What are Shielded Network Cables?

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Shielded cables are not all the same

These are the six shielded network cable construction types that you will encounter:

F/UTP

This construction type is more commonly referred to as FTP. FTP only has foil shielding around the bundle of the 4 pairs. The individual pairs are NOT wrapped, this is the most common type of shielded cable and is perfectly acceptable for the majority of applications. This is the construction type used in our Cat5e and Cat6A shielded patch cables.

S/UTP

The difference between this type and the foil type described above is the shielding material. With S/UTP the shielding material is metal braid rather that foil, the individual pairs are not wrapped. Metal braid is far less flexible than foil shielding and therefore this cable type will be more rigid than its foil counterpart.

SF/UTP

This cable type is a combination of the two types above. Both foil and braid are used as the outer shield, individual pairs are not shielded. As you can imagine this shielding type is very effective.

The above two types are designed to deal with interference from outside the cable, but the individual pairs can interfere with each other. This is not usually a consideration in the home and office, but for some commercial, data center and industrial applications it may be desired or even necessary.

S/FTP

This cable type has a single metal braid shield around the four wire pairs, and each one of those pairs is individually wrapped in metal foil. As described above this limits the amount of crosstalk between the pairs. This is the construction type used in our Cat7 shielded patch cables.

F/FTP

The overall shielding material is foil, with each individual pair wrapped in foil. This cable type is commonly used for 10GBaseT applications.

U/FTP

There is no overall shielding material utilized, the individual pairs are foil wrapped only.

In summary

The main point we want you to take from this article is that there are different types of shielded cable, but more importantly the term “STP” is fairly misleading. The natural assumption is that if UTP stands for Unshielded Twisted Pair, then STP stands for Shielded Twisted Pair. But as you have seen in this article there are many types of shielding that have very specific applications.

Most applications only require F/UTP (commonly FTP) this is the type that we sell the most of. Our Cat 7 patch cables are S/FTP, this is for 10GBaseT transmission rates as well as protection from external interference sources.

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