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What is shielded network cable?

Traditional category 5E or category 6 cables have four twisted pairs and no shield. With shielded products, a shield layer is added to help reduce interference to network signals. There are several different types of shielding found on network cabling.

Foil Shield
Basic shield style most often found. It consists of a simple aluminum mylar layer wrapped around the conductor pairs. This offers basic protection from EMI/RFI interference. Although a foil shield covers up to 100% of the cable pairs, it does not offer the best protection for all frequencies.

Cat. 5E, PVC Bulk w/Shield, 1,000 ft Reel, 4 Pr. Stranded

View a product with a foil shield.

Braid Shield
A braided shield is often used in cables that require more flexibility. Braid shields do not offer as much coverage from a percentage definition. However, because of the way a braid shield is designed with a crosshatch pattern, it provides better protection from a wide range of interference types. This type of shield is also very durable and can often be used in applications where the cable would be flexed frequently.

Shielded Cat 5E Hi-Flex Patch Cable, RJ45 / RJ45, 1.0 ft

View products with a braid shield.

Foil + Braid (Double Shielded)
The combination of the above shield types offers excellent protection from a wide range of EMI/RFI interference issues. In a double shielded cable, the foil is often the inside layer with the braid above that. The conductive side of the foil is turned towards the braid to insure good electrical contact throughout the length of the assembly. For industrial or military applications this style is the most popular choice.

Cat. 5E, LSZH Bulk w/Foil & Braid Shield, 1,000 ft Reel, 4 Pr. Stranded, 26 AWG

View products with double shields.

Foil Shielded Pairs
Each pair within the cable assembly has its own individual foil shield. This reduces noise from one pair from crossing over to a second pair in the same cable. Pair shielding is not too popular yet but expect to see it used with extremely fast networks. With 10G Ethernet on the way, manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce interference that is generated both internally and externally from the cable.

Currently, the most common usage for pair shielded cables is with T1 connections. L-com offers a line of patch cables specifically for this purpose.

T1 Patch Cable, RJ48 / RJ48, 3.0  ft

View products with foil shielded pairs.

 
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