Definition of Data Cables

By Contributing Writer

Data cables are an important part of a computer, as they provide a connection between various hardware components. This enables a computer to communicate with its own various parts. A data cable also enables a computer to communicate with additional computers.


A data cable is, essentially, any type of media capable of carrying a binary electrical communication signal. Binary data is a series of ones and zeros which are sent as an electrical signal between two locations.

Inner Communication

A data cable allows communication between hardware components within a computer. One example is a cable for a hard drive that connects a hard drive to a motherboard. This enables the electrical transfer of data to and from the hard drive.

Network Communication

A data cable also allows communication between multiple computers across a network. One example is an Ethernet cable that is used for connecting computers via a network interface card connected to the computer.

Peripheral Cabling

Peripherals, such as printers and scanners and cameras, are also connected via a data cable. These data cables may be USB or occasionally firewire. Other types of data cables may also be used.


Should a document that came with a computer part or accessory refer to a "data cable," then it is important to search the documentation or contact the hardware vendor to verify what type of data cable is to be used. Connecting the wrong type of cable is unwise and may cause hardware issues.

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