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Telephone Cable Types and Uses

For those born before the early 2000s, telephone cables were just part of life. Especially in the early days of the internet, connecting with your phone line – to create those weird screeching sounds that we now remember so fondly – was the standard.

Though it may feel like telephone cables have gone out of style, there are plenty of uses in everyday life. Check out everything you could possibly need to know about the various telephone cable types and their litany of uses.


Telephone Cable with Stripped Ends


What is a Telephone Cable?

It helps to know what a telephone cable is. Telephone cables connect circuits within a system. They can join landline phones to certain telecommunications networks. Despite the presence of other prominent cabling systems, telephone cables are still pivotal in the electronics world for transmitting both data and sound from place to place.

Telephone cables use electrically conductive materials like copper to transmit data electronically. With either PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or PE (polyethylene insulation, these are low-frequency cables that operate at a rate of under 300 kilohertz.

Types of Telephone Cable

Generally speaking, there are three different broad types of telephone cable: internal, external, and a combo of the two. Cabling designed for external use tends to be a lot thicker because it is meant to be weatherproof. Internal cabling is a lot more flexible, and capable of being used in a number of situations. The combo is easily the most versatile because it can be implemented for either indoor or outdoor use.

Flat vs. Coiled. Flat cords connect telephones to wall sockets. Coiled cords are used to connect receivers to a landline headset. Coiled cables have a separate connector that goes to the main phone line, usually a smaller standard like RJ9 or RJ22. Coiled is deceptively long; one foot of coiled could be as much as six feet when it is fully uncoiled.

Straight vs. Reverse. Straight cords are used to transmit data. Reverse cords are used for voice services. Straight cords have duplicated wires that are connected to pins on either side of the cable. Reverse cords the order of those connections is mirrored in reverse order.

Other types. There are a few other types, most notably RJ11. This is an international standard for connecting a single telephone line to a single device.

Uses of Telephone Cables

Though it may not seem like it, there are still a variety of uses for telephone cables. While it might be simple to think that they are associated with telephones (they are), there are a couple of more important uses.

Wired Networking. Wireless may be all the rage right now but there is no more dependable setup than wired networking. In offices or areas where wireless reception isn’t great, telephone cables can create a wired network. Ethernet cables are basically a modified form of telephone cabling that has a high-capacity RJ45 connector.

Using those ethernet cables, a local area network (LAN) can be created to connect that ethernet cable to any phone jack. It is the best and most secure way to create a dependable network wherever there is a wall socket that uses the appropriate jack.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

DSL is a type of internet connection that is used to transmit data through telephone lines. DSL can be delivered alongside your standard landline connection because DSL is on a higher frequency than those landline connections.

Asynchronous digital subscriber line (ADSL) is perhaps the most common DSL type and it means that it has a slower upload speed than it does download speed. This is a great way to provide access to the internet for both domestic and business users.


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