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2. Wired networks



A very popular choice for a wired network is to use copper 'Ethernet' cables to carry data using electrical signals.

They come in two main categories called Cat-5 (slower) and Cat-6 (faster). The photo below shows ethernet cables plugged into a switch.

ethernet cable

Cat-5 cable is cheaper per metre and is an excellent choice for a regular home or business network. However, if you need a very fast connection, then the more expensive Cat-6 cable is recommended.


Fibre optic cable

Where ethernet uses electrical signals, fibre optic cables transfer data using light.

Fibre optic cables offers extremely high bandwidth (they can transfer a lot of data in a given time). So much bandwidth, in fact, that fibre optic networks are usually limited by the equipment connected to the cable rather than the cable itself.


Fibre optic cable is slowly replacing ethernet as the standard medium for connecting computers on a wide area network such as the Internet. But fibre optic cable is very expensive compared to standard ethernet copper cable, so it is taking some time.


Challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Wired networks