Communications and Networking
In communication systems the communication channels play a crucial role in the transfer of data. The transmission media can either be wired or wireless. For the wired communication media there are twisted pair wires, untwisted pair wires, the coaxial cables, and the fiber optic cables. Each type of media comes in different modes and subtypes. In this paper, the cat6 UTP cable, the coaxial, and the single-mode media are comparable discussed.
Unshielded Twisted Pair
Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are used in many telephone systems and Ethernet networks. The CAT 6 cable is sold in units of one meter and it is designed for use in high-speed networks where it can support Gigabit networks. The cost of the cat6 UTP cable per meter in Alibaba.com (2017) is $0.1-3.0. The cost of installing cat6 UTP cable is $250 charged per one thousand feet. When the cat6 cable is used for back-end networking, it can support Gigabit Ethernet needs. It supports the frequency of up to 250 MHz plus the 10BASE-T, 10GBASE-T, 100BASE-TX, and 1000BASE-T standards, and it can handle the throughput of up to 10 Gbps (Damico, 2011). When this cable is used for the Gigabit Ethernet and below, it can run for a distance of 100 meters, and when it is used for the 10GBASE-T speeds it can run a maximum length of 55 meters.
The cat6 cable is also used to connect various devices to switches, routers, cameras, network interface cards among other devices and media. This type of cable also uses horizontal cabling because it interconnects the devices and media across a building. The RJ45 also terminates the cable. This type of cable has the advantage of speed and performance because it can handle up to a maximum speed performance of 250 MHz. the cable is also backward compatible with the cat5 and cat5e cables (Fs.com, 2013). The cat6 cable is however expensive and if it does not show significant improvement in the network, it will be a waste of time. It also does not guarantee full speed if all the other components in the network do not work at full speed.
The coaxial cable has an inner conductor that is surrounded by an insulating layer that is in turn surrounded by a conducting shield (Fs.com, 2013). The cost per meter of the coaxial cable ranges between $0.05 and $0.25 depending on the type of cable. The cost of installing a coaxial cable ranges between $50 and $300 and it depends on some factors including the total length of the cable, the access difficulties, which do the work, and the wages in your area among other factors. They are connected using the BNC connectors. The broadband has a bandwidth that can go as high as 100Mbps. The upstream for the broadband internet is 5-65 MHz band with the downstream being 85-750 MHz. In Australia the coaxial cable has a radio frequency of 7 MHz (Bykov, 2002).
The coaxial cable can run for longer distances as compared to the cat6 UTP cable. For instance Ethernet can run for about 100 meters using the twisted-pair cabling but using the coaxial cable that distance can be increased up to 500m (with the 10BASE5). The coaxial cable is used in feedlines to connect radio transmitters and receivers, digital television signals, and computer network connections (Bykov, 2002). They are used as both horizontal and vertical connectors in buildings depending on the purpose for which they are being used. The coaxial cable interfaces include the BNC, Type-F, Type-F, SMA, MC-Card, SMB, TNC, and MCX. The coaxial cable has a sufficient range of frequency that can support multiple channels thereby allowing for much greater output. Its disadvantage is that it is more expensive to install than the cat6 UTP cables.
Single-Mode Fiber Optic Cable
The fiber optic cable is gaining popularity nowadays especially in the areas of backbones, horizontal, as well as in desktop applications. It provides a greater bandwidth as compared to the other two types of cables discussed above. Its standardized bandwidth performance can go as higher as 10 Gbps. The fiber optic cable is not restricted to 100 meters distance of the cat6 UTP cable and it can run a distance of up to 40 kilometers depending on the wavelength, the network, and style of the cable (Cablinginstall.com, 2002). The single-mode fiber optic cable is sold in bundles of 300 meters that cost in total $199.9 (Alibaba.com, 2017). The types of connectors for the fiber optic cable include the SC and ST connectors. It can be used as a backbone cable and also to connect servers, televisions, and routers.
The single-mode fiber optic cable has several advantages. For one, it offers greater distance as compared to the multi-mode cables and it can run for long distances without attenuation (Babani et al., 2014). It also provides maximum security because it does not radiate the data signals and it is difficult to tap into the data being transmitted. However, there are also some advantages for the single-mode and generally the fiber optic cable. The transmitters for the fiber optic and the receivers are more expensive as compared to the electrical interfaces. Its lack of standardization in the industry has also restricted its acceptance.
In conclusion, the transmission media are very crucial in the communication system because without them the data cannot be transmitted from point to another. Although the copper cables have been used for some time now, the fiber optic cables are attracting much attention due to the advantages of reliability, security, and speed. However, there is an appropriate area where each can be comfortably applied as discussed above.
Alibaba.com (2017). Single-mode optic fiber. Retrieved from https://www.alibaba.com/showroom/single-mode-fiber-optic-cable.html
Babani, S., Bature, A. A., Faruk, M. I., & Dankadai, N. K. (2014). Comparative study between fiber optic and copper in communication link. vol, 2, 59-63.
Bykov, A. (2002). Coaxial cable. Retrieved from http://services.eng.uts.edu.au/~kumbes/ra/Medium/coaxial/Coaxwebsite.htm
Cablinginstall.com (2002). Horizontal cabling costs: fiber vs. copper calculations. Retrieved from http://www.cablinginstall.com/articles/print/volume-10/issue-5/contents/optical-fiber/horizontal-cabling-costs-fiber-vs-copper-calculations.html
Damico, M. (2011). 8 advantages to choosing fiber optic copper cable. Retrieved from https://bboxblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/8-advantages-to-choosing-fiber-over-copper-cable/
Fs.com (2013). The Difference between Fiber Optic Cable, Twisted Pair and coaxial Cable. Retrieved from http://www.fs.com/blog/the-difference-between-fiber-optic-cable-twisted-pair-and-cable.html