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Cable, Wire & Assemblies

Cable and wire selection is extremely important when assembling an electrical design because it affects the overall safety, serviceability and usability of the application. The main difference between wire and cable is that wire is a single conductor that carries current through a circuit while cable is a collection of wires sheathed together.

Wire comes in various materials and sizes to accommodate different electrical loads. The two most important factors to help determine which type of wire is best for a project, are the gauge and length. The longer the wire, the greater the gauge needs to be to counteract the voltage drop lost through resistance.

Ethernet cable is a network cable that carries broadband signals between devices such as routers, PCs and switches. These cables are limited by length and quality and therefore, have Categories (Cat), which refer to different sets of standards. Ethernet cables that are Cat 5e and Cat 6e (or higher) are recommend for higher speeds.

Coax cable or coaxial cable is used to carry video, radio frequency and other forms of data signals. The cable has a copper core surrounded by an insulating layer and a conductive shielding. This design makes it ideal for industrial settings, where the cable is resistant to signal interference from devices such as motors and protected from damage due to environmental factors. Coax cable works best at high frequencies and shorter distances.

Fiber optic cable is a network cable that transmits data as pulses of light through fibers of glass or plastic inside an insulated casing. The fast data transmission over long distances make them ideal for high-performance data networking and telecommunications.