Shielded vs. Unshielded Office Computer Cable | Boston MAEvery modern organization has to consider the type of cabling it needs to meet its technological and business requirements. This article will discuss the choice between shielded versus unshielded cabling.


STP (shielded twisted pair) cable is composed of twisted pairs of wires that are wrapped in foil. The grouping is wrapped in another layer of foil or copper braiding for additional protection and contained in tubing. In contrast, UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable is made up of twisted pairs of wires that are contained in tubing without any other protection.

More expensive than unshielded, shielded cabling is also harder to install. It is stiffer because of its larger diameter, which will require more space. Unshielded cables can also deliver speedier transmissions when EMI/RFI (electromagnetic interference/radio frequency interference) is absent.

Why Shielded Cable is Required

Shielded cable may be required in a facility because of the level of EMI (electromagnetic interference) present inside the premises. The typical causes of EMI are air conditioners, fluorescent lighting, generators, motors, and printers. EMI results in crosstalk between circuits, and this will result in data degradation, more errors, and slower rates of transmission.

Understanding the cable’s application and the level of protection it requires from EMI will help an organization decide between installing STP and UTP cabling.

EMI/RFI Prevention

EMI and RFI interference is produced by electromagnetic radiation, electrostatic coupling, radio or TV stations, airports, or other electrical circuit noise. The reality is that EMI/RFI is commonplace. The static in a phone call is an example.

At sufficient levels, EMI can significantly affect data traffic and stop computers from being able to communicate with one another. In such instances, there is data loss, and information has to be sent more than once. Having to repeat this process slows a network’s speed.

Disturbances caused by EMI decrease circuit performance, preventing it from working properly. Interruptions of data paths can result in greater error rates or even total data loss when EMI is strong enough.

Part 2 will discuss Types of Shielded Cabling, Shielded Cable Uses, and Unshielded Cable Uses.

Progressive Office Cabling

Founded in 1986, Progressive Office’s success has been a direct result of years of commitment to seeking cost-effective solutions. Working together, Progressive teams are committed to getting your data cables installed and operating while minimizing disruption and downtime. Call our toll free number (800) 614-4560 today. Or click here.