Crossover Cable

Anyone who works with computer networks will soon or later have to deal with the crossover cable. Initially, it can be quite confusing because it looks almost identical to a regular cable. The most common type is the Ethernet crossover cable, followed by the null-modem cable. They are mostly used to make a direct connection between two similar devices, such as two computers. While it’s still a fundamental part of computer networking, its role has been diminished by modern devices that can automatically detect what type of cable is being used.

A crossover cable is just a straight-through cable that has different connections inside one of its plugs. The wires on some of the pins are crossed with other wires to ensure that their signals get to where they are suppose to go. Typically, it’s only the wires that transmit and receive data that are crossed while the other wires are left as they are. A crossover cable is used to connect two similar devices because their sockets have identical wiring. Using a straight-through cable would cause the signals to end up at the wrong pins and result in no data getting through.

There are many different uses for a crossover cable. It can be used to make a direct connection between two computers, avoiding the need to setup a network hub or switch. Within a local area network (LAN), it can be used to connect hubs and switches together to increase the total number of ports available. Modern video game consoles can be linked to a computer using a crossover cable, allowing them to share files and access the internet. It can also be used to run a wide range of other equipment from a computer, such as automated machines in a factory.

The Ethernet crossover cable is the main type used today, but it can be difficult to tell it apart from a regular Ethernet cable. To identify the type, hold the plugs together with the pins facing in the same direction. Going from one side to the other, look at the color and pattern of the corresponding wires. The wires will match exactly on a regular Ethernet cable, but some or all of the wires will be in different positions on an Ethernet crossover cable. A regular Ethernet cable can be converted by attaching a crossover adapter to one end.

The null-modem cable is another type of crossover cable that was once very common but is now obsolete. Although it’s rarely used anymore, it’s still important to known what a null-modem cable looks like and how it works. It’s used to connect the serial ports on two similar devices, and was originally designed to connect teletype machines together. A regular serial cable can be turned into a crossover cable by attaching a null-modem adapter to one end. The adapter cost about three dollars and is slightly cheaper than a null-modem cable.

USB ports are found on almost every computer and electronic gadget today, so it’s a bit surprising to learn that there is no such thing as a USB crossover cable. There are none sold in the retail stores, and it’s not recommended to use a homemade cable as it could cause serious damage by shorting the power supply. The reason for this has to do with the way USB works, which is totally different to the way Ethernet and others works. Most USB cables have different shaped plugs that prevent them from being used in this manner. To join two computers with USB cables, they need to be connected to a USB bridge.

Modern networking devices are smart enough to sense what type of cable is connected to them. They automatically rearrange their input and output data signals to suit the cable being used. This process is known as auto-sensing or auto-configuration. It has almost made the crossover cable obsolete in modern computer networks, but there are still many devices in use that do not have this feature, particularly network cards. The crossover cable will no doubt disappear in the future but it will still be needed for several years to come.

This Crossover Cable Review is Written/Updated on Nov 14th, 2010 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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