Networking Cables

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FAQ About Network Cables

When it comes to network cables, there’s no denying that there are a lot of options out there to choose from. Read on to get the answers to the most commonly asked questions about network cables to ensure you find the right one for your setup.

What is a network cable?

A network cable is essentially any cable that connects one network device to another to establish a wired network connection. Network cables are often used to connect several devices together, such as computers and printers.

Why opt for a wired connection over a wireless connection?

While wireless networks are becoming increasingly popular as the home network standard, wired connections are still a preferred option by many as they are more stable, reliable, and usually faster than wireless networks.

What are the different types of network cables?

The main kinds of network cables you’ll come across are fiber optic, Ethernet, and patch cables. Ideal for big businesses with large-scale networks, fiber optic cables sport fast data transfer speeds and transmit light rather than electrical signals, making them perfect for network environments exposed to a great deal of electrical interference. Ethernet and patch cables, on the other hand, are much more common for home networks.

What is the difference between an Ethernet cable and a patch cable?

They’re essentially the same thing; a patch cable is a short Ethernet cable. Keep in mind that a difference does exist between a patch cable and an Ethernet crossover cable. While a patch cable allows you to link up your computer to a network device like a modem or router, an Ethernet crossover cable is used to connect two computers together via their network adapter.

What are the most common types of Ethernet cables out there?

The main types of Ethernet cables are Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6, which are categorized based on a cable’s performance and the network speed and frequency they can support. The Cat5e is the standard Ethernet cable for high-speed internet connections. Ethernet cables are also categorized as either STP (shielded twisted pair) or UTP (unshielded twisted pair). The latter is the most common cable used in home networks because of its cheaper price tag and the fact that interference is typically not an issue in most households.

What are the most important things to consider when buying a network cable?

The first thing you’ll want to do is determine your needs. In most cases, when it comes to household use, the main use for a network cable is connecting your computer to a modem or router so you can access the internet. If that’s the case, then a standard Cat5e UTP Ethernet cable is a good choice. You’ll also want to make sure you choose the right length of cable. Try to choose the shortest one possible; the shorter the cable, the better the signal.

Check out Best Buy’s wide selection of networking cables and accessories to find even more network-related products including cable jacks and adapters, antennas, media converters, and other useful accessories.

Want more info? Check out this resource:

Networking Buying Guide

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