A Look Into Different Types Of Cables

Different Types Of Cables

A cable can be defined as the grouping of multiple wires encased in a common sheathing and a  wire is a single electrical conductor. The widespread use of electricity is enabled because of the use of wires and cables. From households to telecom sectors, different types of cables are being used. The cables are differentiated based on their material and applications.

Not all devices use a similar type of cabling. Having a knowledge of the different types of cable will assist you in having a better insight into what’s going on inside the electrical appliances around you or where and how your electricity reaches you.

Depending on the applications of electrical cables there are more than 20 different types of cables. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Communication Cable:

The type of cables used for the transmission of signal or in the other words, for communication purposes is called communication cables. They can be of three subtypes.

● Coaxial Cable :

Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cables are made of 4 layers forming the coaxial structure (i.e., having a common center or axis). The central layer is the conductor. The surrounding layer which is the second layer is the insulating plastic. These two layers are encased in a metallic sheath. The last layer is the outer insulating plastic. Amongst the different types of cables, coaxial cable is used to transmit high frequencies with very low noise interference (achieved by the presence of metallic sheath). It is used in cable television, satellite communications, and high-speed internet access.

Types Uses Cost (depending on length)
Hardline coaxial/Heliax cable Connects transmitter and aerial antenna Rs.50 – Rs. 700
Radiating or Leaky coaxial cable Connects transmitter and underground antenna Rs.10 – Rs.5000
RG 6 coaxial cable Cable television, internet connection, house wiring Rs.10 – Rs.40
Twinax coaxial cable 10 GB Ethernet network, LAN Rs.500 – Rs.11000
Triax coaxial cable Television industry to connect camera and CCU Rs.10 – Rs.50
Semi-rigid coaxial cable Test equipment, aerospace applications, PIM, medical Rs.10 – Rs.1300
Rigid line coaxial cables Indoor applications, TV, and FM Rs.10 – Rs.1300
Twisted pair cable Ethernet, telephone, DSL lines Rs.10 – Rs.10000

● Fiber Optic Cable:

Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cable is one of the different types of cable. It is made of transparent and flexible glass fibers called optical fibers. These optical fibers transmit data in the form of light. The thickness of each optical fiber is similar to the thickness of human hair. Relatively new to the market, fiber optic cables are not yet used in households. Since it employs rapid pulses of light to transmit data, its speed is unimaginably faster than any standard copper wire.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Single-mode or mono mode optical fiber Long-distance communication Rs.200
Multi-mode fiber optic LAN security systems, the short-distance communication application Rs.500 – Rs.1000

● Direct-buried Cable (DBC):

Direct-buried cable is yet another cable amongst the different types of cables. It is designed specifically to be buried underground without any extra insulation. It has water-resistant protection, plastic insulation, and other protection for underground factors that would otherwise affect any other normal cable.

Uses Cost (approx.)
Underground cabling in a wet or dry environment Rs.50 – Rs.300

2. Non-metallic Sheathed Cable (NM-sheathed Cable):

Non-metallic Sheathed Cable (NM-sheathed Cable)

The outer insulating of the non-metallic cable is made of plastic. These cables are of two types depending on the number of conductors used. Two wires NM-sheathed conductors have two conductors separately insulated and a conductor for ground. Thus, a total of three conductors exist. A Three-wire NM-sheathed conductor has three conductors that are separately insulated with a third conductor for ground.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Two wires NM-sheathed cable Residential electrical wiring Rs.4000
Three wires NM-sheathed cables Residential electrical wiring with three-phase connection

3. Metallic-sheathed Cable:

Metallic-sheathed Cable

A metallic sheathed cable is a type of cable with metallic protection over the plastic insulated conductors. These cables are of two types: armored cables and metal-clad cables.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Armored cables (AC) Supply mains electricity or large appliances in dry locations Rs. 58000
Metal-clad cables (MC) Supply mains electricity or large appliances in wet or underground locations

4. Multi-conductor or Multicore Cable:

Multi-conductor or Multicore Cable

Amongst the different types of cables, the multicore cable is the type that has more than one number of conductors with insulated protection rolled into one jacketed cable. It avoids messy connections by having one compact cable instead of ten or twenty separate wires. Using a multicore cable is a time saver as all the wires can be connected at the same time.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Shielded multicore Sending and receiving audio and video signals, TV studios, CCU Rs. 100 – Rs. 2000
Unshielded multicore

5. Paired Cable:

Paired Cable

Paired cables are a pair of two insulated conductors encased in an insulation sheath.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Twisted pair cable DC applications, low-frequency AC applications. Rs.100 – Rs. 1500
Bonded pair cable

6. Portable Or Extension Cord:

Portable Or Extension Cord

It is an electrical cable that is flexible having connectors on both ends that provide a temporary AC power supply. It is usually used as an extension of the power source to portable appliances.

Uses Cost (approx.)
Helps in connecting portable devices from a power supply located at a distance. Rs.200 – Rs.3000

7. Ribbon Cable:

Ribbon Cable

Ribbon cables are unique cables amongst the different types of cable, shaped like a ribbon. It’s made of multiple small grades of insulated wires placed parallel to each other in a flat shape.

Uses Cost (approx.)
Connects the internal peripherals in computers or electronic devices Rs.60 – Rs.5000

8. Shielded or Screened Cable:

Shielded or Screened Cable

In screened cables, the conductors are encased in a metallic layer known as a shield. The shield is made from copper, braided aluminum, or any other metal. It could also be a solid layer, a foil, or a spiral tape made from the above-mentioned conducting metals.

Uses Cost (approx.)
data can be transferred without degradation by EMI exposure Rs.30 – Rs.200

9. Single Conductor Wire:

Single Conductor Wire

Amongst the different types of cables, single-conductor wire is yet another type. It is made of a single insulated conductor. They are available in multiple colors so as to identify phases and earth lines. The single-stranded wire and the single-solid wire are two subtypes.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Single Stranded Wire applications where wires are required to be twisted or bent. Rs.60 – Rs.4000
Single Solid Wire applications where there is no movement or bending of wires. Rs.250

10. Submersible Cable:

Submersible Cable

Submersible cables are useful under submerged conditions, as the name suggests. Its insulation is abrasion-resilient, very rugged, and highly durable. Submersible cables have two different types as mentioned below.

Types Uses Cost (approx.)
Single-core flat supplies power for drilling purposes, to submersible motors and pumps, in agriculture industries, or underground mining Rs.2000
round
Multiple cores flat
round

11. Twin-lead:

Twin-lead

Twin lead cables have two conductors held apart and placed uniformly by a plastic layer in between them. Signal distortion is due to unequal speaking so equal spacing of the two conductors is very important.

Uses Cost (approx.)
Used in applications where low power loss is important, carries RF signals Rs.1000

12. Ladder Line:

Ladder Line

Ladder line cables are important in wet conditions as sometimes wetness seeps inside the plastic covering the conductors. This will cause interference in the signal. To avoid such interference, slots like a window are cut into the plastic layer. The wire thus resulting will resemble a ladder-like structure. Hence, the name ladder line has been coined. The Cost and use of ladder line cable are as given below.

Uses Cost (approx.)
transmitter or receiver with RF antennas in TV and Radios etc. Rs.20

13. Underground Feeder (UF) Cable:

Underground Feeder (UF) Cable

UF cables have conductors that are surrounded by an individual layer of thermoplastic. It provides flexibility and additional protection. The uses and cost of UF cable are as given below.

Uses Cost (approx.)
supplies power to a lamp post or street light, used in damp locations Rs.50 – Rs.300

14. Flexible Cables:

Flexible Cables

Flexible cables are yet another one amongst the different types of cables. It can withstand continuous bending in moving appliances. The flexibility is obtained by the usage of stranded conductors. Its uses and cost are as given below.

Uses Cost (approx.)
Used in CNC-based machines like milling machines, engraving, etc., pick and place machines Rs.50 – Rs.6000

Note:

The different types of cables also include power transmission cables seen in overhead transmission lines. There are 4 types as is mentioned below.

1. All Aluminum Conductor (AAC):

AAC is made from various strands of hard-drawn aluminum alloy. This alloy is 99 % pure with little iron, silicon, etc. It is highly conductive and resistant to corrosion.

Uses:

Short-distance communication in stations

2. All Aluminum Alloy Conductor (AAAC):

The mechanical strength of the AAC cable is low so to increase it, an aluminum alloy is made with silicium and magnesium. It has an increased ratio of strength to weight while maintaining corrosion resistivity.

3. Aluminum Conductor Steel-Reinforced (ACSR) Cable:

ACSR is an improvement to AAAC’s lack of conductivity. There are inner strands made from galvanized steel which are surrounded by strands of pure aluminum conductors. The steel core increases the tensile strength of the cable while the aluminum provides good conductivity.

Uses:

They are used in long-distance transmission lines as the strength of their steel core can be altered to meet the requirement.

4. Aluminum Conductor Aluminum-alloy Reinforced (ACAR):

ACAR is basically pure aluminum conductors that surround an aluminum core. The structure of ACAR is similar to ACSR with the exception that its core is made of aluminum alloy. It increases the overall conductivity (otherwise called ampacity) while maintaining the same tensile strength of ACSR.

Concluding Thoughts:

At the end of this article, you must have come across varieties of different types of cables which are used in both the telecom sector and all households. Identifying which cable goes wire is a bemusing task. This article will help you to not all identify such perplexing cables but also their cost, applications, and structure. The types of cables that exist both in the layman’s world and in the telecommunication sector have been briefed above.

Types of Cables FAQs

1. How many types of cables are there?

There are more than 20 different types of cables present including the ones used in the telecom field and households. Cables are used to transmit data signals or electrical signals depending upon their use.

2. What are cable connectors?

In a basic cabling installation, there will be three types of cable connectors. They are coaxial cable connectors, twisted-pair connectors, and fiber-optic connectors. Cable connectors are used to connect the cable to the appliance through a connector.

3. What are the different types of cables?

There are 14 types of cables used for wiring including residential and industrial. They are as named below.
1. Communication cable
2. Non-metallic sheathed cable (NM-sheathed cable)
3. Metallic-sheathed cable
4. Multi-conductor or multicore cable
5. Paired cable
6. Portable or Extension cord
7. Ribbon cable
8. Shielded or Screened Cable
9. Single Conductor Wire
10. Submersible Cable
11. Twin-lead
12. Ladder Line
13. Underground Feeder (UF) Cable
14. Flexible Cables
Wiring in overhead feeder lines required for power transmission includes four types of cabling, namely,
  • All Aluminum Conductor (AAC)
  • All Aluminum Alloy Conductor (AAAC)
  • Aluminum Conductor Steel-Reinforced (ACSR) Cable
  • Aluminum Conductor Aluminum-alloy Reinforced (ACAR)]
  • 4. What is type C cable?

    A type C cable is a USB connector whose pin can be inserted both ways and helps in quick charging of devices including, MacBook Pro, Nintendo switch, etc.

    5. What is type B cable?

    Type B cable is a typical type of USB cable that connects different peripherals like a hard drive, printer, or smartphone.

    6. What is a type A cable?

    A type of cable is the most encountered cable in your house. It's used to connect devices to computers or keyboards, smartphones, and cameras. It's mostly used to charge appliances.

    7. What are the different components of a cable?

    A cable constitutes the following three components: A conductor, an insulator, and a sheath to cover them both. The conductor transmits electricity while the insulator prevents unintended current flow by keeping the conductors apart from each other. A sheath protects the entire wiring from the external atmosphere.

    8. What is the most commonly used network cabling?

    Commonly used network cabling are the ethernet crossover, fiber optic, twisted pair, and coaxial. In an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) each pair of wires is twisted together to prevent interference. The thick coating of the coaxial cable provides extra protection. An Ethernet crossover cable is used to connect two or more computers in a computer network. Fiber optic cable transmits data in the form of light rather than electrical signals and enables high data transmission.

    9. What are the advantages of cables or cabling?

    Network cabling has varied advantages like wide bandwidth, faster speed, long-distance coverage, compact thinness, high reliability, comparatively low cost, and more flexibility amongst others.

    10. Why are fiber optic cables important?

    A fiber optic cable is important as it transmits data in the form of light,i.e., at the speed of light which makes it the fastest data transmitting cable ever made. it's one end is connected to a laser or an LED and the other end is connected to an appliance that is able to recognize the transmitted light.
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