What is Hybrid Cable?
A hybrid cable is an electrical cable that combines two or more conductor types, such as copper and fiber optics, into a single cable. It is intended to provide a single connection for both analog and digital signals. The hybrid cable is commonly used in data and audio/video applications such as home theatres, surveillance systems, and computer networks. Hybrid cables offer increased bandwidth, better signal quality, and longer durability.
As future-proof WLAN technologies such as Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 7 gain traction, conventional twisted pairs are unable to meet their bandwidth requirements. Furthermore, optical fibers are not suitable for PoE power supply. This is where a hybrid cable comes into play.
To ensure the smooth operation of network services, cables between devices must perform two functions: power supply to devices and data transmission between devices. However, some network devices, such as WLAN APs, 5G base stations, and video surveillance cameras, must be installed in complex environments where proper receptacles are difficult to find.
To overcome this, a single cable that can serve as both a power supply and a data transmission medium becomes essential.
Based on their transmission media, communication cables are typically classified as optical cables or copper cables. To elaborate, optical fibers are most used to transmit light based on total internal reflection, and they have benefits such as high bandwidth, low loss, and long transmission distance. However, because they are made of glass fibers, which cannot conduct electricity, they cannot be used for PoE power supply. Copper cables are made up of copper wires that send data via electromagnetic waves.
Copper cables, as a good conductor of electricity and heat, can transmit both data and electrical signals, but will heat up quickly in the process. This can result in significant transmission loss, so copper cables are not suitable for long-distance transmission. To avoid this, network-integrated cabling regulations state that the total length of twisted pairs should not exceed 100 m. Faced with this challenge, we must create a cable that can serve as a medium for PoE power supply while not impeding long-term bandwidth evolution. This is where a hybrid cable comes into play.
Types of Hybrid Cables
A hybrid cable is made up of two or more types of wires or cables. The following are examples of hybrid cables:
- Coaxial/Twisted Pair Cable: A coaxial/twisted pair cable that combines coaxial and twisted pair cables to provide high-speed data transmission
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) Cable: Provides power and data to connected devices via twisted pair wiring.
- Fiber Optic/Coaxial Cable: This cable combines fiber optic and coaxial cables for high-speed data transmission over long distances.
- Fiber Optic/Twisted Pair Cable: Combines fiber optics and twisted pair cables for long-distance high-speed data transmission.
Coaxial/Twisted Pair Cable
The two types of cables used in network connections are coaxial cable and twisted pair cable. Coaxial cable has a single copper conductor in the center that is surrounded by insulation and a shield, whereas twisted pair cable has two insulated copper wires that are twisted around each other.
Coaxial cable is typically used over longer distances and in applications requiring high bandwidth and low interference. Coaxial cable’s single conductor and shielding help to reduce the amount of noise and interference that can be transmitted and received. This makes it ideal for applications like cable television and satellite connections.
Twisted pair cable is typically used for shorter distances and more flexible applications. Twisting together two insulated copper wires reduces the amount of interference that can be transmitted and received. As a result, it’s ideal for applications like Ethernet networks and phone lines. The twisted pair also facilitates routing through walls and other tight spaces.
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a networking technology that allows network cables to carry both data and power. It powers compatible devices using existing Ethernet cables, eliminating the need for an additional power source. PoE works by sending electrical power over unused wires in Ethernet cables while allowing data to be transmitted over the same wires. This enables the installation of IP-enabled devices such as VoIP phones, cameras, and wireless access points in locations without a power source.
The advantages of PoE are numerous. It lowers installation costs by requiring only one type of cable for both data transmission and power delivery. It also improves device reliability because loose or faulty connections do not affect power. Because there is no need to rewire the area, PoE makes it easier to move or replace devices. Finally, because power is only delivered when a device is connected, PoE helps to reduce energy costs.
Fiber Optic/Coaxial Cable
Fiber optic cable and coaxial cable are two types of data transmission cables. Coaxial cables use electromagnetic signals over metal wires, whereas fiber optic cables use light to transmit data along a glass or plastic strand.
Fiber optic cables are rapid and less susceptible to interference, which makes them ideal for long-distance data transmission. They also are more secure because they are almost impossible to hack into. Coaxial cables are less expensive and can be used for shorter distances, but they are more prone to interference and are less secure.
The advantages of fiber optic and coaxial cables differ depending on the application. Fiber optic cables provide fast, secure, and dependable connections, whereas coaxial cables are a less expensive option for short runs and lower bandwidth applications.
Fiber Optic/Twisted Pair Cable
Optical fiber and twisted pair cables are two types of data transmission cables. Optical fiber is a glass or plastic cable that uses light to transmit data signals over long distances. It is primarily employed in telecommunications, cable television, and the internet. Light signals travel at the speed of light through optical fibers, which is much faster than traditional copper cables. Optical fiber has the added benefit of being lightweight and simple to install. It also has significantly more bandwidth than twisted pair cables, allowing it to simultaneously transmit more data.
Twisted pair cables are made up of two twisted-together insulated copper wires. This reduces interference from other cables as well as from external sources such as radio waves. Twisted pair cables are commonly found in telephone, Ethernet, and computer networks. They are reasonably priced and simple to install. They can, however, only transmit a limited amount of data at once due to their limited bandwidth.
A hybrid cable is an excellent choice for delivering content to multiple devices. It combines the benefits of coaxial and fiber-optic cables to send data over long distances quickly and securely. It also has more bandwidth, which allows for more devices to be connected and faster transmission speeds. Hybrid cable is an excellent choice for both businesses and consumers due to its flexibility, dependability, and affordability.