UTP Versus FTP? The Debate Continues.

James Donovan_new James Donovan December 1, 2010

Over the past months, the latest round of claims about FTP (Foiled Twisted Pair) cabling systems overtaking the use of UTP (Unshielded Twiated Pair) cabling systems have hit the market again. Having experienced several iterations of this argument over the past two decades, usually as the latest network application becomes the hot topic, it is interesting to see that the fundamentals have not changed.


With the latest application being 10Gbps Ethernet, it means dusting off the reasons for and against each media.




Ultimately I think end users will sift through the case for each presented and hopefully read all the small print only to find that simply put, network electronics are designed to run over both and therefore each is applicable media.


One of the things I wish our industry could go back in time and change is the acronym UTP. Unshielded denotes something to be missing, and certainly when this type of cabling was initially used for data networks it was up against the traditional use of STP and coax cabling. But it has come a long way since then.


We should be using the term BTP – Balanced Twisted Pair, as it the balance of the system which plays a vital role whether it is UTP or FTP. Certainly I think end users would appreciate anything to help quell the FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) that these debates create. As the cabling standards and the network standards really are agnostic to this whole issue, why not!!


Read CommScope's latest white paper on this important topic.

About the Author

James Donovan_new

James Donovan

James Donovan is Vice President of the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. James joined CommScope in 1993 and has held positions in Sales, Technical, Marketing, Training and Business Development and served most recently as VP of Digital and Creative Services for CommScope. James oversees the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, which is CommScope’s partner and customer training platform. Prior to joining the company, he held positions at GEC, ITT and Alcatel. He holds a Masters Degree in Engineering and a BSc Honors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.