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Are you looking for an Ethernet cable for your home or office setup? Do you want the best quality internet for your space and are confused about which shape you should go for?
As you already know, ethernet cables come in two shapes, i.e., round and flat. Both these shapes have their own perks and drawbacks, so to pick the one that suits your needs the best, you first have to explore the characteristics of both these shapes in detail.
For instance, flat ethernet cables are easier to move around, and you can conveniently lay them on the ground for a firm grip. Round cables, on the contrary, are more durable and insulated, keeping the internet speed smooth.
We have compiled a comprehensive guide for you containing an overview of both round and flat ethernet cables, their differences, and a final overview of which one you should pick based on your needs.
In-Depth Review of Flat Ethernet Cables
To make a choice easier for you, we will provide you with an overview of both these shapes one by one. Let’s start with flat ethernet cables.
Flat cables are gaining a lot of popularity recently. Most users prefer using flat cables for their residences, and many workplaces also rely on them. Not only users on an individual level but some significant corporate sectors are also reclining towards flat cables lately.
But before making a final choice, everyone wants to explore these cables’ different features in detail. We will begin this overview by defining flat ethernet cables and then will take you through all the features this shape holds.
What is a flat ethernet cable?
Flat Ethernet cables are copper wires in flat shape with twisted wires placed side by side together. When flat cables first hit the market, their raw material was coaxial cables.
Over time, the manufacturers encountered numerous flaws with the coaxial cables, so they decided to change the design and switched to copper cable design, which we still see in these cables.
Due to the flat shape of these cables, they are incredibly convenient to use. You can easily lay them down on flat surfaces such as carpets, walls, and ground without much hindrance.
Thanks to the portability you get with flat cables, you can easily use them instead of conventional lines.
For instance, these cables can easily be plugged into routers, modems, network bindings, faxes, and PCs.
It won’t be a task for you to bend a flat ethernet cable as long as the diameter of the bent is not over an inch. Though these cables are pretty flexible and work well for more extensive lengths, bending them too much can cause them damage.
Flat cables are well made and pass all the ISO/IEC and TIA standards. You won’t have to face any signal shortages because these cables offer a greater electrical quality of conductors.
As the conductors in these cables remain head to head with each other, there won’t be any deviations in the quality of the internet you are getting.
Power over Ethernet is a prevailing technology for transferring power to a device through ethernet cables. When using PoE, there is no need for a separate connection or cable except the Ethernet cable.
With flat ethernet cables, you get compatibility with PoE, which makes the data transfer process much more hassle-free.
Despite all the exceptional features offered by flat ethernet cables, they come at affordable prices. This is incredibly convenient when you need to get cables for larger spaces.
In-Depth Review of Round Ethernet Cables
Now that you have looked at some exciting features offered by flat cables, it’s fair to explore all the different characteristics of round ethernet cables before making a choice.
What is a round ethernet cable?
As the name suggests, a round ethernet cable is a round-shaped insulated cable filled with multiple layers of filler substances to sustain their actual shape. Like other ethernet cables, these cables are filled with solid copper conductors.
The filler layers in the cable reduce the heating effect produced by friction. Here is what a round ethernet cable has in stock for you:
As mentioned earlier, round ethernet cables have layers of filler substances filled inside them. These filler materials not only help maintain the round shape of the cable but also prevent any heat production as a result of fiction.
In addition, the filler layers protect the cable from external factors that might damage it. This eventually adds to the overall durability provided by round ethernet cables.
With round cables, you don’t have to worry about the wearing and tearing of the cable over time. Unlike other shapes, round cables do not require much upkeep and can last long, even if exposed to rough patches.
Being round in shape, these cables can easily be bent even when the bending diameter is more extensive than an inch. You don’t have to worry about carrying them too far off places at your home or office space where numerous hinges and turns come along the way,
Many filler layers inside the round ethernet cables provide insulation for any heat produced by the internal wires. This way, the chances of short circuits or breakage are significantly reduced.
Differences between Flat and Round Ethernet Cables: Flat vs. Round
At this point, you might have a soft spot in your mind for one of these two shapes. To make a choice even easier for you and help you get rid of all the confusion you might have in mind, let us take you through a comparison between both round and flat ethernet cables. Hopefully, by the end of this comparison, you will be able to pick the right shape for yourself.
As far as insulation is concerned, round cables are highly insulated compared to flat ethernet cables. If you don’t already know, insulation is a layer that keeps the conductors from one another.
Round cables not only have multiple filler layers in them but there is thick insulation around the wires to keep them safe from any damage. This insulation, however, is missing in flat ethernet cables.
But one thing that might concern you regarding round cables is that they release some heat, too, due to the presence of insulation around them. This, though, is fine with flat cables.
Regarding ethernet cables, their installation is generally the biggest concern of users. The round and flat ethernet cables are convenient and user-friendly, as you won’t have to struggle too much with their installation.
Flat Ethernet cables tend to stick permanently to walls and lie down quite quickly on flat surfaces. Being flat in shape, they easily fit under carpets and rugs without creating uneven dumps.
On the contrary, round cables offer much more flexibility than flat cables, which is why you can drag them to far-off places conveniently without caring much about the hinges and ups and downs coming your way.
Flat cables cannot be bent beyond an inch, making it hard for you to move them around in the home or office space. With round cables, however, you can bend them as much as needed without causing them any damage.
Round cables come with multiple layers of filler materials, making them robust and durable. These filler layers increase the space within the cross-sectional area of the wires. Thanks to this, the cables can easily pass through the holes in machines, making connections more secure.
As for flat ethernet cables, they don’t come with any protective fillers inside them. Due to this, they are more exposed to wear and tear or breakage and won’t last you that long.
Being flat in shape, flat ethernet cables tend to break easily because of a slight bent. This eventually leads to a lot of data loss, which is highly unlikely for protected round lines and prone to data distortion.
If you want to use the internet freely in all corners of your working space or home, you will need a lot of ethernet cables. Carrying that much cable and moving it around can be troublesome for you if you go for round wires, as it generally weighs too much.
In such cases, it’s best to go for flat ethernet cables as they are relatively less in weight and won’t be a hassle for you to move around and install. You don’t need a helping hand to move it around your place.
Flat cables are primarily used when you are aiming for permanent installation. Because of this, these cables need more maintenance, and you ought to be careful about numerous things when installing these cables at your place.
As far as round cables are concerned, they are known for their low maintenance and are equipped with insulation, and robust protective layers keep them protected from damage.
Round ethernet cables are complex, as evident from their construction explained above. A large number of components work together to form a round ethernet cable. This means more raw material, which makes these cables a little expensive.
On the contrary, the construction of flat cables is much simpler, and their volume is significantly less. This is why you don’t have to spend the same money on equal lengths of flat and round cables, with the former being much more budget-friendly.
Both flat and round ethernet cables greatly vary in their application. For instance, flat cables are preferred in places with less space, such as studio apartments, cabins, etc., as they are less in volume and don’t take up too much space.
However, in larger buildings, outdoor networks, and big corporate offices, round cables cannot be replaced by any other cable shape because of their durability and robustness.
Flat cables come in less extensive lengths; the maximum length you can find for a flat cable in the market is around 30 meters. This is probably why they are not used in spaces where you need to cover a bigger area.
On the other side, round ethernet cables come in multiple length variants. They can be as short as up to 2 meters and as long as 100 meters.
Here is a table for you comparing different features of round and flat ethernet cables:
|Features||Flat Ethernet Cable||Round Ethernet Cable|
|Durability||Not so durable||Highly durable|
|Weight||Less in weight||High weight|
|Length||30m is the max length||100m is the max length|
|Bending||Not over 1 inch||Can bend upto several inches|
Last Words- Flat vs. Round Ethernet Cable: Which One Should You Pick?
Now that you have looked at all the different features of both flat and round ethernet cables, you have enough information to decide on the shape you need to go for.
Regarding the choice of ethernet cables, one thing you need to be mindful of is that whether you go for a round one or a flat one is greatly influenced by the application of the cable.
For example, if you want an ethernet cable installed in a large building where the line has to cover long distances, and you might have to pass it through numerous apertures, it’s best to go for a round shape.
But if you are on a tight budget and don’t want to spend too much money on your cable and the durability of the wire isn’t the first thing you are concerned about, nothing can be better suited for you than a flat ethernet cable.
In short, keep the pros and cons of both shapes in mind, and you will hopefully be able to pick the right one for yourself. Now that you have compared both these cables, the decision shouldn’t be too hard for you.