Virtual Training Center

Cabling Information

Updated March 27, 2002

Ethernet Cable Types - A Resource for Learning About LAN Cabling

Review the specifics of the 10Base-5, 10Base-2, and 10Base-T standards. Click on the buttons to the right.



The animation above represents one of our earliest examples (1993) of simple interactivity. You click and something shows up on the screen. We've come a long way since then! You might want to check out some of our other tutorials to learn about wireless networking, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), sharing DSL connections, cryptography and more. If you have suggestions for links we should add above, please email us!

Cabling History: Way back when we started WKMN Training, Category 3 cabling was all the rage. Known as "telephone grade" wire, the big news was that you could run Ethernet (10BASE-T) over this inexpensive twisted pair cabling at distances up to 100 meters. The real benefit of being able to use this kind or cabling, however, is that it allowed you to create a more "structured cabling system" than the previous Ethernet LANs which relied on thin and thick coax. With thin and thick coax, troubleshooting network faults was a nightmare since there was no intelligence built into the system. With Category 3 cabling and intelligent hubs at the center of structured cabling systems, you suddenly had an intelligent device into which all stations were connected. This device could sense wiring problems like noise or Ethernet card problems like jabber. These intelligent hubs could automatically isolate bad wiring runs from the rest of the network and alert the network manager to the problem through a network management application. Amazing!

As network speeds increased, however, there was concern that Category 3 cabling would not support those higher speeds due to crosstalk and other potential problems. That's where Category 5 cabling came in. With more twists per inch, Category 5 cabling became the solution of choice for CDDI (FDDI over copper) and Fast Ethernet (100BASE-T). Category 5 cabling was much cheaper to pull than fiber.

Today, Category 6 cabling has emerged as the next evolution in copper, with hopes that it will support Gigabit Ethernet and even higher speeds. One interesting story recently emerged about Category 6 cabling, though. When initially pulled into a new building during early phases of construction, the cabling all tested well when tested for support for high-speed LAN use. Months later, when the building was completed, the same cabling was tested and failed. What happened? During construction, water found its way into the cabling and degraded it. Category 6 was found to be more easily damaged by water. Now, when buildings are being constructed, much more care must be taken to keep the cabling dry!

Of course if you want to guarantee the highest performance, longest life, and safest investment in cabling infrastructure, no one would argue that fiber is the way to go. Single-mode fiber and multi-mode fiber are the infrastructure of the 21st Century backbone network.

Our Network: Up until a few months ago, we had Category 3 cabling for our 10BASE-T stations and some legacy thin Ethernet for some of our older machines. We've replaced it all with Category 5 cabling and 10/100 switches.

Check Out Some Real Cabling


Check out this incredible web site that documents a network that was installed in a community in Sweden. You'll see the network center and the wiring in each home. Quite incredible! Voice, video, and data at very high speeds. Would you like to wire up your town?

The image to the left is from their web site, click it!


Books On Cabling (buy through these links and we help feed the homeless)

The Cabling Handbook by John Vacca

This is one of the most comprehensive cabling books on the market today. Order it through our link to Amazon and we will donate 100% of our Amazon Associate's fees to the Ecumenical Hunger Program and America's Second Harvest. Click here to order and save 20%.


Cabling Complete by David Groth

I just spent time going through this book and was truly impressed by the diagrams and photographs. If you need to learn everything from cables, to crimpers, to patch panels, to NICs, etc.. this is a terrific book. Huge and well worth the price!

Buy this and we'll help feed the homeless through the Ecumenical Hunger Program and America's Second Harvest. Click here and save 20%.


Mike's Basic Guide to Cabling Computers and Telephone in Homes and Apartments by Mike Gorman

What a great way to learn to wire your home! This book got rave reviews from Amazon readers. Click here to order it from Amazon and help feed the homeless.


LAN Wiring by James Trulove

This book got really great reviews from Amazon readers. I've scanned it and it looked pretty good. Click through and buy it and we'll help feed needy people!
Click here to order and save 20%.


Practical Network Cabling
by Frank Derfler and Les Freed

I loved the first version of this book "Get a Grip on Network Cabling." This new version should be even better! If you order it here, we donate all our proceeds to feed people who really need the help!
Click here to order and save 20%.

Click to go to sign up!

Of course these days all the buzz is about wireless networks. Forget about
cabling! Check out our new course on wireless networks.

After you've checked this page out, try some of our other tutorials! If you're in the
networking business and you think our puzzles, tutorials, streaming audio segments or
complete training solutions would help you sell and support your products, contact us!
We can customize them for you or create complete technical and sales training. Just
look at some of our recent projects.

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