• Many types of cables are used in computer networks today. This may be confusing to some computer users, so it is helpful to understand what each type of cable is and what it is used for. One kind of Ethernet cable used for networks is called a "straight-through" cable.

    Ethernet Basics

    The word "Ethernet" is actually a grouping of various technologies and standards for communication used for local area networks, also known as a LANs. The word is based on the classical scientific concept of a mysterious "ether" through which light would travel in space.

    Ethernet Cable Wiring

    Ethernet network cables, such as CAT-5 and CAT-6 cabling, contain multiple wires and also have multiple pins connecting the cables to connectors. The eight wires in an Ethernet network cable can be fastened to the eight pins on connectors in multiple ways.


    If the wires of an Ethernet cable are fastened identically at each end appropriately, this is called a "straight-through" cable. This means that all of the same pins on each connector are connected to the same wires in the cable. This can be done according to a color-to-number chart listing appropriate wire colors for each pin number as specified by standards.


    A straight-through Ethernet cable is a common cable used for connecting computers to routers, hubs, switches and more. Such appliances switch the connection of wires internally, so a wire transmitting data on one side is received by a network appliance properly. Likewise, such a network appliance will send data to the computer on an appropriate wire in the cable.

    Other Cabling Types

    Other kinds of Ethernet cables are used for various network connections. One such cable is called a "crossover cable," a cable in which the pins of transmitting and receiving wires are switched at each connector. This allows a computer to connect with another computer for the purposes of establishing a network connection. A computer's network card may not switch internally as a network appliance would, although some network cards can.

    Source: The Difference Between Straight Through, Crossover and Rollover Cables

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