Difference between Shielded and Unshielded Cables

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The knowledge about shielded and unshielded cables will help you reach an informed decision while choosing the cables for your organization. A clear idea and the exact info about the differences between shielded and unshielded cables are necessary before you commence network cabling.

What is a Shielded Cable?

Shielded cables or Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) cables are covered in a sheathing. The individual cables would be covered in an insulated foil. Further, the twisted pairs are covered in the insulated sheathing. Thus giving double protection to the cables. Known to prevent any technical issues that may occur due to interaction between cables, shielded cables provide strong signal transmission.

What is an Unshielded Cable?

To begin with, unshielded cables are ideal only for networks with comparatively less traffic. Unshielded twisted pair cables are wrapped in a foil or insulated sheathing. The cables will not have additional insulation covering as in the case of shielded cables. Hence, the chances of EMI is more and the signal quality may go down.

Also Read: What are Control Cables? What are its Applications

Basic Differences Between Shielded and Unshielded Cables

Let’s look into the differences between shielded and unshielded cables.

Shielded Cable
Unshielded Cable
Less costly compared to shielded cable
Less flexible
Bigger in dia than unshielded
Diameter less than shielded
No technical issues including EMI
EMI may cause problem
Suitable for high-traffic networks
Not advisable for networks with increased traffic
Ideal for bigger firms with large network area
Suitable for offices and offices with fewer traffic

Benefits of Using Shielded Cables

Shielded cables have become popular owing to the technical advantages it has over unshielded cables. The benefits of using shielded cables are:

  • Reduced or no EMI with the double covering on the cables
  • Nil technical issues
  • Strong enough to withstand the possibility of abrasion
  • More resistant to the ingress of moisture
  • Immune to scraps
  • Strong cables that offer better network connectivity

Benefits of Using Unshielded Cables

  • The benefits of using unshielded cables are:
  • Cheaper than shielded cables
  • Installation is faster than shielded ones
  • Consumed less space and effort for routing
  • Do not need grounding
  • Lesser installation cost than shielded cable

Usage of Shielded Cables

Shielded cables are useful for every type of organization. Firms across the world have been opting for shielded cables due to the superior technical competence of shielded cables.

  • The applications of shielded cables include:
  • Areas where high EMI can be expected
  • Airports, railway stations and radio stations
  • Security network systems
  • The best for public address systems
  • Recording studios
  • Systems that integrate a variety of components

Usage of Unshielded Cables

The areas where unshielded cables can be used are:

  • LAN systems at home
  • Networking at small offices
  • Systems that do not encounter heavy traffic

Types of Shielded Cables

Unlike unshielded cables, different types of shielded cables are available. You need to pick the type of shielded cable according to the requirement.

Braided Shielded Cables – Braided shielded cables comprise woven copper wires and are ideal for industrial establishments and factories. The durability of the cable and resistance to harsh conditions make it advisable for such premises. Since the copper mesh is used, the cost of braided shielded cable may be high. Hence, the installation costs may be considered and compared with the budget before you decide upon this type of cable. Discussing with a reliable cable manufacturer is also preferable to reach a decision.

Also Read: How to Choose the Right Structured Cabling Infrastructure

Foil-shielded Cables – Busy organizations, commercial entities and noisy surroundings can consider foil-shielded cables for installation. Polyester sheathing bonded with a thin sheet of aluminium or copper is used in this cable. The cost of installation of foil-shielded cables is lower than braided cables.

How to Choose the Ideal Cable for Your Networking Needs?

Selecting the right type of cable can be quite complicated if you are not experienced enough in the field. We have seen customers perplexed between shielded and unshielded cables. The cost of installation has been a luring factor that makes many pick unshielded cables. Nonetheless, the technical issues during usage may make the functioning of the entity troublesome. Replacing the cable with a shielded one may be cumbersome and costly. Besides impacting the seamless functioning of the firm.

We request you to undertake comprehensive research before deciding upon the cable for your requirement. Alternatively, you can reach out to us for expert suggestions and guidance regarding shielded and unshielded cables.

A detailed discussion with the technical experts would resolve all the confusion. It would offer a clear way ahead about the cable to install at your premises. Note that you should:

Opt only quality-proven cables from reliable cable manufacturers

  • Get detailed info about the cable specifications
  • Compare the prices before deciding the cable to go for
  • Avoid fixing a low-quality cable only for saving some small amount
  • Confirm about the longevity of the cables and the after-sales support from the company

To discuss more on shielded and unshielded cables, reach out to us now.