Cable shielding types and their applications

Shielded cables are cables that are wrapped in a conductive layer. This layer is designed to shield the inner conductors from electromagnetic interference, or EMI. Shielding becomes increasingly important when cables are installed near high-voltage sources or sensitive electronic equipment. It aids in data retention while preventing EMI leakage.

For shielding materials, please see: Introduction To Shielding Materials

Ethernet cable shielding types

  • UTP – Unshielded Twisted Pair: This cable does not provide EMI shielding. These cables are generally more cost-effective and easier to use but at the cost of not having any form of EMI resistance.
  • F/UTP – Foil Unshielded Twisted Pair: Has an inner shield that wraps around all twisted pairs. This shield is located underneath the jacket and has a copper drain wire connected to it.
  • U/FTP – Unshielded Foil Twisted Pair: An individual foil shield is wrapped around each twisted pair. This form of shielding provides a high level of EMI resistance and is generally more expensive than the previously listed shielding types.
  • S/FTP – Shielded Foil Twisted Pair: A shield that combines U/FTP and F/UTP. This cable has a foil shield that wraps all conductors, as well as individual foil shields for each twisted pair.
Industrial Ethernet communication shielded flexible bus cable network cable
Industrial Ethernet communication shielded flexible bus cable network cable

Coaxial Cable Shield Type

  • Braided Shielding: Braided shielding uses copper or aluminium wires that are tightly woven together. The purpose of this shielding is not only to prevent electromagnetic interference but also to help keep RF signals within the cable.
  • Double Shielding: Double shielding has a wire braided shield and a solid aluminium shield. These two shields provide a higher level of shielding, helping RF signals travel farther.
  • Quadruple Shielding: Quadruple Shielding takes a wire braided shield and a solid aluminium shield and doubles it. This level of shielding is still significantly higher than previous cables, as two layers of 100% foil shielding make up for the difference.
Video surveillance coaxial shielded cable
Video surveillance coaxial shielded cable

When to use a shielded cable?

  • Heavy industrial environments: In noisy environments such as manufacturing plants or near electrical equipment.
  • Airports: There is a lot of electronic equipment and radio waves present.
  • Broadcast stations: Need to prevent EMI interference from affecting broadcast signals.
  • Consumer electronics such as TVs and mobile phones: electromagnetic interference needs to be prevented from affecting the normal operation of the equipment.

Do you need to know more about shielded cables?

Romtronic is a leading manufacturer of custom cable assemblies and wire harnesses with 27 years of OEM and ODM experience, if you have more questions about shielded cables, you can contact us.