shielded twisted pair

This definition closely duplicates the definition for twisted pair.

(This definition closely duplicates the definition for twisted pair.)

Shielded twisted pair is a special kind of copper telephone wiring used in some business installations. An outer covering or shield is added to the ordinary twisted pair telephone wires; the shield functions as a ground.

Twisted pair is the ordinary copper wire that connects home and many business computers to the telephone company. To reduce crosstalk or electromagnetic induction between pairs of wires, two insulated copper wires are twisted around each other. Each signal on twisted pair requires both wires. Since some telephone sets or desktop locations require multiple connections, twisted pair is sometimes installed in two or more pairs, all within a single cable. Shielded twisted pair is often used in business installations. The more common kind of wire that is installed to your home is unshielded twisted pair.

Twisted pair is now frequently installed with two pairs to the home, with the extra pair making it possible for you to add another line (perhaps for modem use) when you need it.

Twisted pair comes with each pair uniquely color-coded when it is packaged in multiple pairs. Different uses such as analog, digital, and Ethernet require different pair multiples.

Although twisted pair is often associated with home use, a higher grade of twisted pair is often used for horizontal wiring in LAN installations because it is less expensive than coaxial cable.

The wire you buy at a local hardware store for extensions from your phone or computer modem to a wall jack is not twisted pair. It is a side-by-side wire known as silver satin. The wall jack can have as many five kinds of hole arrangements or pinouts, depending on the kinds of wire the installation expects will be plugged in (for example, digital, analog, or LAN) . (That's why you may sometimes find when you carry your notebook computer to another location that the wall jack connections won't match your plug.)

This was first published in September 2005

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