|Specification||Cable type||Maximum length|
|10BaseT||Unshielded twisted pair||100 meters|
|10Base2||Thin coaxial||185 meters|
|10Base5||Thick coaxial||500 meters|
|10BaseF||Fiber optic||2000 meters|
|100BaseT||Unshielded twisted pair||100 meters|
|100BaseTX||Unshielded twisted pair||220 meters|
For untwisted pair cable (UTP), crosstalk can certainly cause severe issues as well as attenuation. Crosstalk occurs when the insulation and/or barriers between two signals degrades causing interference in the signals of both pairs of cables. Crosstalk tends to occur when the same cables are used for multiple connections, which are regarded as shortcuts by the standards bodies. In Category 5e and 6 cables, there are typically four pairs of wires for the termination. For some connections, I have seen that only two pairs are used for a single data connection and the other two pairs are used for a separate data connection, which does encounter problems. When signals are traveling across these wires, the crosstalk happens when the signal encounters another signal on a separate wire with additional noise. If a cable is properly installed, crosstalk and abnormal attenuation would not occur.
With proper cabling practices and attention to detail, higher transmission frequencies should not encounter a problem. Only poor cabling and installation would cause the network to behave improperly when higher transmit rates are required.
This was first published in April 2006