Shielded cables reduce electrical and electromagnetic interference and help to keep the signal steady without loss, and decrease interference with other electrical or electromagnetic devices. Shield can be composed of copper tape which is a layer of conducting polymer or a braid (composed of copper or aluminum), and is covered with an insulating jacket.
Different level of shielings are being in use nowadays, i.e. STP, SSTP, and FTP.
Three major types of shielding are also available like braid shield, foil and screening. One after the other are discussed below:
Foiled: Foil Shielding is applied to individual pairs and quads.
Screening: Screening Shielding is applied to the collection of pairs.
Braiding: This shield is made of braided strands of aluminum or copper and provides very low impedance.
Shielded cables are thick as compared to unshielded cables, and are also more sensitive to work with. Mostly used in industrial installation where high electromagnetic interference can cause damage to the working components.
Unshielded cables do not have outer shielding to reduce interference. They are specially designed in a way to nullify the electromagnetic interference and the pairs are twisted inside the cable. Due to their design and nature, unshielded twisted cables are most suitable for office local area networks and other similar networking systems. Unshielded cables are very light in weight as compared to shielded cables and are thin and flexible and are versatile and inexpensive. An unshielded cable is easy to install and maintain as compared to shielded cable if it is properly installed. The knowledge of difference between the types of cables and their proper application is very essential to make a best decision in working environment that which cable type to use where it is required because selecting the right cable type will improve the network’s performance, minimize errors and allow for a long life span without failure.