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Solid vs. Stranded Conductor Cables

[fa icon="calendar"] June 28, 2017 / by C Enterprises

C Enterprises

solid-vs-stranded.jpgSound systems, communications, public address systems, and data transmission use multi-conductor cables. When deciding on the right conductor cables for your network you will face a major decision – solid or stranded? Each type offers advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific data center. C Enterprises has broken down these two conductor cable types to explain their key differences. Understanding the distinction between these cables will help you select the right option for your needs with confidence. 

Pros and Cons of Solid Conductor Cables

Copper Ethernet cables are classified into categories according to different specifications. They are also separated by their cable construction – solid and stranded. As the name implies, a solid conductor cable consists of one single piece of metal. This single, solid conducting wire typically consists of bare copper cords, with a diameter of 22 to 24 American Wire Gauge (AWG) units. The larger the wire, the better the electrical characteristics to maintain stable transmittance over different frequencies. This one-strand wire has nonconductive material as insulation. 

Solid conductor cables are ideal for high-speed Ethernet applications. They are used often in home electrical wiring, in situations where wires do not undergo constant flexing. Solid cables are tougher than stranded conductors, but they are less flexible. They have a more rigid structure and are more likely to break under the stress of frequent flexing or bending. Due to their large diameters, solid cables have a resistance level that’s not ideal for signal transmission, as well as lower susceptibility to the effects of high-frequency signals.

Solid conductor cables work best for horizontal and backbone cable runs since they are high functioning at longer distances than stranded conductor cables are. Users can install solid cables inside walls, through ceilings, and between work areas – as long as they minimize the amount of bending or twisting of the cords. Solid conductor cables are more appropriate than stranded in certain situations, in spite of the increased risk of conductor cable breakage. 

Pros and Cons of Stranded Conductor Cables

Stranded conductor cables consist of a collection of multiple small strands, grouped together to form a single conductor. This formation is used today for short runs and applications where wires will be constantly bent, plugged/unplugged, or removed. Stranded cables are more capable of accommodating bends and flexes without compromising the structure or performance of the wires. This is due to the stranded formation, which allows better flexibility. When bent, the individual strands on the cable gravitate toward the center. The total stress on the unit is distributed across multiple individual strains instead of focusing on the center conductor.

Aside from greater flexibility and bend resistance, stranded cables are advantageous for their ability to protect conducting surfaces from oxidation. This is possible in tin-coated wires. Eliminating oxidation prevents the ends of each wire from fraying. Since stranded wires are expensive to manufacture, they come at higher costs than solid conductor cables. They have high direct current resistance and insertion loss, causing signals to dissipate during long distances transmissions. For this reason, it’s more suitable to install stranded cables for short-distance runs.

Deciding Which Cable is Right for You

When setting up your network, think about the environment and specific application of your conductor cables before making a purchase. If the cable will need to extend a long distance with minimal twists and turns, solid cables may be best. Solid cables are appropriate if the wire will be exposed to harsh weather conditions or heavy-duty applications.

If you need to squeeze the cable into a cramped space, on the other hand, use stranded cables to prevent breakage and signal loss. Each type of conductor cable is ideal for different purposes. For customized help choosing your conductor cables, contact C Enterprises for a consultation.

C Enterprises

Written by C Enterprises

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