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Benefits of Shielded Cabling Versus Unshielded Cabling (STP vs UTP)

Electromagnetic Interference, or EMI, can cause a noisy signal. EMI is caused by other electronic devices. In a manufacturing facility or on a government campus you might have a great deal of EMI. This means that you may have degraded data transfer or no data transfer. This problem can be fixed by using Shielded Twisted-Pair Cabling (STP). STP cabling protects your Ethernet cables from EMI by covering them in a foil ‘shield’.

STP cabling can also “virtually eliminate external signal detection and interception.” This can be key for government networks and/or networks that require additional security. This is outlined by the BerkTek Whitepaper: Cabling for Secure Government Networks. (ICG is a BerkTek certified installer)

When selecting your cable prior to installation, keep in mind the requirements related to EMI shielding that will be needed for your project. When a project does not have significant EMI, you can use Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) Cabling in its place as it is a lower cost point. STP is more expensive for multiple reasons. Material costs will be higher. The shielding makes the cabling more expensive. Additionally, the connectors and the patch panel must also be compatible with shielded cabling making them more expensive. Lastly, terminating STP cabling is more time consuming than terminating UTP cabling due to the extra steps in the process. Add in the bonding and grounding requirements and your labor time will likely increase as well.

When your project is completed, you can test for data loss via a network cabling tester. Make sure to ask for certified test results from your installer that show all your cables pass the required tests to be considered functional.

Kathi BleaseBenefits of Shielded Cabling Versus Unshielded Cabling (STP vs UTP)