Cables For Secure Data Transmission

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

With the wide proliferation of devices for computing and entertainment, and the possibility of connecting more than two devices together to achieve different goals, there arose a requirement for interconnecting them. The connections are made with cables and connectors of various types. The concept of cables is not at all new but, however, the different types of cables available today are something not too old.

Initially, manufacturers used proprietary interfaces to ensure customers used devices only manufactured by them. But over time, with the need to interconnect devices from different manufacturers there rose a need to standardise these interfaces so that customers could use devices from different manufacturers. Standards were developed and agreed upon for connectors and cables. The standard defined not only the physical connector but also the characteristics of the signals flowing through each of the wires of the connector. Although much of these gadgets and connectors have been standardises, there are still some manufacturers which prefer to keep the proprietary interface. Moreover, when a device is bought, one usually gets a connecter with it as a part of the entire box package. However, these connectors are mostly USB based and hence can be used with devices from other vendors too.

Fiber Optic
The variety in connectors or cables is huge but, some commonly used cables are described below.

Coax Cables

The Coax cable is constructed with an inner conductor which is surrounded by insulation and then a conducting shield around that. The coax cables can be used to carry radio frequency signals. The shielding around the central conductor prevents interference from outside and also prevents electromagnetic signal radiation from the signal conductor. In the home, they are commonly used to connect the antenna to a TV set or cable box.

DVI Cables

DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface and is primarily used for carrying video signals. The DVI connector has 28 pins. However all pins are not used all the time. For example, the DVI-D utilises 18 or 24 pins and carries digital signals only. The DVI-A uses a combination of different 16 pins and carries only analogue signals and the DVI-I carry both analogy as well as digital signals.

Optic Cables
HDMI Cables

HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface is used to transfer uncompressed video data along with audio in compressed or uncompressed form to compatible devices like digital television, computer monitor, etc. It was developed and had the support of major Japanese and European manufacturers as well as major motion picture producers. The popularity of HDMI devices is shown by the sales of HDMI devices which rose from 5 million in 2004 to 143 million in 2007.

 USB Cables

The USB (Universal Serial Bus) was developed nearly 20 years back primarily to connect computers with electronic peripherals and devices. The USB cable carried both electronic signals as well as power. The USB 1.0 was released in 1996 and carried signal speeds of 1.5 Mbits/sec and up to 12 Mbits/sec. USB 2.0 raised the speeds to 480 Mbits/sec and USB 3.0 carried 5 Gbits/sec. The USB cables are used to connect mass storage devices with an added advantage over other means of connection because the storage devices can be removed without needing to reboot the pc.

Optical Cables

An Optical Fibre Cable is a cable composed of one or more optic fibres that carry signals using light waves. Since each optic fibre carries a very high speed signal and many optical fibres can be present in a cable, the total capacity is very large. It is estimated that only 1% of the installed optical fibre capacity is actually used with the rest kept for future use. Optical cables can carry signals from 10 to 100 Gigabits /sec.


Firewire Cable
Firewire was initiated by Apple and developed in the early 1990s and is released by different manufacturers under different proprietary names like i-Link by SONY and Lynx by Texas Instruments.

It carries signals up to 3.2 Gigabits/sec and is used to transfer data from video cameras to computers.

Although wireless technology is rapidly taking over, the existence and use of cables cannot be over ruled. There are still many years for the tech world to get completely wire-less.

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