What Is an Ethernet Cable?

by Jdreesen on October 10, 2011

Ethernet Cable SplitterIn the world of internet connectivity, we find ourselves using telephone lines and wireless devices to connect to the internet. The most common way to connect to the internet is with an Ethernet cable. This type of cable enables faster communication between the network and your laptop, personal computer or gaming console. You might ask the question, just what is an Ethernet cable? It is a network protocol cable that has RJ-45 jacks on either end with 8-pins inside. The cable itself is a 10/100 Base-T Cat 5 cable which is capable of sending and receiving 100 megabytes per second. The Ethernet cable could also be a Cat 6 cable which is compatible with 10 Base-T, 100 Base-T and 1000 Base-T networks. They transmit data at much faster speeds, up to 250 MHz. The Ethernet cable is much more capable of transmitting and receiving data than a phone line which only has 4-pins and can carry only a small amount of data per second by comparison.

How to Use Crossover Ethernet Cable

There are different Ethernet cables for different purposes. Consequently Ethernet cable wiring is important. There is the straight-through cable used for as patch cords which use a hub. If you’re attempting to connect two similar types of devices without a hub or a cable modem, you’ll need a Crossover Ethernet cable. The Crossover Ethernet cable has its send and receive wires crossed. When using a hub the signal is automatically corrected for you. Using a Crossover cable requires that you power both devices down before connecting the cables. Use the existing Ethernet ports on both devices. After they are connected turn each device back on. With the Crossover cable connecting the two devices, file transfer might be capable and other interactions.

Ethernet Cable Splitter: It’s Not a Hub

If you want to connect several devices to the same cable outlet, you will need an Ethernet cable splitter. This device will allow you to save on running cable from one room to the other. A two port cable allows two computers to split the signal on the common cable that runs between rooms, but there must be another split cable on the other end that connects to two cables. Splitters are often assumed to allow more than one device to share the same network. Instead a splitter is used to prevent having to run additional cables between rooms. For a distance the two cables share a line, not a network.

The splitter is not a hub and so cannot be used to allow two computers to share the same network. You would need a router for two computers to share the same network. Splitters come with two ports, four ports or up to eight ports. They must be purchased in pairs so that the cable between splitters connects the same ports on both ends. A four port splitter should have a cable that connects it to another four port splitter. The data gets confused when it is not separated on both ends of the connecting cable. Just like the data is separated at one end with a splitter, it must be separated at the other end with a splitter.

Ethernet protocol allows faster sending and receiving of data. The cables can connect directly to a hub. They can connect directly to a router. Crossover cables can connect two similar devices. Ethernet splitters can be used in pairs on each end of a connecting cable to prevent the need to run additional cable between rooms. The signal is shared on the connecting cable and then split again when it is connected to the devices. As many options for running cable from devices and to hubs as there are, one could get confused. Just remember that a splitter is not a hub and crossover cable can only connect two similar devices. Then you will benefit from Ethernet protocol, which makes sending and receiving signals from the internet a much faster process.

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