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The Differences between Solid and Stranded Cable
(Tuesday, September 22, 2015)
 
No matter if your cable is Cat3, Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a rated, it is also classified as either "solid" or "stranded".

A solid cable is most commonly used as a backbone cable in walls,ceilings and conduit, where flexibility isn't really needed.  This is because a solid cable's conductors are made of solid metal (usually a single thick copper wire) and the cable as a whole is generally more rigid. Additional characteristics:

o    Transmits electrical signals better over longer distances
o    Lower attenuation (resistance)
o    More likely to break with repetitive bending
o    Lower Cost
o    Used for horizontal cabling in Ethernet networks
 
In a stranded cable, the conductors are made up of many fine metal filaments which are twisted together to form a larger, thicker wire. Due to this composition of thin wires, the stranded cables are a lot more flexible than solid cable. Stranded cables are commonly used as patch cords and other shorter network cables that require frequent flexing and bending during use. Additional characteristics:

o    Shorter transmission distance (de-rate length by 25-50%)
o    Higher Attenuation (resistance)
o    Not likely to break due to repetitive bending (continuous movement cables require special jackets)
o    Higher Cost
o    Used for patch cabling in Ethernet networks
 

Contact Design - RJ45 plugs

There are multiple designs for contacts on RJ45 plugs, which are used for specific reasons. Not all plugs work on all cables.  Often users just pick one plug and use it for everything, but this can result in a less reliable termination. For either a solid or stranded cable, keep these options in mind:

 

Two point staggered - Stranded or Solid: The contact prongs straddle the conductor. 

Tripoint type - Stranded or Solid: Long contact prongs spread apart to accept the conductor.

 
Piercing type - Stranded Only: Jagged end pierces jacket and embeds into the strands of the conductor. 

 


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5/24/2016 Why our Premium D-Sub Cables are Superior
5/17/2016 An A to Z review of the 802.11 standards
4/12/2016 USB Type-C Cable Assemblies Provide Legacy USB Connectivity
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2/2/2016 The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
12/15/2015 Cable Shielding - How it Works
12/1/2015 Embedded Antennas and the IoT
11/10/2015 Long Live RS-232!
9/22/2015 The Differences between Solid and Stranded Cable
9/15/2015 Coaxial Connector Termination: Which Technique is Right for You
8/11/2015 802.11ah Breathes New Life to the 900 MHz Frequency Band
7/14/2015 Cable Options For Every Application
7/7/2015 900 MHz - Your NLOS Friend
6/2/2015 802.11ax Offers Blazing Fast Wi-Fi Connectivity
5/12/2015 The NBASE-T Alliance - Fostering Multi-Gig Speeds over Cat5e/6 Cabling
4/7/2015 L-com and The Internet of Things (IoT)
3/3/2015 802.3bt the Promise for Higher Power PoE
1/6/2015 L-com's Family of Brands - A Solution for Every Application
12/9/2014 Cat6a Products for High-Speed Networking
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