Types of Communication Cables

By William Jensen

A huge variety of communication cables exist. These cables send and receive computer data, telephone conversations and photographic images, among other things, and they prevent interception and interference more effectively than wireless communication methods. Corded data transmission also eliminates the need for wireless transmitters and the electricity to power them. Three common types of communication cables include serial, RJ45 and RJ11. Many other types remain in use as well.

Computer Network Cables

Various kinds of computer networking cables exist, including older coaxial types. The RJ45 Ethernet cable proves most common today; it's thicker than a telephone cord but relatively flexible. Depending how the manufacturer wires an RJ45 cable, it may directly connect two computers or attach a computer to a network device, according to FreeCircuitDiagram.com. Most PCs with high-speed Internet access use an RJ45 cable for connection to a modem or router.

Telephone Cables

Standard telephone cables connect most telephones and dial-up computer modems to their wall jacks. They can also carry DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) Internet access from a wall jack to the DSL modem. A small amount of electricity runs through these cables. RJ11 remains the most common variety of this thin, flexible wire. The similar RJ14, RJ25 and RJ61 cables use the same jacks but contain more wires, according to Tech-FAQ.com. The additional wires enable these types to carry two to four separate telephone lines.

Serial Data Cables

Traditional serial communication cables typically have nine or 25 pin connectors and moderately thick cords (similar to RJ45). They allow for direct communication between computers, dial-up modems, digital cameras and other devices. Although not typically considered a networking cable, they can form a simple "network" consisting of two directly connected PCs. USB (Universal Serial Bus) communication cables perform most of the same tasks, and they also will power or charge devices with electricity from a computer or USB power station.

Other Cable Types

Many other types of cables can facilitate communication between two devices, although some aren't applied to many different purposes. A bidirectional parallel cable allows for two-way communication between a computer and a printer or Zip drive. A few very old computers take turns with their tape drives to send and receive data through a standard 3.5 mm audio cord. Some electronic organizers use specialized types of communication cables to export or import backup files. Coaxial wires can carry cable TV, telephone audio and Internet data.