Ribbon Cables and their applications

Single- and multi-coloured ribbon cables are used e.g. in fixed connections in telecommunication devices or electronic control systems for machines.

Telephone cables in practice

These cables are used not only in telecommunications, but they also proved to be good for standard telephone connections with the most common number of cores.

Telecommunication and computer cables

Telecommunication and computer cables are used in computer networks and in signal transmission using various interfaces, e.g. HDMI or USB. The most important type is the twisted-pair cable.

Applications of twisted-pair cables

  • Ethernet-based networks,
  • connecting computers,
  • creating telecommunication links,
  • CCTV installation.

Structure of a twisted-pair cable

Computer twisted-pair cable comprises four pairs of wires placed in a common cover. Each pair is twisted lengthwise in order to minimize the impact of electromagnetic disturbances as well as mutual interferences (also known as crosstalk) on the transmission.

A twisted-pair cable may comprise:

  • unshielded wires (U type),
  • wires shielded with foil (F),
  • wires shielded with a metal grid (S) or a foil and a grid (SF)
  • each pair shielded separately, and an additional screen for the entire cable.

Other types of telecommunication and computer cables

This group also includes optical fibre cables and specialist wires for the needs of USB or HDMI cables. Their detailed parameters are defined in descriptions of particular standards.

Markings of telecommunication and computer cables

The markings of cables of this type are defined by the IEC11801:2002 standard. Such description comes in the xx/yyTP format, where: • yy – describes a single core pair in the cable, • xx – refers to the entire cable. For instance, SF/FTP means that it’s a twisted-pair cable with each pair foiled, and an additional foil and grid shield for the entire cable.

Quality of telecommunication and computer cables

Quality of a cable is described by its category (class), in accordance with the EN 50173 standard: from 1 to 3 and from 5e to 8.2. The higher the category, the higher the bandwidth, e.g. category 6 is for Gigabit Ethernet. What’s more, insulation colours of wires in the aforementioned four pairs are normalized as well.

See also:


Depending on the particular version, telecommunication and computer cables can be used indoors or outdoors. Cables for indoor use include e.g. self-supporting cables for overhead installations. There are also versions for non-Ethernet networks, with less pairs (e.g. one), as well as multi-pair versions for telecommunication.