Difference between UTP and STP Cable


Twisted pair cables are widely used in the transferring information, especially over long a distances. The twist in the cable cancels out any magnetic interference that may develop in the wiring. There are two common types of twisted pair cabling, STP and UTP. The S represents Shielded, the U represents Unshielded, and the TP represents the twisted pair for both.

Shielded vs. Unshielded twisted pair cables

The unshielded in UTP refers to the lack of metallic shielding around the copper wires. By its very nature, the twisted-pair design helps minimize electronic interference by providing balanced signal transmission, making a physical shield unnecessary.

The Unshielded twisted pair is the most commonly used in telephone cables, computer networks, and even in video applications such as security cameras. UTP cables are generally used in short lengths such as inside a building, or within a server room.

Unshield Twisted Pairs cable is susceptible to radio and electrical frequency interference. Though more expensive, Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) cables are a better option. Shielded Twisted pair cables can also be useful in extending maximum distance of cables. Shielded cable is available in three configurations:

  • – Every pair of wire is separately shielded with foil
  • – All wires having a braid shield inside the wire jacket
  • – Each individual pair having a shield, besides having another around the whole group of wires

In a shielded twisted pair (STP), the wires are enclosed in a shield that functions as a grounding mechanism. This is done so it can provide a greater protection from electromagnetic interference and radio Infrequency interference, allowing it to carry data at a faster rate of speed.

Therefore, STP cable is often used in high end applications that require high bandwidth and outdoor environments. UTP cable is often used in home, office and large scale businesses.