"Computer Cables"
Evolution; Changes and Upgrades to the basic Computer Cable
We’ve all seen changes in technology over the last 10 years. Cars, phones, the way we watch
television (or movies for that matter), our appliances, and especially… the Computer. The
changes we’ve seen in the computer are amazing.  

Take a look at your monitor… probably in color eh? Remember when they were bigger than
you? The monitor can now be hung on a wall, talk about convenient. The resolution has gone
through the roof. Twenty years ago you saw only words on your screen, now we watch movies
and television shows in “HD” or High Definition quality.

Your
speakers are no longer there simply to provide you with a ‘beep’ to remind you when the
computer is turning on or off, or completing an application. Now novice computer users and
audiophiles alike are enjoying cinema like quality on their computer speakers. The tiny speaker
that used to be out of site in your tower is almost always at least 2, attractive, speakers on your
desktop. Or, in many cases, a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system fully set up featuring a powered sub
woofer. Computer speakers have come a long ways.

The
Keyboard and Mice have gone though huge changes as well. Keyboards are now available
in a vast selection of colors, sizes and shapes.  A keyboard can be purchased with ergonomic
molding to help supports your wrists for more accurate typing. Glow in the dark and flexible “roll-
up” keyboards can be purchased for night use, or use on the road. And probably the most
popular upgrade, wireless. Mice have come through just as many changes. The computer
mouse can be found in a wide selection of colors. Silver, Blue, Red, Black and even custom
varieties can be found. A mouse can be very small, or very large. It can be shaped like a pen, or
even a futuristic gun (think Star-Trek). The single most useful upgrade on the mouse is
probably the new wireless capabilities, or optical. Now mice can be used without the roller ball.
This means no more gunk or lint build up causing your mouse to malfunction. However, this
opens up a new problem area for scratches.

Computer cables have probably the largest variety of shapes, colors, sizes and varieties.
Ribbon Cables,
SCSI Cables, Internal and External, USB, Parallel, Serial, Network, KVM, Video,
Mouse and Keyboard. The list goes on. And the Changes are just as complete. Ribbon
Computer Cables have gone from very simple, to very advanced. A Ribbon computer cable can
now be found in a variety of colors and shapes. Even glow in the dark and LED enabled! Your
basic printer computer cables have gone from a very large diameter parallel cable, using
equally large d-sub shaped connectors, into the very sleek USB. (for more info on USB, visit our
USB info site
http://www.tca-inc.net/usbinfo.html) Often, serial, network, KVM (or Keyboard,
Video, Mouse) can all be used through the same computer cable now. A CAT5 or CAT6 network
cable. Manufacturers such as Comtrol (serial) and Raritan (KVM) have developed new
technologies allowing you to send far more data than ever before over the smallest computer
cables ever used before. KVM over CAT5 has really helped to shrink the variety of computer
cables needed in most networks.

Going back to
USB, you’ll find probably the second most versatile computer cable, after the cat5
network cable. USB was developed to create a standard, it and took off in a positive direction.
Before, your
keyboard and mouse had different cables than your printer. Now, using the same
style computer cable, you can connect keyboards, mice, printers, digital cameras, mp3 players
and other peripherals. This standard in the computer cable industry has allowed for much
higher production volumes leading to better consumer prices. No longer does the average
consumer need to be savvy to hundred of computer cable types in order to simply connect their
home PC.

The computer cable that has probable come the furthest is the network cable. See how to
make a
network cable here: How to Make a Network Cable. The network cable has evolved
from a very low data transmission rate with limited uses to a high speed multi tool. High end
networks will find at least 3 common uses for the
Cat5 or Cat6 network cable; Network
connection, debugging, and thanks to companies like Raritan, KVM. The network cable can be
found in either
Cat5e (category 5 enhanced) or Cat6 (Category 6). Most Cat 6 assemblies
require a staggered pin layout and special inserts found inside the
RJ-45 to meet CAT 6 spec.
This does increase the price over
Cat5, however, with volume building the prices are becoming
more affordable. Now days, many diy network type home enthusiasts are realizing the
advantages to
Cat 6 and making an early investment. It has become of the most commonly
discussed computer cables as well, as thousands of sites teach you how to make your own.
No other computer cable has this type of bragging rights.

The last computer cable to discuss in this article is the
Video cable. The most common video
cable you see now days features an HD15 connector. However even this assembly can be
separated by VGA or
SVGA. SVGA featuring ferrite beads on either end just shy of the connector
to help cut down on interference and provide a better overall signal exchange. Hopefully
resulting in a premium picture. However, as computer cables have evolved, the video cable is
no different. The terms “VGA” and “
SVGA” have been joined by such up and comers as “DVI”,
HDMI”, “Component” and “Composite”. (The cat5 and cat6 network cables also have the ability
to send video signal now through special converters, such Raritan’s products, but these are
not used for quality advancement, it is a topic all of it’s own). The use of “DVI Cables” and
HDMI Cables” has been largely for the sake of increased resolution and ultimately ‘perfect’
picture quality.  You’ll find more information on
DVI here: http://www.tca-inc.net/dvi_info.html.
The
DVI and HDMI movement have been huge the home theater market, but the two markets
have really intermingled. As we discussed the advancements in monitors earlier, one thing we
left out. Many home theaters are now using monitors suitable for PC use as well, and visa
versa.  This intermingling among industries has led the increased volume of
DVI and HDMI
Computer cables
, as they are now used for both, the home theater and as a replacement for
the traditional
video computer cable.

For more information about specific types of computer cables, such as USB, DVI, or Network
cables, see our other articles at
http://www.tca-inc.net/articles.html.