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Data Cables

Data cables are needed when transmitting any information that is not audio or video. Networking cables, USB cables, and the modern Thunderbolt all belong in this category. What are they used for and how they differ?

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What Do Data Cables Do?

Data cables have many functions:

  1. Transfer data between two devices - connect your phone to your PC and you can easily back up your photos.
  2. External graphics cards - enhance your laptop's performance by plugging in an external graphics card.
  3. Stable Internet - increase your Internet speeds by connecting your device with a networking cable.

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When choosing a USB cable, it is best to use the latest version supported by your device.

USB

A modern universal data bus that connects peripherals to computers and other devices. It is the most widespread data interface on the market.

USB Interface Versions:

  • USB 2.0 - the most widespread "typical USB", found on almost every device
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2 (formerly USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2) - an upgraded and faster version, backward compatible
  • USB micro - a miniaturised version of USB 2.0 and USB 3.2 Gen 1, compatible with regular USB, especially on mobile devices
  • USB-C - state-of-the-art USB interface, enables image transfer, internet connection and fast device charging
  • Very widespread
  • Universal
  • Cheap
  • Older versions are slow

Thunderbolt

An Intel project that created a very fast data interface. It’s not as popular as USB, but it delivers much higher speeds. It uses the same connector as Mini DisplayPort, so it can be plugged into that as well. Due to the high bit rates and PCI-Express connection, it can be used for external graphics cards.

  • Very fast data transfer
  • Fairly common in high-end laptops and PCs
  • Limited use so far

Lightning

A digital data bus used exclusively by Apple devices. In addition to data transfer and charging, it is designed to transmit an audio signal. Can be inserted into the device using either side.

  • Audio, data, and charging in one cable
  • Small size
  • Apple only

Networking Cables (RJ-45)

Networking cables are the ideal solution for connecting to the Internet. They have directly tailored protocols that increase connection speeds and overall stability. The most widespread networking cable plug is RJ-45.

Networking Cable Types:

  • CAT5 - - the oldest networking cables, today replaced by improved CAT5E
  • CAT5E - the most common type nowadays, offering a stable connection with a speed limit of up to 1Gb/s, which is enough for most people
  • CAT6 - has a much better chance of reaching 1Gbps than CAT5E, and is particularly useful in corporate environments
  • Fast and stable internet connection

Adapters

Most data cables are mutually compatible if you use small passive adapters. The good thing about networking cables is also their general compatibility with video or audio cables you can connect them to.

Splitters and Extenders

These can extend your cable or split its output.

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Data Cables

USB USB (Universal Serial Bus) is the most widely used connector for connecting peripherals and accessories to...

Data Cables

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