If you have a computer network in your home, there is a good chance that at least one ethernet LAN cable is involved. It might connect your computer to a router, a modem, a wall socket, or even hook a wireless router up to the outside world. Whatever it does, your ethernet cable is a vital part of your network. However, there is another similar type of cable that is known as a crossover cable. While it has many similarities with an ethernet cable, the exact purpose of it can be unclear.
Similarities Between Crossover and Ethernet
Crossover cables and ethernet cables, despite their functional differences, have many similarities. In fact, it is easy to mistake a crossover cable for an ethernet cable if you do not know where to look. This is because crossover cables are designed to use the same port as an ethernet cable. They have the same number of pins and the same general appearance. Because of their similarity, it can be hard to tell exactly what the difference between a crossover cable and an ethernet cable is.
Differences between Crossover and Ethernet
There are many functional differences between crossover cables and ethernet cables. For one thing, crossover cables have their pins configured differently than ethernet cables, even though they have the same number and connect to the same port. This difference is not very obvious, but it is possible to tell between a crossover cable and an ethernet cable by examining their connectors. This is because the different pins are labeled by color, so the different configuration between ethernet and crossover cables is made clear visually.
The difference between the configuration of crossover and ethernet cables has an important function. Ethernet cables are for connecting two different types of devices. However, crossover cables are used for networking two similar devices directly, without using hubs or routers. Trying to use an ethernet LAN cable in place of a crossover cable will simply not work, and vice versa.
Uses for Crossover Cables
Crossover cables, because they are designed to connect two similar devices, serve many purposes that ethernet LAN cables cannot. For example, you can use crossover cables to connect two network hubs together. This allows you to share information between the hubs, and gain extra ports that are all on the same network. This is a great way to connect many computers or external devices together, particularly ones without wireless capabilities.
However, crossover cables cannot perform the numerous functions of ethernet LAN cables, which are all very important.
Uses for Ethernet Cables
Ethernet cables, unlike crossover cables, are for connecting two different types of devices. This is a much more common type of connection, which you will see in almost every network. For example, an ethernet cable could be used to connect a computer to a modem. Alternatively, it could connect a computer to a splitter, which connects to several external devices, such as printers. Ethernet cables are very useful and more common than the specialized crossover cable.