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6.2. 10BaseT

Earlier versions of Ethernet, 10Base5, and 10Base2 were built upon interconnected coaxial cables. These coaxial cables are not very flexible. Therefore, the repositioning of a desktop computer in an office might involve efforts of professional installers. 10BaseT is the first version of Ethernet using twisted pair cables. 10BaseT supports a 10-Mbps transmission rate over two pairs of Category 3 or Category 5 twisted pair cable. Because of the convenience of twisted pair wiring in an office environment, 10BaseT and its higher throughput variations have become the norm for most new Ethernet installations. Category 3 or Category 5 twisted pair cable contains four pairs of wires. 10BaseT uses one pair of wires for transmitting data and the other pair for receiving data. 10BaseT is designed for using Category 3 twisted pair cable over a connection distance of 100 m. The connection distance is increased to 150 m if a better quality Category 5 twisted pair cable is used instead.

Although Category 3 twisted pair cable is characterized as voice grade with transmission capabilities similar to those of in-house telephone wiring, the conventional in-house telephone wiring cannot be used for Ethernet application because it usually has only one available pair after the telephone usage and multiple branches normally exist on each pair. The other distinction is that telephone wiring uses a four-position RJ-11 connector while each end of a Category 3 or Category 5 cable for the Ethernet application is terminated with an eight-position RJ-45 connector (Figure 6.4).


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