what is twisted pair cable

Definition - What Does a Twisted Pair Cable Mean?

A twisted pair cable is a type of networking cable produced by assembling two separate insulated wires in a twisted pattern and operating them parallel to each other. 

This type of cable is widely used in various types of data and voice infrastructures.


A twisted pair is the usual copper wire that connects business computers to a home and many to the telephone company. To reduce a transition call or electromagnetic induction between pairs of wires two insulated copper wires rotate each other. 


Any connection on a twisted pair requires both wires. Because some phones or desktop locations require multiple connections a twisted pair is sometimes installed in two or more pairs all within one networking cable. 


In some business locations, a twisted pair is surrounded by a shield that functions as a ground. This is known as a shielded twisted pair (STP) cable. A standard networking cable or wire for a home is an unshielded twisted pair (UTP).


A twisted pair is now often installed with two pairs for the home with the extra pair allowing you to add an extra row (perhaps for modem use) when you need it.


A twisted pair comes with each pair in a unique color-coding when packaged in several pairs. Different uses such as analog-digital and Ethernet require different even multipliers.


Although a twisted pair is often associated with home use a higher degree of twisted pair is often used for horizontal wiring in LAN facilities because it is less expensive than a coaxial cable.


The wire you buy at a local hardware store for extensions from your phone or computer modem to a wall outlet is not twisted. This is a side-by-side thread known as silver satin. 


The wall socket can have several five types of hole or pin arrangements depending on the type of wires the installation expects to be plugged in (e.g., digital-analog or LAN). 

(This is why you may find out sometimes when you carry your laptop to another location that the wall outlet connections will not fit into your plug.)


Reason for Twisting

All broadcasts are subject to noise interference and transitions. 

When the wires are twisted some of the noise signals are in the direction of the data signals while the other parts are in the opposite directions. 


Thus the external waves are eliminated due to the various twists. The receiver calculates the difference in voltage of the two data retrieval wires. This results in much better immunity to noise.

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