Get to know UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable

For those of you who want to learn about networking, especially if you want to get a guide on UTP cable, please read the following article. I try to present this writing in my own language so that it is more understandable than the English text which for some people is just confusing. At least this article can be used as a remote guide for a friend of mine who needs information about network cables. Right?

Previously, I need to say once again that this note is general in nature and is intended to provide simple instructions that are easier to understand about network cable technology or what is often called UTP Unshielded Twisted Pair ) cable. These reviews are not absolute and are not intended to replace technical guides, training modules or course materials. If you feel unfamiliar and comfortable with the terms, language conversions and whatever else I use here, please consult a practitioner or professional that you know and which you think is more qualified.

Okay, let’s get started

Types of UTP Cables

There are various types of UTP cable standards that are widely used for audio and data communications. UTP is grouped by the term ” Category ” and therefore the UTP type name starts with CAT (taken from the word ” Category “). The higher the category, the denser the turns of the eight cable pairs in the UTP cable insulator. The tighter the cable turns, the higher the effective bandwidth and output capacity that can be achieved. The higher the Category also means the farther the signal range that can be transmitted by the cable and the less risk of signal loss.

Data cable networks, both analog and digital, are analogous to a PDAM pipeline as a water supply network. Logically, the greater the volume of water to be distributed, the bigger the pipe that must be provided. Because we all understand that in theory, large pipes can deliver large volumes of water as well.

However, there is one more important understanding that is interesting to observe. In a data network, if a single point in a circuit or network is slow for some reason, then usually the entire circuit or network is affected. In the plumbing analogy example, if you have a 4 ″ pipe that passes water from one point to another, the water will flow steadily over a long distance.

However, if the water flows several meters through a pipe measuring 4 ″, then there is a small section that is narrowed down to a size of 1 ″, then automatically the water output received by the other end of the pipe is only the volume of water that can pass through the pipe 1 ″, even after being enlarged again. to 4 ″. It is the same with the network. If you have a network that is designed to transfer data at 100Mbps but you make the minor mistake of choosing the wrong cable, cutting the cable incorrectly, or making a low quality connector then the entire network will slow down. This speed drop is locked to the lowest point speed of the entire network connection. In the hardware world this condition is often referred to as a bottle-neck .

Then how do you choose the right cable? Please take a look at the following categories of UTP cables:


Category 3 cable is the standard cable used in the telecommunications industry. During the last few years this type of cable is still widely used throughout the telecommunications industry. This type of cable can carry data at speeds of more than 10Mbps. For the purposes of data transfer in audio circuits or low speed data transfer, CAT3 cable type is usually sufficient.

This cable category is in great demand because it is relatively cheap and available in various choices in terms of the number of cable core contents in 1 UTP cable unit. There are several cable options that can be selected as needed. Some contain 2-pairs, 4-pairs, 6-pairs, 16-pairs, 25-pairs and even more. The conductor in this cable consists of several wires wound in pairs with a cable insulator which is color coded. The color
coding of the cable pairs on CAT3 starts with “white / blue” as the first pair and is followed by a color coded sequence according to the number of cable pairs.


Category 5 cable was chosen to be the UTP cable standard since UTP cables were first popular and used for network/data communication applications. CAT5 cable usually consists of four pairs of cables. This cable is for data applications up to 100MHz. However, even though UTP data cables are generally called “CAT5 cables”, don’t confuse CAT5 with CAT5E. CAT5 cables are very identical to CAT5E cables except that CAT5E cables have a higher standard of uniformity and winding density of cable pairs.


Category 5E cable is the new industry standard for UTP data cable installation. This cable usually consists of four pairs of cables. The rated bandwidth of a CAT5E cable is 100Mbps, but the maximum bandwidth can be up to 1000Mbps if installed with strict quality standards. Today CAT5E is the new standard for all UTP cable construction. Therefore CAT5E cables are now widely available with higher quality than CAT5 at almost the same base price as CAT5. Even some companies have stopped using CAT5 cables in their network installations.


Category 6 cable is the UTP cable standard with the highest official certification. This cable is identical to CAT5E but meets stricter standards not only for the twist density of each pair of cables but also the level of data transmission, cable insulators and protection for each pair of cables. With the tighter the winding, plus the better the isolator and separation of each pair of cables, the lower the noise or signal reduction so that CAT6 is able to transmit data with the highest bandwidth in its class. CAT6 cable usually consists of four pairs of copper wires. If you are installing a 1000Mbps or Gigabit LAN network, there is no other choice, this type of UTP cable should be used.

Plenum Rated Cable

Plenum rating is the value assigned to a cable with a special coating which if burned will produce less harmful substances in the air. This is meant for bad conditions when a fire occurs. This type of cable is usually more expensive than standard “ riser “cables. Therefore, before starting the cable installation, it is a good idea to check the condition of the building to determine whether Plenum Rated Cable should be used. The picture on the side is an example of a cable with a Plenum Rating .

Cable Cross

Cable Connection Category 3 with a single pair and 2 pairs of cables without protection is very cheap and is sold in a variety of color choices that vary.

This cable is an industry standard that can be used to “cross-connect” from one block to another. This type of cable is safe to use to connect telecommunication lines between circuits but is not suitable for high speed data applications.

So, you already know the difference between UTP cable types, right? Now you just have to choose which cable type suits your network connection. Choose your cable type wisely and don’t just get caught up in the lure of cheap prices. The payoff of your hard work is determined from the moment you choose the right cable for your network. If you have decided, you can start making Straight Cable or Cross Cable connections according to your needs.

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