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CCNA: Network Media Types

Chapter Description

Familiarize yourself with some friendly network cables and take a closer look at common types of network media, including twisted-pair cable, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, and wireless.

Comparing Media Types

Presented in Table 8-1 are comparisons of the features of the common network media. This chart provides an overview of various media that you can use as a reference. The medium is possibly the single most important long-term investment made in a network. The choice of media type will affect the type of NICs installed, the speed of the network, and the capability of the network to meet future needs.

Table 8-1 Media Type Comparison

Media Type

Maximum Segment Length






100 m

10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps

Least expensive

Easy to install; widely available and widely used

Susceptible to interference; can cover only a limited distance


100 m

10 Mbps to 100 Mbps

More expensive than UTP

Reduced crosstalk; more resistant to EMI than Thinnet or UTP

Difficult to work with; can cover only a limited distance


500 m (Thicknet)

185 m (Thinnet)

10 Mbps to 100 Mbps

Relatively inexpensive, but more costly than UTP

Less susceptible to EMI interference than other types of copper media

Difficult to work with (Thicknet); limited bandwidth; limited application (Thinnet); damage to cable can bring down entire network


10 km and farther (single-mode)

2 km and farther (multimode)

100 Mbps to 100 Gbps (single mode)

100 Mbps to 9.92 Gbps (multimode)


Cannot be tapped, so security is better; can be used over great distances; is not susceptible to EMI; has a higher data rate than coaxial and twisted-pair cable

Difficult to terminate