What Is the Meaning of a UTP Cable?

Written by amy kay
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What Is the Meaning of a UTP Cable?
UTP cable is typically connected using an RJ-45 jack. (few network connectors image by Sergey Minaev from Fotolia.com)

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) is a cable type commonly found in computer networks and telephone systems. Most UTP cables contain eight wires twisted together into four pairs and terminated by a connector called an RJ-45 jack.


UTP cable is cost-effective and easy to obtain. Since the cables are thin and flexible, they can be installed in tight spaces. Although UTP cable transmission speeds were once sluggish, more recent implementations of Category 6 UTP support transfer rates up to 10,000 megabits per second (Mpbs).


UTP cable runs cannot exceed a maximum combined length of 100 meters from end to end. Although the cable has an insulated coating, it does not contain any shielding against outside electromagnetic interference. Because UTP is unshielded, it cannot be installed over light fixtures or near some types of electronic equipment.


The wires in UTP cables are twisted to reduce signal noise and crosstalk. Cable types are then categorised by the number of wire twists per foot. The higher the category number, the more twists per foot and the better the signal quality. Although the Electronic Industry Association and the Telecommunication Industry Association (EIA/TIA) has defined a total of six categories of UTP as of 2010, Categories 3 and 5 are most frequently used.

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