Types of Patch Cords


Types of Patch Cords

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Using full 3D electromagnetic field simulation to model detailed cabling within a large structure is impractical. Specialized cable solvers can instead provide much more efficient results.


TIA/EIA-568 is the standard for commercial building telecommunications cabling. It defines the pin and pair assignments for eight-conductor 100-ohm balanced twisted-pair cable. These pairs are defined in two configurations known as T568A and T568B. These two configurations are compatible with one another, but they do not share the same internal conductor color scheme.

Depending on the requirements of your network, you may choose to use a standard like TIA/EIA-568 or another ANSI-approved cabling standard. If you choose to use the TIA/EIA-568 specification, make sure that your patch cords are rated to the appropriate category for your network. For example, a Category 5e cable has performance up to 100 MHz and can support 10BASE-T, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. Category 6 cables have higher performance and can support 10GBase-T networks, and require 8P8C connectors.

The TIA/EIA-568 standard also defines the manufacturing and component reliability test specifications for unshielded (UTP) and shielded (F/UTP) balanced twisted-pair components. It also defines connection loss, near-end crosstalk connector-patch-cable-3d-interference-machines (NEXT) loss, equal level far-end crosstalk (ELFEXT), return loss and propagation delay and delay skew for categories 3 to 6.

The TIA/EIA-568 standards define how the wires should be terminated in a modular plug cord and connector. For example, the standard specifies that duplex connectors must be keyed so that position A of one connector connects to position B on the other end, and that all terminations should use a “straight through” wiring pattern. Comms Express has a wide selection of patch cords, jacks and connectors that comply with the TIA/EIA-568 specifications.


TIA-568-C, known as Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard, provides specifications and procedures for the structured cabling in commercial buildings. It defines performance requirements for balanced twisted-pair cabling systems and identifies conductor types. It also establishes maximum lengths for horizontal and backbone cables, as well as patch cords.

The standards define the structure and characteristics of copper cabling and components that connect office spaces to equipment in telecommunications rooms. It also lays out the minimum requirements for shielded category 8 balanced twisted-pair cabling and specifies cable and connector requirements. TIA-568-C also sets forth field test and reference measurement procedures for transmission parameters.

Probably the most well-known feature of TIA-568 is its pin-to-pair assignments, or “pinout.” This refers to how the wires are ordered in an eight-conductor 100-ohm balanced twisted pair cable connected to 8P8C modular connectors (sometimes incorrectly called RJ45 connectors). The ANSI/TIA-568-C standard defines two alternative pinouts, referred to as T568A and T568B.

It is important to keep in mind that the TIA-568-C standards change over time. Occasionally, there will be a major change that requires the release of a new set of standards. Other times, a minor change will result in the release fiber optic components of an addendum to a current set of TIA-568 standards. Using the most current version of these standards will help ensure that you are installing balanced twisted-pair cabling to the highest possible performance.

Common Patch Cord Connection Standards

Many types of patch cords exist, allowing for connections to different audio/video devices. Each type adheres to a specific standard to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. Audio/video patch cord standards include RCA, HDMI, and DisplayPort. While RCA cables are still prevalent, they are being replaced by newer standards that offer higher resolution and performance.

Ethernet patch cords are commonly used for data transmission between network devices in a LAN. They can be connected to RJ45-equipped wall outlets and patch panels, enabling them to be easily switched out for other patch cords without the need to remove the entire cable from its socket. Depending on the intended application, Ethernet patch cords are available in different speeds and performances, such as Category 5e or Category 6.

There are also various options for connection types. For instance, some patch cords are designed to minimize signal loss caused by bending or twisting of the connectors. These patch cords are known as bend-insensitive patch cords, and they use specialized fibers and coatings to maintain their optical performance, even when they are twisted or bent.

Other options for patch cord connections include crossover and straight-through. The main difference between these two types is that the wires in a crossover cable are swapped, while the wires in a straight-through patch cord remain in their original positions. In most cases, this is a non-issue, as most hubs and wall jacks are configured internally to perform the necessary crossover for you.

Inspection of Patch Cords

A patch cord is a length of cabling with connectors already installed on both ends. This cable is used to link network devices together. These cables are usually shorter than other types of networking cabling. They’re typically colored so that they can easily be identified.

Patch cords can be made of a number of different types of cables, including coaxial cable and unshielded or shielded twisted pair CAT5e or CAT6 cabling. They can also be made of fiber optic cabling. Fiber optic patch cords can carry higher amounts of data than their copper counterparts and provide a more reliable connection in telecommunications applications with high-speed networks.

These cables can be inspected for proper terminations with the use of a cable tester, which can check continuity and verify that all of the wires are connected correctly. The test can also reveal any errors, such as a wire that has not been fully seated in the connector.

It’s important that the factory that produces patch cords performs rigorous testing before the cables are shipped to customers. This is because repeated handling can affect the performance of the cable. The connector end of the patch cord is especially susceptible to damage from excessive stress, such as bending and frequent maneuvering of the cable-connector interface. This can cause signal egress, which can reduce transmission speed and cause bit error rates to rise.

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