An Ethernet cable enables reliable data transmission when connecting devices in Ethernet networks. Depending on the application area, this involves several kilometres of cable length, which are exposed to the most adverse conditions. In the LAPP portfolio, you will find various Ethernet cables variants that cover almost all application areas in the industrial environment.
What is an Ethernet cable?
In short: An Ethernet cable, also known as an Ethernet cable, is a cable for wired networks in accordance with the Ethernet standard. However, since this is not everything, we give you a few more details: the Ethernet standard is a data transmission technology for transmitting data packages in local home and office networks or as Industrial Ethernet (IE), extended to include special protocols, including industrial networks.
Industrial Ethernet cables in particular are more robust versions of the classic Ethernet or LAN cables, which can be found in an office environment, for example. They are mechanically and chemically tested, can be used in various areas of application and are durable.
An Ethernet cable assembled with an Ethernet connector is used to create and disconnect connections in Ethernet networks. Thanks to their special design, Ethernet cables offer you the highest range, speed and stability in copper-based data transmission.
In common terms, the Ethernet cable is often referred to as an Ethernet cable, Ethernet patch cable, LAN cable or even network cable. The latter designations are usually given in combination with assembled cables and patch cables.
We have compiled important facts for you to ensure that you always find the right cable for your application.
How is an Ethernet
Depending on the application, the structure of an Ethernet cable varies in terms of the number of core pairs, the cable cross-section, the sheath materials and a few other features.
The basic structure of all these Ethernet cables, apart from the number of pairs of wires, is however similar for all Ethernet cables. Below, we have outlined two common structures as an example.
FC inner sheath, if necessary
Aluminium-laminated plastic foil
FC inner sheath, if necessary
Some of these properties, such as the FC inner sheath or aluminium-laminated plastic foil, are optional and are not available for every ETHERNET cable depending on the requirements.
What types of stranding are used for ethernet cables?
Data cables often need to be , Flexible and elastic while also providing protection against Electromagnetic interference . To guarantee these properties, cables are stranded in cable production.
Four or eight-core cables are usually used for data transmission in ethernet networks. To meet the requirements in this area of application, the twisted pair stranding and the star quad stranding are often used.
What is a twisted pair stranding?
With the twisted pair stranding, 2 cores are twisted together into a pair. The resulting pairs of wires are then twisted together. The twisting minimises mutual influence of the signals in the pairs of wires, but at the expense of larger cable diameters.
What is a star quad stranding? [Strong]
A special variant of stranding is the star quad, also known as a twisted star quad. Here four cores are twisted together in a cross-shaped way so that the opposite cores each form a pair of wires. The symmetrical position of the cores to one another remains the same across the entire length of the cable.The biggest advantage of the star quad compared to twisted pair stranding is the lower cable diameter. Furthermore, attenuation is better thanks to the lower operating capacitance.
What are the
requirements for Ethernet cables in the office and industrial sector?
An Ethernet cable should primarily be able to transmit data quickly and reliably. Particularly in industrial environments, it should simultaneously remain resistant to disturbances and external interference and provide the data in real time.
The requirements differ between Ethernet cables for home or office wiring and those you need for a reliable Industrial Ethernet network.
Overview of the main network differences:
Home and office Ethernet
Fixed building Installation
Individual, plant-dependent networking
Flexible connection options
Robust design of the Ethernet cable
Mostly constructed as star topology
Mostly redundant ring topologies
In home and office networks, pre-assembled Ethernet cables are usually better suited to the flexible connection options and the frequent "switching" of a network cable. In the industrial Ethernet network, however, harsh environments, lack of space and individual cable length requirements require Ethernet cables to be individually assembled directly on site. This enables them to be optimally adapted to the environmental conditions.
What do you need to
note when selecting an Ethernet cable?
The quality and reliability of your data transmission in the network largely depend on the selection of the right Ethernet cable. You should therefore select the right Ethernet cable well before starting the wiring of all components in your network. The following should be noted when selecting:
Required conductor class
Expected area of application
Required cable length
protocols are available for Industrial Ethernet?
Special protocols such as PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT or CC-Link IE are used in the industrial sector. These protocols extend the classic Ethernet to cover the high requirements in factories or production facilities in particular. Important advantages include:
Similar to Fieldbus systems, industrial Ethernet can detect and process faults in factory environments better.
Industrial Ethernet better meets the requirements of factories and is therefore particularly suitable for use in harsh environments.
Industrial Ethernet offers faster and better reaction times within factories in the event of data collisions.
Depending on the sector or application, LAPP offers the right solution with its ETHERLINE® Industrial Ethernet portfolio for goods sold by the metre. Different protocols such as PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT or CC-Link IE are supported by our ETHERLINE® Ethernet cables.
To ensure that you can also use the perfect Ethernet cable for your application, we offer you the following standards, among other things:
Find out more about where Ethernet cables are used.
classes are there?
Depending on the transmission rate, copper-based Ethernet cables use 2 or 4 pairs of wires. They are divided into so-called performance classes (“CAT”, by Category), in accordance with DIN EN 50173 and ISO/IEC 11801 standards.
A typical distinction is made between Cat. 5/Cat. 5e, Cat. 6/Cat.6A and Cat.7/Cat.7A, whose transmission performance ranges from 10/100 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s.
These Ethernet cables are used to transmit analogue and digital signals in a frequency range of up to 1000 MHz (depending on connector compatibility) and, similar to their performance class, are protected against electromagnetic interference in various ways.
class should be selected for Ethernet cables?
Particularly in the industrial sector, where Ethernet cables are not only wiring the building infrastructure, but also in linear moving applications, industrial robots, control cabinets, laid on cable trays and used in drag chains, you should pay attention to choosing a suitable conductor class.
The conductor classes are divided into three main categories, which are attached to the conductor cross-section in the short designations /1, /7 or /19 (e.g. AWG24/1). This short designation can be attributed to the number of individual conductors in the cable. In our overview, we have shown you the conductor classes:
At this point, we would like to highlight the PROFINET system in particular. In addition to the transmission protocol, PROFINET also specifies internationally the type specification for cabling within and between production islands. The system thus provides a solution for all industrial communication systems. In addition to copper-based transmission media, the standard also standardises optical connection systems.
The type specification according to the PROFINET guideline defines three Ethernet cable types, on the basis of which the structure and the mechanical and electrical requirements are precisely defined.
Number of pairs/cable type
For fixed installation
For flexible installation
For special applications
materials are available for Ethernet cables?
Depending on the use or application, you will require a suitable cable with suitable core insulation and sheath materials. Four typical sheath materials for Ethernet cables are:
Each sheath material has special properties, such as low smoke gas emission, which is particularly advantageous in the event of fires in buildings, when people have to be evacuated from buildings. Oil-resistant sheath materials are, on the other hand, very well suited for use in production lines with high contact with cooling and lubricating oils. The materials used for a LAPP ETHERLINE® cable can be found in the product descriptions in our e-shop.
You can find an initial rough overview of the properties of sheath materials here.
How are Ethernet
cables protected against electromagnetic interference?
There are essentially three different shielding types for Ethernet cables. However, as there are also Ethernet cables that do not have EMC screening altogether, four designations in the product features can be attributed to the EMC screening.
Unshielded or uncoiled
"U" (Unscreened) or /"U" (Unfoiled)
Tin-plated copper braiding or copper wrapping
Aluminium-laminated plastic foil
Twisted pairs of wires
“TP” (Twisted pair)
For this reason, you will find information such as S/FTP in the product properties. If you take the above table into account, this is due to the fact that this is a screened/foiled Twisted Pair Ethernet cable. This is therefore a cable with copper braiding and twisted pairs of conductors, sheathed in pairs with aluminium-laminated plastic foil.
The slant stripe separates the overall shielding from the wire pair shielding. In other words, all information to the left of the forward slash refers to the overall shielding, while the information to the right of the forward slash refers to the shielding of the individual pairs of wires.
cables are available at LAPP?
With our ETHERLINE® cables at LAPP, we offer you the right product for almost every industrial application that requires fast, interference-free and robust data transmission. If everything needs to go quickly and you need initial orientation, here is a rough overview for you:
ETHERLINE® ROBOT– For use in industrial robots Designed for the symbiosis of torsion and horizontal linear movements. This product is particularly suitable for data cabling inside or on robots. The ETHERLINE® ROBOT cables can be installed in conduits or freely.
ETHERLINE® LAN– for wiring in building infrastructures In this product family, we offer solutions for building cabling in frequency ranges up to 1600 MHz with Ethernet cables in categories Cat.5e to Cat.7A.
ETHERLINE® FIRE– For use in emergency circuits Particularly suitable in areas at risk of fire, ETHERLINE® FIRE cables offer optimum insulation integrity in the event of a fire for up to 120 minutes in accordance with EN 50200 while guaranteeing high transmission reliability.
ETHERLINE® TORSION – for constantly flexing use in torsional applications Once again, our ETHERLINE® TORSION is very well suited for torsional applications with high angles of rotation (± 180°). For PROFINET applications and incl. AWM approvals, the highly flexible /19 cables can help every rotation.
ETHERLINE® TRAY – for fixed installation in cable trays Perfect for protected installation on cable trays and multiple certification. This product has UL-PLTC, UL-CMG and CSA approvals, among other things.
ETHERLINE® HEAT 6722– For use in areas at risk of fire With this HEAT product, we offer you a cable with halogen-free PU outer sheath for PROFINET applications, tested in accordance with ECE-R 118.1 and complies with the requirements in accordance with ISO 6722.
ETHERLINE® ROBUST – For use in the food industry Manages everything that the food industry expects. This is because our ETHERLINE® ROBUST product family was developed specifically for this purpose. These cables are suitable for flexible use and feature special sheath materials for a high level of resistance to oils, chemical agents and water.