Difference Between Stranded, Solid, & Plenum Rated Cables
Cat 5E, 6 and 6a can all be purchased in stranded or solid wire construction. The core of the Ethernet cable is comprised of insulated strands of copper so that it can be flexed repeatedly without the copper cores of the conductors breaking.
Solid Copper Cables
Solid copper cables are primarily used for situations where the cable is not going to be stressed, like in wall/permanent applications. The cable cores are comprised of one single solid strand of copper. This allows the cable to carry signals over longer distances but cannot be flexed too many times without the copper cores breaking.
Stranded Copper Cables
Unlike solid copper cables, stranded cables shine with their flexibility. They are primarily used to connect device to device, such as a phone to a wall jack or a laptop to a router.Since the cables will get moved around a lot, the copper strands are able to withstand frequent bending and movement.
Plenum cabling, just like solid copper cables, is primarily used for in wall/permanent applications where the local building codes require its use as the low smoke/flame retardant jacket reduces the amount of toxic fumes that are released into air when the jacket is burned. With this increases jacket protection (special types of plastic) these cables have a greatly reduced level of flexibility and are very rigid and hard to bend.
Additional Learning Center Resources
- What is Cat8 and how is it different from other Ethernet cables?
- What is the difference between Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a?
- The Right Ethernet Cables for High Density Networks
- What does 5G mean for business networks?
- Why Would You Use Shielded Ethernet Cables?
- What are Ferrari-style Ethernet Cables?
- Ethernet for Challenging Installs
- Shop all CablesAndKits Ethernet Cables
- Visit the CK Learning Center