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The Science Behind the Internet: Network Connections and Cables

silhouette of crowd

There’s an entire series of processes and networks before an internet connection becomes available to your device. It’s quite a complicated procedure, but perhaps having a basic understanding of networking and cables will make it easier to understand.

Types of Network Connections

They may all be able to do the same thing of connecting you to the internet, but network connections actually differ from one another. We all have our personal experiences on connectivity, and that experience is significantly affected by the type of network connection we have.

Broadband

If you have ever experienced a dial-up connection, broadband is the upgraded version of that. The availability of the internet is based on a fixed location, provided, of course, that you are connected to the broadband network. Broadband is one of the fastest types of connection and can either be wired or wireless. This is the most common type of internet connection for businesses because it provides both the benefits of speed and wireless technology, which are essential in running business operations.

Mobile Internet

Mobile internet is only available for wireless connections. Your network provider has towers scattered in your area, and that’s where you get connected to the internet from. The speed of this type of connection depends on the protocols of the network provider.

Dial-up

This type of connection is the ancestor of broadband. It’s one of the oldest types of connections, and it got its name from the process of how you get connected. The use of telephones is necessary and calls a certain number through dialling.

This type of connection is also one of the slowest ones, with speeds reaching around 50Kbps only. That’s significantly less than a quarter of your regular network speed.

Local Area Network (LAN)

On the other hand, a local area network or LAN is a connection for those who wish to access the same server without needing to go to the internet. A LAN connection is only possible for computers or devices in proximity; hence, the term local area. It’s also quite difficult to establish a LAN connection if the devices used differ from each other.

What is a Network Cable?

Network switch and ethernet cables

For any of these connections to happen, you’re going to need a network cable, one way or another. Even if you’re only using mobile internet, your network service provider needs network cables to ensure that you get connected.

A network cable is a coated wire that connects a computer, switch, router, or storage network to one another. Think of a network cable as an expressway where data and information can easily pass through to get to their destination, such as a computer or router, faster.

Major Types of Network Cables

As you may have already inferred from what we told you about network cables, it’s not possible to assume that just because you have a network cable means that you can easily connect to any router or storage network.

A network cable is like a key, or a poorly-made key, for that matter, since there are only four types. You will need the specific, correct type to plug it in and establish a connection.

Coaxial

The first type we’re going to talk about is called a coaxial cable. The outer layer of a coaxial cable is a fire-resistant material, usually PVC, to prevent damage caused by external heat.

Underneath the cover is a braided metal that protects the connection from outer electromagnetic interference such as light or motor running on other computers. The next layer is an insulator that keeps the cable from overheating, and lastly, the core is a conductor made out of copper where the data passes through.

Twisted Pair

This cable can either be shielded or unshielded. The copper core of this type of network cable is twisted, which means the data or information being transferred does not coincide with one another, making the process smoother and faster. There are four pairs inside this cable that are colour-coded.

The main difference between the two types of twisted pair cables is that a shielded one has more protection from interference and overheating, while its unshielded counterpart has lesser.

Fibre Optic

If you haven’t noticed, this type of network cable has the word “optic” in its name. If you’re unfamiliar, this is usually used to refer to a lens. That’s because fibre-optic network cables use a form of glass at the core instead of copper, and instead of sending electronic signals, they send data through the form of light. Because of this, there is lesser or no interference from light or motors.

It almost looks like magic whenever you use the internet to communicate with other people from anywhere in the world or to gather information and watch videos from various websites. While the process may seem complicated, the science behind it is quite basic. You need to understand the various types of network connections and cables.

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