In this guide, we will discover: LAN Cable Explained: Get Wired and Stay Connected – Easy Beginners Guide 2023
So, let’s begin!
Ever wondered why some people still prefer using a LAN cable as opposed to a wireless connection? This article discusses every vital detail you need to know about this networking cable.
Starting this article is an overview of a LAN cable, where you will learn what it is all about. The following section will explain some of the significant features of the cable.
Afterward, you will learn about some advantages and disadvantages of using a local area network cable.
Finally, an FAQ section towards the end of this article will answer some of the most asked questions about a LAN cable.
A LAN (local area network) cable, a.k.a an Ethernet cable, is a type of cable for connecting devices to a network. Basically, it allows devices like laptops, printers, and internet routers to communicate with each other and share data and resources.
The history of LAN cables dates back to the early 1970s when Ethernet was invented by a researcher at Xerox PARC called Robert Metcalfe. Ethernet was a method for computers to communicate with one another over a local network using a set of rules known as a protocol.
However, in order to transmit data over the network, you need a cable to connect the devices together. That’s when coaxial cables, the first LAN cables, were born.
Coaxial cables are similar to the cables used to connect televisions to antennas. Furthermore, they were used for several years, but they had some limitations when it came to speed and distance.
Due to that, twisted-pair cables were introduced in the 1980s. Those cables were able to transmit data quicker and over longer distances.
Therefore, most LAN cables today are twisted-pair cables. Moreover, there are several types of local area network cables, including Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat7.
Features of a LAN Cable
In the prior section, I provided an overview of an Ethernet cable. This section will explain some of the major features this cable offers.
It Has Connectors
A LAN cable features a connector on both ends. These connectors are RJ45 connectors, and they fit into an Ethernet port on a device like a computer or a router.
Moreover, each RJ45 connector on the cable has eight pins. These pins are arranged in a specific order to ensure that the cable is wired correctly for seamless communication.
Most LAN Cables are Twisted-pair Cables
Nowadays, most Ethernet cables are made up of twisted-pair cables. Twisted-pair cables are the successor to the coaxial cables but with longer distance coverage and faster data transfer speed.
Moreover, a twisted-pair cable features four pairs of wires that are twisted together, as the name suggest. Furthermore, it helps to reduce interference from other devices or obstacles.
The twisted-pairs cable work by eliminating any electromagnetic interference that might be present in the environment. Besides, the wires in each pair are twisted together in a distinct way to ensure that the signal is transmitted correctly.
Hence, the cable ensures a stable and reliable connection, which is crucial for devices that require a lot of bandwidth.
It Varies in Length
The length of a local area network cable varies depending on the type you buy and the use case. For example, higher-quality Cat5e LAN cables can be longer, meaning they will support longer distances than lower-quality ones.
However, LAN cables are typically limited to around 100 meters. This is due to the fact that signals can degrade over longer distances, which can impact the quality of the connection.
Compatible with Several Devices
LAN cables support a wide range of devices. These include computers, routers, switches, and gaming consoles.
Basically, as long as the device has an Ethernet port, you can connect it to a network using a LAN cable.
It Varies in Speed
LAN cables support different speeds. However, that mostly depends on the type of cable.
Besides, the speed of a local area network cable is measured in terms of bandwidth. In case you’re wondering, bandwidth is the amount of data that a user can transmit over the cable in a particular period.
In fact, Ethernet cables can support speeds of up to 10 Gbps (gigabits per second), which is incredibly fast. However, several factors, like the cable’s quality, can affect the cable’s speed.
Pros and Cons of a LAN Cable
Now that we know the features of an Ethernet cable, this section will discuss some of its benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of a LAN Cable
- It offers flexibility. LAN cables are developed to be flexible, meaning they can bend and twist without breaking. This is very important because the cable needs to be able to move around. Also, it is important because users can easily route the cable through tight spaces, making it a versatile networking solution. However, the cable’s flexibility is mostly determined by the materials used in its construction. Also, it is determined by how the wires in the cable are twisted together.
- Better security. Because Ethernet cables transmit data through a physical cable, they are less prone to hacking and interception. This provides users with better security and peace of mind when sharing confidential information over the network. Besides, you can use LAN cables with security protocols like VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to provide an even higher level of security.
- It offers a more stable connection. Local area network cables provide a more stable connection compared to wireless networks. This is because factors like distance, walls, and interference from other devices do not affect them. Hence, users can enjoy a more consistent and stable connection with fewer issues.
- Easy setup. LAN cables are pretty easy to configure and set up. All that is required is to connect the cable to the devices that need to be connected to the network. Therefore, you don’t need to be tech-savvy to set up a local area network cable network. However, if it involves a larger network, there might be some complexity in the setup.
- Reduced latency. LAN cables reduce latency, which is the delay between a user’s action and the network’s response. Reduced latency is especially important for tasks like video streaming, where minor delays can be noticeable and disruptive. Thus, by reducing latency, Ethernet cables can enhance user experience and make these tasks more effective.
Cons of a LAN Cable
- It limits mobility. LAN cables are physically attached to the devices they connect. This can limit the mobility of those devices, meaning you won’t be able to move the devices around conveniently.
- Vulnerable to physical damage. Even though LAN cables are designed to be durable, they are prone to physical damage. This can affect their ability to transmit data, particularly if the cable is bent too sharply, stepped on, or otherwise mishandled. In fact, in some cases, you may need to replace the cable if damaged.
- LAN cables can cause clutter. Because they are physical cables and connect to multiple devices, Ethernet cables can create clutter in your workspace. Thus, you might require a cable management system to keep them organized and tidy.
- Environmental impact. Compared to wireless connection, LAN cables can have a negative impact on the environment, particularly if not disposed of properly However, this is less of a problem if you reuse or recycle the cables. Nonetheless, it is important to consider the environmental impact of using these cables.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can You Use A LAN Cable For Internet Connection?
Yes, a local area network cable can connect a device to the internet.
2. What Is A LAN Cable?
A LAN cable connects devices to a local area network (LAN). It allows devices such as printers, computers, and routers to communicate with each other and share resources.
3. Can I Repair A LAN Cable?
Repairing a damaged LAN cable is possible. However, it is usually better and more cost-effective to replace the cable.
4. How Long Can A LAN Cable Be?
Typically, local area network cables are limited to around 100 meters. This is because signals can degrade over longer distances, which can impact the quality of the connection.
5. What Is The Full Meaning Of LAN?
The full meaning of LAN is Local Area Network.
My Final Thoughts
A LAN cable is an essential component of any wired network. It enables devices to communicate with one another and share resources.
Despite the massive popularity of wireless networks, Ethernet cables remain a popular choice for many users. This is because they offer high-speed and reliable connections.
Hence, whether you’re setting up a home or large enterprise network, a LAN cable provides a solid foundation for your network infrastructure.
However, while local area network cables offer many benefits, they also have some disadvantages. These include limited mobility and cable clutter.
Nevertheless, LAN cable is a simple yet powerful technology that has played an important role in the evolution of modern networking.