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Solid or Stranded?

Are we talking about billiards?  A shipwreck?  The TV show Survivor?  Nope, cables!  Of course, what else would we talk about here at Falcon Tech’s Live Wire Blog! Cables have many different ratings and the cable you choose will depend on your installation needs.  For more information on cable options read here.  Cables that are rated Cat3, Cat5, Cat5e or Cat6 are further classified as either “solid” or “stranded.” A solid cable is one whose conductors are made of a solid metal.  The most common metal used is copper.  Each conductor is made of a single thick wire and this generally makes the cable more rigid and less bendable.  Solid cables are a good choice for the backbone of your system where cables run through walls and conduits and other long runs where flexibility is less of a concern. A stranded cable is made up of many smaller, finer wires, which are then twisted together to form one larger, thicker wire.  As a result, stranded cables are much more flexible and are a good choice for shorter runs that need to twist and turn and bend to reach their destination.  Stranded cable is most commonly used in patch cords. It’s important to realize that while both these cables utilize RJ45 connectors, you need to use the matching connector, either solid or stranded, as well.  These connectors are not cross compatible.  The prongs inside the connector need to properly line up with the cable and pierce the outer coating to contact the wire conductor for a successful connection.  A solid RJ45 connector only needs to make contact with one wire, while a stranded RJ45 connector has to make contact with every wire in the cable.  Upon first glance, the connectors look very similar.  Pairing the wrong type can lead to a lot of frustration trying to track down a connection problem. At Falcon Tech, we can help you save time and frustration by ‘connecting’ you with the right supplies for your next installation project.  Call today at 1-800-989-7009 or order online at