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An Acronym Guide for Cable Shielding
12 March 2019

What is cable shielding?

Cable shielding is a layer enclosing one or more insulated conductors inside of a cable. Shielding can be made of a braid or foil or combination of both and can be either wrapped around all 4 pairs of twisted pair cable, just the individual conductor pairs, or both the entire cable and individual pairs.

Why are there so many types of cable shielding?

EMI (electromagnetic interference) can wreak havoc with data transmission on a copper cable, this can result in data errors and quite possibly downtime. In order to wipe out EMI interference, manufacturers offer different levels of shielding on cables and connectors. Which option you go for will depend on your application.

How do I know what each letter stands for?

Usually, in the product name, the letters before the slash correspond to the shielding on the cable as a whole whereas the letters after the slash correspond to the shielding for the individual pairs.

Here is a cheat sheet to help you crack the cable shielding code:

F/UTP – Foiled/Unshielded Twisted Pair: An overall foil shield encases the 4 pairs of unshielded twisted pair. Commonly used in 10GBaseT applications.

S/FTP – Shielded Foiled/Twisted Pair: An overall braid shield with foil-shielded twisted pairs. The shield underneath the jacket is a braid and each individual pair is surrounded by its own foil shield. The purpose of the additional foil on individual pairs is to limit the amount of crosstalk between them.

F/FTP – Foiled/Foiled Twisted Pair: An overall foil shield with foil screened twisted pairs. Like F/UTP, this cable is commonly used in 10GBaseT applications.

U/FTP – Unshielded/Foiled Twisted Pair: No overall shielding or braid with foil-shielded twisted pairs. This cable is also frequently used in 10GBaseT applications.

U/UTP (UTP) – Unshielded/Unshielded Twisted Pair: Pairs of wires twisted together that are not shielded at all. These cables are often referred to as UTP and are one of the most basic methods used to help prevent electromagnetic interference.