What are the differences between twisted pair cable, Optical fiber cable, and Coaxial cable?

Let us understand the concepts of twisted pair cable, optical fiber cable and coaxial cable before learning the differences between them.

Twisted Pair Cable

Twisted pair cable is made up of two insulated conductor wires twisted together.


The advantages of Twisted Pair cable are as follows −

  • Inexpensive and readily available.

  • Flexible

  • Light Weight

  • Easy to setup and Install

  • It supports Analog and digital transmission.


The disadvantages of Twisted Pair cable are as follows −

  • Low bandwidth

  • Noise prone

  • Transmission Limits.

Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber Optic Cable is made up of glass and the data signal travels in the form of light.


The advantages of Optical Fiber cable are as follows −

  • Extremely high bandwidth.

  • Easy to accommodate increasing bandwidth.

  • Resistance to electromagnetic interference.

  • Cable damage and secure transmissions can be detected early.


The disadvantages of Fiber Optic cable are as follows −

  • Installation costs is still high.

  • Special test equipment is often required.

  • Susceptibility to physical damage.

  • Wildlife damage to fiber optic cables.

Coaxial Cable

In coaxial cable the inner core is of conductor which is insulated with insulating materials. Again the insulated material is covered with conductor metal foil which is again covered with insulating material.


The advantages of Coaxial Cable are as follows −

  • High bandwidth.

  • No distortion during data transmission.

  • High noise immunity.

  • Can be used in long distance telephone lines.


The disadvantages of Coaxial Cable are as follows −

  • If a single cable fails the entire network would collapse.

  • Difficult to install.

  • Expensive compared to twisted pairs.


The major differences between twisted pair cable, fiber optic cable and Coaxial Cable are as follows −

Twisted pair cableFiber optic cableCoaxialcable
Twisted pair wiring is a digital signal.
Fibre optics signal transmission is in the form of light signals via glass or plastic inside fiberglass cables.
Coaxial cable is an Analog signal.
Twisted Pair cable is a type of wiring technology where two conductors of a single circuit are twisted together. Data can be transmitted in the form of a circuit by a pair of wires.
Fiber optic cable is a type of Ethernet cable that consists of one or more optic fibers which are used to transmit data.
Coaxial cables, are copper cables with metal shielding designed to provide immunity against noise and greater bandwidth.
Transmission of signals: electrical form over metallic conducting wire.
Signal transmission: light forms over a glass fiber.
Signal transmission : electrical form over the inner conductor of cable.
Twisted pairs can be affected due to external magnetic fields.
Fiber optic never affected due to external magnetic field.
External magnetic field is less affected.
Twisted pair is made up of a pair of insulated copper wire.
Fiber optic made up of very thin optical fibers bundled together into a single cable. The fibers can be made of glass or plastic.
Coaxial cable is made up of solid copper, stranded copper or copper plated steel wire surrounded by an insulating layer and all enclosed by a shield
Twisted pair is low in price when compared to both Coaxial and Fiber optical cables.
Fiber optic cable is more expensive than copper cable
Coaxial cable is moderately expensive.
Twisted pair usually not effective in rejecting noise immunity
It has highest noise immunity as the light rays are unaffected by the electrical noise.
Coaxial cable also has high noise immunity.
Attenuation is very high.
Attenuation is very much low.
In coaxial cable attenuation is low.
Installation and implementation is simple and easy.
Installation and implementation is difficult.
Installation and implementation is very easy.
Low Bandwidth.
Very high bandwidth.
Moderately high bandwidth
They are generally used in telephone networks, data networks and cable shielding.
They are installed to support long distance connections between countries and cities. They are also used in data centers where large volumes of data need to be transmitted.
Coaxial cables are used to connect radio transmitters and receivers with antennas, internet connections, digital audio and cable television signals
They transmit television, telephone and data at a relatively low speed when compared to fiber optical cable.
They transmit television, telephone and data at a relatively faster speed when compared to twisted pair and coaxial cable.
Moderately high data rate.
Attenuation is very high.
Attenuation is very low.
Attenuation is low.
Power loss due to conduction and radiation
Power loss due to absorption, scattering dispersion and bending.
Power loss due to conduction.

Updated on: 22-Mar-2022

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