Copper cable, buried cable or twisted pair cable? Keeping an overview in the cable jungle

Depending on the area of application and industry, different terms have become established in linguistic jargon for the same type of cable. What the electrician may more often call installation cable, some manufacturers call copper data cable. We would like to untangle the cable jumble and shed some light on the subject. What is behind the individual terms? How are they categorised?

Thereis always copper at the core
Whether patch cables, installation cables or twisted pair cables - in all these cases it can be a matter of copper data cables, but this is not necessarily the case with all of them. Patch and installation cables can also be fibre-optic data cables (LWL cables), but here you have to take a look at the specific area of application. Twisted pair cables, on the other hand, are always copper data cables. These are often referred to colloquially as copper cables. However, these cables can do much more and should correctly be called copper data cables if they are also used for data transmission in networks, which is usually the case.

Twisted: twisted pair cable
A copper data cable is made up of several twisted copper cores in the core. Twisting refers to the winding of one core into another core over the entire length of the cable. This is also the origin of the term twisted pair cable, which is often used synonymously. Four-pair cables are usually used. A copper data cable conducts electrical currents and has multiple insulation. The most common areas of application are in telecommunications, message transmission and computer technology. Copper data cables are particularly popular in network technology because they enable full-duplex data transmission. This can send and receive data simultaneously. Half-duplex transmissions, where sending and receiving alternate, are also supported.

Copper data cables are divided into nine categories according to their performance capacity, bandwidths and transmission speeds. These refer to special requirement profiles. However, categories 1 to 4 are no longer up-to-date in terms of performance and are therefore commercially irrelevant. Copper data cables in categories 5e to 8 are common. Category 7 cables are the most widespread. With a standard speed of 10 Gbit/s, these are suitable for many different areas of application across all sectors. With transmission speeds of up to 40 Gbit/s, Cat 8 cables are currently the fastest cables on the market.

Installed:Installation cablesand installation cables
With installation cables, the name says it all. They are cables that are permanently installed and therefore moved little or not at all. Since copper data cables are among the most common and most widely used installation cables, they are sometimes used synonymously. However, they can also be fibre optic data cables if they contain glass fibres as optical waveguides in their core. Optical data transmission using glass fibres enables greater ranges compared to electrical transmission using copper data cables. It is always necessary to decide which cabling solution makes sense depending on the area of application and requirements.

Networked: patch cables
The English word "patch" means to plug or connect. This already says quite a lot about the function of this type of cable, which is mainly found in network and telecommunications technology. Patch cables are movable links between permanently installed installation cables and individual end devices. So-called patch panels form an interface between the fixed and the movable patch cables. Here, too, there are two options depending on the area of application: Copper patch cables with copper cores or fibre optic patch cables consisting of optical fibres.

The Multimedia Solutions (MMS) BU of the Prysmian Group produces and sells fibre optic data, copper dataand coaxial cables. Applications range from cables for TV and film studios and wide area communications for rail networks and in tunnels to light signals, switch drives and mobile communications. MMS focuses on innovation to lay the foundation for future communication solutions today. It supplies suitable cables that cover almost every communication application in this field. The current dealer catalogue "Let's Connect - with Draka cables" shows the innovative cable portfolio.