What Is A UTP Cable: The Ultimate Guide

The internet has become a vital component of society since people use it to accomplish several tasks.

However, for people to enjoy the internet, a physical connection had to be made using UTP cables.

What is a UTP cable?

What is an Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable?

UTP refers to an unshielded twisted pair cable that’s a copper cable consisting of two to 1800 UTP protected by a cable jacket.

The cables lack metal shielding and are, therefore, smaller in diameter and unprotected from electrical interference.

However, the twist helps increase the cable’s immunity against electromagnetic interference and electric noise


Below are the various branches of Unshielded Twisted Pair Cables.


The overall cable construction features a braided screen with unshielded pairs.

Often referred to as STP, the cable can support increased transmission rates over longer distances than U/UTP.


Often people refer to the cable’s FTP because its overall design features a foil shield wrapped around a drain wire and unshielded twisted pairs.

If properly connected, the drain wire will help redirect noise to the ground enhancing the cable’s protection against EMI and RFI. 


This cable is similar to the FTP in that it features unshielded twisted pairs wrapped in foil and then wrapped in a flexible, mechanically strong braided screen.

The extra foil on the twisted pairs helps reduce crosstalk from opposite pairs and other cables.

Also, the braid helps in grounding the cable.


The cable has no shielding; however, each twisted pair is wrapped in a foil screen to prevent crosstalk among opposite pairs or other cables and protect the cable against EMI. 


The cable features a main foil shielding, with each twisted pair wrapped in its shield.

This design provides the cable with better protection against crosstalk from opposite twisted pairs and other wires while also protecting the cable from EMI and RFI.


The cable features an overall foil and braided shield with unshielded twisted pairs.

It offers adequate protection against EMI from the cable and into the cable.

It also offers better grounding thanks to the braiding.


Thanks to the overall foil shield and braid shield alongside individually wrapped in foil untwisted pairs, the cable offers maximum protection against alien crosstalk, EMI, crosstalk, and RFI.

This cable offers the highest level of protection against interference and better ground due to the braid.

How Unshielded Twisted Pair Cables Work: Twisted Pair Design

Within a UTP cable are typically pairs of twisted copper wire protected in a plastic cover, and the more the count of twisted pairs, the higher the bandwidth.

In each pair, two individual wires are twisted on one another, then the pairs are twisted around each other, which helps limit electromagnetic interference and crosstalk.

For a signal to function, it requires both wires within the pair.

For easier identification of each pair, the cable uses a color code. In the US, each wire within a pair is known by one of the colors; blue, gray (slate), green, or brown.

Each of the wires is then paired with a wire from a different color code: red, black, violet, or yellow.

In the pair, one wire is a solid color while the other is a solid color stripped with the corresponding wire’s color.

For instance, a blue wire is paired with a wire stripped between blue and white to enable easier identification.

Each setup requires different pair multiples depending on use (ethernet, digital, or analog).

Types of UTP Cable vs. Application

UTP cables are commonly used for networking purposes.

You can use them for low-speed data, voice, paging systems, audio, control systems, building automation, and high-speed data.

UTP Cable Category

UTP CategoryData RateMax. Length Cable TypeApplication
CAT1Around 1MbpsTwisted PairOld Telephone Cable
CAT2Up to 4MbpsTwisted PairToken Ring Networks
CAT3Up to 10Mbps100mTwisted Pair10Base-T Ethernet and Token Ring
CAT4Up to 16Mbps100mTwisted PairToken Ring
CAT5Up to 100Mbps100mTwisted PairEthernet, Fast Ethernet, Token Ring
CAT5EUp to 1Gbps100mTwisted PairEthernet, Gigabit Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
CAT6Up to 10Gbps100mTwisted PairGigabit Ethernet, 10G Ethernet (35 meters)
CAT6EUp to 10Gbps100mTwisted PairGigabit Ethernet, 10G Ethernet (35 meters)
CAT7Up to 10 Gbps100mTwisted PairGigabit Ethernet, 10G Ethernet (35 meters)

Solid Conductor Unshielded Twisted Pair vs. Stranded Conductor Unshielded Twisted Pair

Solid conductor UTP cables feature one solid copper cable functioning as the conductor. They are easier to handle and are physically stronger.

These features allow UTP cables to facilitate transmission runs over longer distances and better data rates than stranded conductor unshielded twisted pairs.

On the other hand, stranded conductor UTP cables are commonly used as patch cables in telecommunication rooms and work areas.

On observing the cross-section of stranded conductor unshielded twisted pair cables, you’ll notice that every copper conductor is made of multiple smaller-sized strands of wire.

They are positioned in a format that roughly 8 – 16 strands surrounding one wire in the middle of the bundle.

Through the process of stranding, the outer wires are arranged, surrounding one wire together, forming a single conductor with a diameter almost the same as the solid conductor unshielded twisted pair cable.

Riser UTP Cable vs. Plenum UTP Cable

With the Riser UTP Cable and PLenum UTP cable, two main factors help set them apart.

Cable Jacket Material

The plenum cable uses low smoke FEP or PVC, offering better electrical properties and chemical resistance.

Also, it supports temperatures ranging from -250C – 1250C while offering protection against all sorts of chemicals.

On the other hand, the riser cable uses cheap PVC that may release dangerous gasses such as hydrogen chloride and produces thick smoke if a fire occurs.

Therefore, its operating temperatures range from 00C to 700C, cheaper than the plenum cable.

Safety Standard

Riser and plenum cables differ in safety standards, with the plenum cable adhering to one of the strictest safety standards, UL910.

Riser cables are required to meet fewer demands; therefore, you can use plenum cables in their place.

However, you can’t use riser cables in place of plenum cables.

Often professionals opt to use plenum cables to reduce space and streamline inventory.

How To Properly Connect an Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable?

To successfully connect your UTP cable follow the steps below.

  1. Strip off approximately two inches of the cable jacket.
  2. Unwind the cable pairs, ensuring not to unwind beyond the point you stripped.
  3. Align every wire according to the table below.
  4. Place the wires inside the RJ45 plug ensuring every wire is fully inside and in the correct position.
  5. Verify each wire’s position and ensure the cable extends to the face of the plug, making enough contact with the metal connections in the plug.
  6. Repeat for the second plug.

Caption: RJ45 Plug

Pin #Wire Color (T568A)10Base-T Signal100Base-TX SIgnal1000Base-T Signal
1White/GreenTransmit +BI_DA+
2GreenTransmit –BI_DA-
3White/OrangeReceive +BI_DB+
5White/BlueUnused BI_DC-


There you have it, all you need to know about UTP cables.

Suppose you encounter any issues while connecting your UTP cable or have any queries feel free to contact Cloom Tech.

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