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UTP vs STP | difference between UTP and STP

This page compares UTP vs STP and describes difference between UTP and STP. UTP is short form of Unshielded Twisted Pair and STP is short form of Shielded Twisted Pair.

Twisted pair cables are composed of two insulated wires twisted together. The advantages of twisting the cables are reduction in electromagnetic interference and crosstalk among the cables. There are two types of twisted pair cables unshieled and shielded.

UTP-Unshielded Twisted Pair

UTP Cable

• It is one of the type of twisted pair cable, the other type is STP (Shielded Twisted Pair).
• It is most commonly used as copper telephone wiring.
• It is a medium which is composed of pairs of wires.
• Each of the 8 individual copper wires in UTP cable is covered by insulating material. In adition wires in each pair are twisted around each other.
• UTP cables are available in category-1 to category-6.
• UTP cable relies on cancellation effect produced by twisted pairs to limit signal degradation caused by EMI and RFI. Moreover number of twists in wire pairs are used appropriately to reduce the crosstalk.
• It offers speed or throughput of about 10 to 1000 Mbps.
• It offers maximum cable length of about 100 meters.

EIA/TIA classifies UTP cables into following 7 categories.

UTP category Description
Category-1 consists of cables which carry voice and not the data.
Category-2 Consists of 4 twisted pair UTP cables which can transmit data upto 4 Mbps
Category-3 Consists of 4 twisted pair UTP cables with three twists per foot which can transmit data upto 10 Mbps
Category-4 Consists of 4 twisted pair UTP cables which can transmit data upto 16 Mbps
Category-5 Consists of 4 twisted pair UTP cables which can transmit data upto 100 Mbps
Category-5e Enhanced version of catrgory-5 for larger networks
Category-6 Used for gigabit ethernet

STP-Shielded Twisted Pair

STP cable

• It is one of the type of twisted pair cable, the other type is UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair).
• It is similar to UTP in which wire pairs are twisted around each other. In addition, it has shielding around the cable to protect it from external interference. Here shield functions as ground.
• It combines techniques of shielding, cancellation and wire twisting.
• Each pair of wires is wrapped in a metallic foil. The four pairs of wires are wrapped in an overall metallic foil usually 150 Ohm cable.
• STP cable reduces electrical noise within the cable and from outside of the cable (e.g. EMI, RFI).
• It supports maximum segment of length about 100 meters.
• It offers speed or throughput of about 10 to 100 Mbps.
• Media and connector size: Medium to large
• Average cost per node: moderately expensive

Refer advantages and disadvantages of UTP cable >> and STP cable >> to understand difference between UTP and STP.


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