5 Cables the IT Department at Your Business Should Know About

Every business depends on cables to transmit information from one place to the next. Cables provide internet, telephone service, and various other functions your business requires daily to function properly. Here are five cables your IT department should be familiar with: 

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1. Coaxial Cable [Cable television]

For cable TV service to reach your home, a coaxial cable is connected between a fiber optic line and an antenna. The signal from the antenna travels through the coaxial cable to reach your TV. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy your favorite television shows or movies on demand. Coaxial cables are made of copper wires wrapped in plastic tubing. For them to function properly, they need to have resistance within 3 percent of what is considered the normal range at all times.

2. Twisted Pair [Phone Lines]

The twisted-pair cable used for phone service is made of two insulated copper wires braided together with an additional thin wire wrapped around it that acts as a shield to keep out unwanted EMI (Electromagnetic Interference). It functions by transmitting electrical pulses over the wires, which are then converted into sounds when received by the earpiece. The quality of sound transmitted depends on how clear and strong these pulses are, so your IT department needs to make sure they are functioning properly at all times. This involves making sure there isn’t too much distance between the phone and the wall jack and ensuring there aren’t any broken wires.

Also, network cables, such as Ethernet cables, are used to connect computers to share files and exchange data. Ethernet cables use twisted pairs of copper wires to reduce noise and distortion experienced when transferring large amounts of data. For this reason, the fewer devices hooked up on an Ethernet cable will result in a higher quality connection performance. Smaller gauge wires are also necessary for better results because larger gauge wires carry current better but tend to suffer from signal loss issues. External factors like overloaded circuits or poorly designed cabling can also cause connections problems, resulting in slower Internet speeds.

3. Power Cable [Supplying Power to Devices]

Power cables provide electricity to devices like laptops and televisions. The majority of power cables are designed as either a figure 8 or a cloverleaf, with those designs being more reliable than other alternatives. Most appliances use very low voltages that aren’t harmful to humans, but the cable’s outer casing needs to be grounded, so any voltage is diverted away from the room. To ensure they continue working properly, your IT department has to ensure there isn’t any damage caused by rodents chewing through them or dust buildup causing overheating issues.

4. Ribbon Cable [Industrial Applications]

Industry-grade applications usually use ribbon cables because they can safely and reliably distribute high voltages and currents without arcing (the uncontrolled release of electricity). This type of cable is made up of groups of wires twisted around each other in a tight bundle, then covered with a sheathing that’s resistant to substances like oil or gasoline. The hermetic seal provided by the sheathing protects the cables from damage and moisture and is essential to ensure there isn’t any interference or signal loss across long distances. OSFP canisters and backplanes are two examples of applications that use ribbon cables.

5. USB Cable [Exchanging Data]

USB cables are probably at home with most computer users because of their convenience in connecting phones, MP3 players, external drives, printers, etc., to computers. Unlike most wire types made of insulated copper wires wrapped around each other with an additional wire for added strength, USB cable uses four pairs of smaller gauge non-insulated copper wires that are twisted together into a single cable. This makes it sufficient to transmit high amounts of data over short distances without causing noise or signal degradation issues. As with any wire type, issues can arise when the connectors are plugged in improperly or if the wires are damaged.


These are just a few of the most common types of cables your IT department might have running around to different devices at home or work. These cables must be carefully maintained because they make up the backbone for various technologies like telephone lines, Ethernet networks, power distribution, and USB devices. Remember that your IT team’s efforts aren’t only focused on troubleshooting problems you encounter with your computer. They also perform preventative maintenance by ensuring everything is working properly, so there isn’t any downtime due to cable damage.

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