Advantages and disadvantages of STP (Shielded Twisted Pair cable)

Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) is a type of cable commonly used in networking to transmit data signals. STP cables consist of pairs of twisted copper wires encased in a shielding layer, typically made of metal foil or braided wire. This shielding layer helps protect the twisted pairs from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), ensuring the integrity of data transmission. Let us understand STP cable basics and explore advantages of STP and disadvantages of STP cable.

What is STP?

• 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).

STP cable

• 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

Benefits or advantages of STP

Following are the benefits or advantages of STP:
➨Shielding reduces chance of crosstalk and provide protection from external interference. This shielding helps maintain signal integrity, especially in environments with high levels of electromagnetic interference, such as near heavy machinery or power lines.
➨The shielding in STP cables helps reduce signal attenuation, allowing for longer transmission distances compared to UTP cables, especially at higher frequencies.
➨The shielding in STP cables also provides some level of security by preventing signal eavesdropping or interception, though this is more relevant in specific security-sensitive applications.
➨It offers better electrical characteristics than unshielded cables.
➨It can be easily terminated with modular connector.
➨STP cables help to meet compliance with specific EMC or EMI standards due to their shielding.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of STP

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of STP:
➨Shielding increases overall diameter and weight of the cable. This can be a consideration in situations where space or weight constraints are significant factors.
➨It is more difficult to install compare to UTP cables. The larger thickness make them unfit for narrow cable ducts.
➨It has higher cost per foot of wire.
➨Shield of STP cables must be grounded properly otherwise it acts like an antenna and picks up unwanted signals.

Conclusion: Overall, STP cables offer superior protection against electromagnetic interference and better performance in noisy environments compared to UTP cables, but they come with higher costs and installation complexities. The choice between STP and UTP cables depends on the specific requirements of the network and the environment in which they will be deployed. Also refer advantages and disadvantages of UTP cable >>.

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