Ethernet Cables Circle the Globe

Ethernet cables provide the backbone of today’s modern computer connected world. At offices, factories, warehouses and hospitals, educational campuses and homes around the world Ethernet cables are working to carry more and more data at faster and faster speeds than ever before.

Ethernet cables are not only confined to land though, they are to be found sailing the seven seas in merchant ships and warships, living the high life on holiday cruise liners and patrolling the deeps in submarines, from tramp steamers to aircraft carriers and nuclear attack submarines Ethernet cables are delivering day in and day out in critical data applications.

The modern day Ethernet cable has come a long way from its original inception, when Ethernet was invented by Xerox it was designed to work over existing office telephone cables to expand the applications for Xerox printers.

The early days saw it grow into coaxial cable, thin and thick, fibre optic cable and into emerging higher performance twisted pair copper cable.

Nowadays much media hype is on the wireless Ethernet networks but each wireless network has Ethernet cables as its backbone, its skeleton, the wireless access points (WAP) invariably communicate to the backbone network through Ethernet cables.

Ethernet cables have characteristics that can be beneficial in many applications including high reliability, high data transfer rates, predictable design performance, resistance to interference, high data integrity, physical and electronic security and of course low cost. Cost however, important as it is, should not be your overriding criteria as not all Ethernet cables are created equal.

The Ethernet data signal is a one and zero square wave output, a square wave consists of the fundamental frequency and all the odd harmonics to infinity, at least it did when I was in college in the sixties, with a data rate of 1 Gigabit we have a fundamental frequency of 1,000,000,000 Hz The Radio 2 FM radio carrier signal in the UK is 88 to 91 FM which is Mega Hz or 88,000,000 Hz and this is transmitted through electro magnetic radiation. You can now see that we are transmitting frequencies though our Ethernet cables way in excess of radio frequencies.

If our Ethernet cable could only transmit a frequency of 1 Gigabit we would end up with a sine wave at the receiving end which would cause a delay as the receiver has to decide when a zero exists or when a one exists ( we used to call them marks and spaces, but I transgress) this would add to the propagation delay and cause collisions and poor performance so the Ethernet cable has to be capable of transmitting the odd harmonics in order to establish the square wave with steeper leading and trailing edges to trigger the transitions between ones and zeros in the Ethernet card.

In short the Ethernet cable has to have a wide bandwidth to carry a quality square wave signal and whilst this is not a problem for fibre optic Ethernet cable, for the commonly used copper based wiring, including drop leads and patch leads, careful design and high quality, consistent, copper alloys are needed to achieve the electrical and mechanical properties needed.

This website is the home for those using, buying, installing and maintaining Ethernet networks and their associated Ethernet cables.