The great cable debate

Debate is raging amongst regional and internationally based cabling companies whether unshielded twisted pair or shielded twisted pair cables are best for 10GBASE-T networks

Tags: CommScope IncorporationSiemon
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The great cable debate
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By  Georgina Enzer Published  October 18, 2012

Debate is raging amongst regional and internationally based cabling companies whether unshielded twisted pair or shielded twisted pair cables are best for 10GBASE-T networks. Cabling giants Siemon and CommScope discuss the benefits and downfalls of these cable types.

What type of cable is better for 10GBASE-T networks, UTP or STP and why?

Ciaran Forde, CommScope Enterprise VP, MEA:

Whilst CommScope offers both Unshielded UTP and Shielded Solutions for this 10G, one needs to be very discerning in making the selection and for the right reasons. In general 10G BASE-T is an application intended for the normal office LAN and the data centre environments. For these environments our recommendation is to continue with the normal worldwide engineering practice associated with UTP.

This is because although 10G BASE-T requires a new transmission frequency (now up to 500Mhz) this frequency can, with the correct balanced cable design, be superbly managed within a UTP cable design.

So in terms of supporting 10GBASE-T, for our system, the issue with respect to shielding becomes the normal issue of selecting unshielded or shielded depending on the electromagnetic environment. There are vendors who perhaps are less confident in the performance of their UTP system (if they have one) who default to the electrical parameter performance afforded by a shielded  cabling solution.

These parameters are well understood and basic but one has to “balance” this with the cost, burden and dangers traditionally associated with a shielded system. CommScope supports shielded, we are a communications company that strives to innovate the best in every technology class.

Over the years we have supplied literally billions of kilometers of shielded high frequency cabling, primarily in the frequency of 2.5Ghz – 5Ghz and CATV or GSM applications that warranted it.

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