Types of UTP cables

Last time I bought a UTP cable, the only choice was CAT5 or even better CAT5e, which was for the faster networks at the time. The name UTP stands for ‘Unshielded Twisted Pair’.
Since I wanted to replace some older cables I started browsing and found a whole range of new options, so below is what I found as descriptions for these mumble-words: F/UTP, S/UTP, SF/UTP, S/FTP, F/FTP, U/FTP, U/UTP, plus also I found CAT6, CAT6a and even CAT7.
So, here is the update:

What is the difference?
between F/UTP,S/UTP,SF/UTP,S/FTP,F/FTP,U/FTP and U/UTP cables?
Like a shield used during battle, shielding in cables acts as a barrier that protects the cable from external threats, such as electrical interference (EMI). It also prevents cable signals from interfering with surrounding cables and equipment.

While not all environments demand such a robust cable, shielding is becoming more common. When it first became available, shielded cables were used in areas such as factory floors, areas with high concentrations of electrical equipment, and secure communications applications. Today, shielded cable is prevalent in many types of applications, including government, healthcare and even education.

There are many acronyms used to describe shielded cables, from STP to F/FTP; while many are often used synonymously, nearly all of them have different meanings. This blog provides basic information about each style, as defined by ISO/IEC 11801:200, to clear up the confusion.

An overall foil shield (F) with unscreened twisted pairs (UTP). This cable is very much like common UTP cables, with the addition of foil underneath the main cable jacket. Another common name for this cable is FTP. F/UTP cables are common in 10GBaseT applications.
An overall braid screen (S) with unscreened twisted pairs (UTP). This is occasionally referred to as an STP cable, but beware: There are other shielded cables among this list that may also claim this term. To be sure, always check to see whether your cable will have any kind of overall barrier, and whether the individual pairs have their own shield.
Both an overall braid screen (S) and foil shield (F) with unscreened twisted pairs (UTP). This cable is also occasionally referred to as an STP cable. Cables with an overall braided screen are very effective at protecting EMI from entering or exiting the cable.
An overall braid screen (S) with foil screened twisted pairs (FTP). The “shield” underneath the jacket is a braid, and each individual pair is surrounded by its own foil barrier. The purpose of the additional foil on individual pairs is to limit the amount of crosstalk between them.
An overall braid screen (S) and an overall foil shield(F) with foil screened twisted pairs (FTP). The “shield” underneath the jacket is a braid and then a foil, and each individual pair is surrounded by its own foil barrier.
An overall foil shield (F) with foil screened twisted pairs (FTP). Similar to F/UTP cables, these shielded cables are commonly used in 10GBaseT applications.
No overall shielding or braid (U) with foil screened twisted pairs (FTP). This type of shielded cable is commonly used in 10GBaseT applications as well.
Notice anything wrong here? You caught us! This cable is not shielded at all, and is the common unshielded cable most often referred to as UTP cable.

Industry acronymsISO/IEC 11801 nameCable shieldingPair shielding
STP, ScTP, PiMFU/FTPnonefoil
FTP, STP, ScTPF/UTPfoilnone
STP, ScTPS/UTPbraidingnone
SFTP, S-FTP, STPSF/UTPbraiding, foilnone
SSTP, SFTP, STP PiMFS/FTPbraidingfoil
SSTP, SFTPSF/FTPbraiding, foilfoil

The code before the slash designates the shielding for the cable itself, while the code after the slash determines the shielding for the individual pairs:

U = unshielded
F = foil shielding
S = braided shielding (outer layer only)
TP = twisted pair
TQ = twisted pair, individual shielding in quads

And more info (some in Dutch)

Network or UTP cables are available in various types, speeds, jackets and price ranges. If you are wondering which UTP cable you should buy, you can keep the following rule in mind: For home use a Cat6a cable always complies. This supports no less than 10,000 mbit / s with a throughput of 500mhz.

It is understandable that with all these species and categories, sometimes you do not know anymore wich cable is the best choice. After reading this article, we hope you will have more clarity about what the specific characteristics of these different cables are.

To begin with, cables are divided into various categories. These can now be found from Cat5e through Cat7. The higher the category, the faster the network. A list of all categories can be found below. Here too, the frequency at which the cable can function maximally is mentioned. The frequency or throughput can be seen as the diameter of a water pipe. The larger the diameter, the more water can pass through the tube. This also works with UTP cables.

  • Cat5e: Kan snelheden tot 1.000 mbit/s halen en heeft een bandbreedte van 100mhz.
  • Cat6: Kan snelheden tot 10.000 mbit/s halen en heeft een bandbreedte van 250mhz.
  • Cat6a: Kan snelheden tot 10.000 mbit/s halen en heeft een bandbreedte van 500mhz.
  • Cat7: Kan snelheden tot 10.000 mbit/s halen en heeft een bandbreedte van 600mhz.

You also have the choice of the thickness of the cable. A UTP cable has eight cores in the jacket. These are then again rotated together as 4 pairs. The thickness of the cable is indicated in AWG. AWG stands for American Wire Gauge. The higher that number is, the thinner the cable is. A cable of 1 AWG has a diameter of approximately 7 cm. Most UTP cables have a thickness of 23 or 24 AWG, which is about 0.55mm in diameter.

In addition, UTP cables also have various shields. The different types of shields are tailored to different possible situations. For example, when a cable comes under mechanical stress. Or if a cable comes to lie in a room with other high-frequency or power-current cables that can cause faults. The various shields of the cable can be seen in the table below.

NameCable ShieldVein couple shield
SF/UTPfoil, braidednone

You can also choose from a solid copper network cable or a so-called CCA cable. CCA stands for Copper Clad Aluminum. This means that the cable has an aluminum core with a copper coating. On the eye it is difficult to see what a CCA cable is.

The advantage of a CCA cable is that they are much cheaper than a solid copper cable. However, it has a few disadvantages such as:

  • During the years, the flexibility is decreasing. 
  • The chance of fractures is bigger.
  • The resistance is higher by using it for power supply ”for example” PoE.
Kabel categorieën
De verschillende soorten kabels zijn ingedeeld per categorie, wat in de benaming van de kabel wordt afgekort naar Cat. Waar altijd rekening mee gehouden moet worden, is dat de lengte van de netwerkbekabeling volgens de standaard niet meer dan 100 meter mag bedragen. Mocht u een afstand langer dan 100 meter willen overbruggen, dan is het mogelijk om na 100 meter het signaal te versterken door gebruik te maken van een switch. In de onderstaande tabel staan de verschillen tussen de meest relevante categorieën beschreven:
DoorvoerAfstandFrequentieConnectorToepassingType kabel 
Cat5100 Mbps100 meter100 MHzRJ45Thuis en klein zakelijkgebruikUTP
Cat5e1000 Mbps100 meter100 MHzRJ45Thuis en klein zakelijkgebruikUTP
Cat610 Gbps55 meter250 MHzRJ45Enterprise omgevingenU/FTP, F/UTP
Cat6a10 Gbps100 meter500 MHzRJ45Enterprise omgevingenU/FTP, F/UTP
Unshielded twisted pair UTP (U/UTP)
UTP (U/UTP) staat voor Unshielded twisted pair en bestaat uit 8 aders die per twee worden getwist. Door de aders te twisten is de netwerkkabel beschermd tegen elektromagnetische interferentie. UTP bekabeling is met name geschikt voor thuisgebruik en kleinzakelijk gebruik. Bij veel interferentie door bijvoorbeeld zware elektromotoren of hoogspanningsenergie kan beter gebruik worden gemaakt van FTP of STP bekabeling. 
Foiled twisted pair FTP (F/UTP)
FTP (F/UTP) staat voor Foiled twisted pair en is qua opbouw vrijwel gelijk aan UTP bekabeling. Echter is de FTP kabel omringd door een folie (shield). De getwiste paren binnen in de kabel zijn niet beschermd met een extra folie. Een FTP kabel is door folie beter beschermd tegen elektromagnetische interferentie. Het nadeel is dat de kabel dikker en minder flexibel is, waardoor het wegwerken van de kabel lastiger is. 
Shielded twisted pair STP (S/FTP)
STP (S/FTP) staat voor Shielded twisted pair is qua opbouw gelijk aan FTP bekabeling. Echter is niet alleen de kabel omringd door een folie (shield), maar worden ook de aderparen met folie beschermd. De STP kabel heeft het minste last van elektromagnetische interferentie en wordt daarom vaak gebruikt voor grote bedrijfsnetwerken.

Netwerkkabel kleurcode 

Netwerkkabels zijn er in verschillende standaarden. De meest voorkomende varianten zijn CAT6a en CAT5e. CAT5e netwerkkabels ondersteunen een maximale snelheid aan van 1000 Mbps (1 Gigabit), bij een CAT6e kabel is deze snelheid 10.000 Mbps (10 Gigabit).

Zowel CAT5e en CAT6a kabels beschikken over 8 aders en worden volgens hetzelfde kleurenschema aangesloten.

RJ-45 stekker monteren

Zoals u op onderstaande afbeelding kunt zien, is een netwerkkabel maken of verlengen een fluitje van een cent. Nadat u de kleuren op de juiste volgorde heeft gebracht, verbindt u met behulp van een RJ-45 Krimptang de kabel met de RJ-45 plug. In de RJ-45 plug zitten kleine tandjes die door de mantel van de 8 aders heen drukken zodat u deze niet van te voren hoeft te strippen.

Network cable, connector color codes

Have your cable pointing up, connector facing you, and looking from left to right, the color codes of both connectors should be: orange-white / orange / green-white / blue / blue-white / green / brown-white / brown.

That should be enough info to make my choice of which cable to order.

Have a nice day!