What Are the Differences Between Straight and Crossover Ethernet Cables?

Whereas straight Ethernet cables connect different types of devices to each other, crossover Ethernet cables establish connection between two identical devices. Users can determine the type of an Ethernet cable by comparing the wire layouts on both ends of the cable.

Straight Ethernet cables have the exact same wire arrangement on both ends. In comparison, the two ends of a crossover Ethernet cable have different wire color layouts. Straight cables can connect computers to hubs and the local area network ports of modems, as well as routers to modems and hubs. On the other hand, a crossover cable connects two computers, routers or hubs to each other.

When users connect two devices to each other with Gigabit Ethernet, the straight cable works for any configuration. Gigabit Ethernet equipment supports automatic medium-dependent interface crossover and automatically determines the type of connection needed and adjusts the network interface card accordingly.

Ethernet cables maintain high-speed data transfer between two devices. As of 2015, the fastest type of Ethernet cables, called category seven, can transmit 10,000 megabits per second and have a maximum bandwidth of 600 megahertz. Under perfect conditions, Ethernet cables maintain data transfer for up to 100 meters, after which the signal degrades.