Twisted pair cables are a type of wiring that features two conductors on a single circuit, twisted together. When a wire is carrying its current, it naturally creates an electromagnetic fields around that wire, therefore interfering with nearby cables. To reduce and eliminate this effect, twisted pairs carry signals in the opposite directions, so the two magnetic fields will occur at the opposite ends, essentially cancelling each other out. This is commonly known as cancellation.
Why use a twisted pair cable?
Generally, over a typical coaxial cable, twisted pairs are usually more accommodating in terms of flexibility and being able to bend them without significant loss in signal. The thickness of a coaxial cable can also attribute to the cost to produce, therefore the twisted offers a cheaper alternative whilst maintaining a high quality.
The twisted cable usually comes in two basic types, either shielded (STP) or unshielded (UTP), depending on where you were using the cable would determine the usage.
Some common industry acronyms you might see are:
U = unshielded
F = foil shielding
TP = twisted pair
S = braided shielding
Different levels of shielding will determine the effectiveness of the cable, each offering its own benefits.
Applications of twisted pairs
Twisted pairs are commonly used in telephone and data networks as they are reliable in exchanging high volumes of data at fast speeds all whilst remaining consistent at negating the crosstalk between the pairs and defending against any other external interference. Some twisted pair cables feature great resistance to fire and are sometimes halogen free, making them ideal for public buildings like schools, offices or hospitals.