are no guarantees the resulting systems can perform at that rating.

- This article was written by Brooke Stauffer.


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