comptia a+ cable types

CompTIA A+ Cable Types – How To Troubleshoot Cable Issues

This comprehensive guide to Comptia A+ Cable Types covers everything you need to know about the different types of cables and their uses, computer cable connectors, troubleshooting techniques, and maintenance tips. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced IT professional, this guide will help you better understand Comptia A+ Cable Types and how to […]

March 20, 2023

This comprehensive guide to Comptia A+ Cable Types covers everything you need to know about the different types of cables and their uses, computer cable connectors, troubleshooting techniques, and maintenance tips. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced IT professional, this guide will help you better understand Comptia A+ Cable Types and how to work with them. From twisted pair cables to fiber optic cables, IT Exams  have got you covered. Read on to learn more about CompTIA A+ Cable Types.

What Is CompTIA A+?

comptia a+ cable types

CompTIA A+ certification is acquired by passing two exams intended by IT industry experts to validate skills essential for entry-level IT roles. CompTIA A+, on the other hand, is more than just computer repair. CompTIA A+ candidates are more prepared to debug and repair a larger range of difficulties, such as networking and operating systems, mobile devices, and security.

Unlike other certifications, which sometimes require only one area of expertise, CompTIA A+ covers a broader variety of knowledge required of technicians today, making A+ relevant to a broader number of CompTIA A+ work vocations.

The certification covers a wide variety of subjects in the following categories:

  • Computer hardware
  • Software
  • Operating systems
  • Networking, security
  • Troubleshooting

Cable types are crucial in CompTIA A+ because they are used to connect and convey data between various devices and components in a computer system. Understanding the various cable types, such as Ethernet, USB, HDMI, VGA, and DVI, is critical for setting and troubleshooting various hardware components, such as network adapters, printers, displays, and video cards. Furthermore, understanding cable standards such as CAT5e, CAT6, and fiber optic is essential for assuring reliable and fast data transfer while minimizing compatibility concerns.

To help you easily gain your own certification, we provide hundreds of free 2023 CompTIA A+ practice test questions right on this website. Give it a try now!

What Are The Common CompTIA A+ Cable Types?

comptia a+ cable types

Ethernet Cable (RJ-45)

Ethernet cables of various varieties make up the vast bulk of networking cables. Ethernet is a collection of communication protocols that allow computers to talk to one another. It is classed as a networking protocol as opposed to an application protocol.

Ethernet describes the format and delivery of data by network devices so that other devices on the same local or campus area network segment (wired or wirelessly) can detect, receive, and process data.

The real, enclosed wire that transmits data is known as an Ethernet cable. Small voltage pulses (1 is voltage, 0 is no voltage) are transmitted across Ethernet connections at a single frequency. This sort of communication is known as baseband transmission. It is bidirectional, which means that hosts can send and receive data on the same cable. The varied capabilities are indicated by cable classifications.

The most common standard cabling grades are Category 5e (CAT5e), Category 6 (CAT6), and Category 6a (CAT6a). They are all 10BASE-T and Fast Ethernet networking compatible.

10BASE-T (10GB) Ethernet networks may be supported via CAT6, CAT6a, and CAT7 connections. All copper Ethernet cables, regardless of category or speed, have a distance restriction of around 100m (about 300ft) before the data signal weakens, necessitating the use of a switch, hub, or repeater to improve the signal.

Coaxial Cable (RG-6, RG-59)

Coaxial network cabling is the most traditional kind of network cable, with data lines wrapped in a wire mesh for insulation. Cable internet was the fastest internet service accessible to residential and business users prior to the arrival of fiber optics.

Wire internet employs the same RG-6 coaxial wire as cable television, but adds a device known as a cable modem to convert the signal for use by computers and home/business networks.

RG-6 is appropriate for HDTV transmissions since it has a 75-ohm resistance, an 18-gauge center conductor, quad-shielded variants, and the capacity to transmit signals up to 1.5GHz.

RG-59 has a resistance of 75 ohms and is used in older cable TV or satellite TV systems, as well as CCTV surveillance installations. RG-59 employs a 22-gauge center conductor and a single outer shield. It can handle transmissions up to 50 MHz in frequency.

HDMI Cable

A high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) is a connection and cable that enables the transmission of high-quality, high-bandwidth audio and video streams between devices. HDMI was initially intended for use with high-definition televisions, but it is now used on laptops, desktops, and monitors, in addition to HDTVs and HD projectors. HDMI cable types vary; however, older HDMI cables may not enable sophisticated features like 3D or resolutions higher than 1080p.


The current HDMI standard, version 2.1, supports video resolutions and refresh rates up to 10K, as well as 8K60 and 4K120 video resolutions. In its previous iteration, version 1.4b supported 1080p HDTV and resolutions up to 40962160 (often known as 4K x 2K), 48-bit color depths, numerous forms of uncompressed and compressed digital audio, 3D through HDMI, and Fast Ethernet. The most common HDMI port is Type A, which has 19 pins. It is used to get high-definition resolutions such as 19201080 (also known as 1080p or 1080i).

HDMI 1.3 and subsequent standards (Type C) define a mini-HDMI connection. It is smaller than the Type A plug but has the same 19-pin arrangement. The HDMI 1.4 specification defines a micro-HDMI connection (Type D), which uses the same 19-pin arrangement but in a connector the size of a micro-USB plug.

USB Cable

The USB interface is a plug-and-play interface that allows a computer to interact with peripherals and other devices. USB ports can be used to connect input devices like as keyboards, mice, and scanners; storage devices such as flash drives, optical discs, and external hard drives; output devices such as printers, multifunction devices, and even screens; and adapters for both wired and wireless networks. A USB hub connected to a single USB port (sometimes known as a root hub) allows the port to connect to several devices.

The USB-C connection is an industry standard for delivering data and power via a single cable. The USB-C connector is simple to connect (reverse; there is no up or down to the plug) and allows backward compatibility with USB 2.0 with the appropriate adaptor. The USB-C standard refers to the connecting type of cable rather than the data transmission rate. USB-C is capable of handling any data rate, from USB-2 to USB-3.1.

There are three USB port criteria on the A+ certification exam:

  • USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)
  • USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed); also known as USB 3.1 Generation 1
  • USB 3.1 (SuperSpeed+); also known as 3.1 Generation 2

Using multiport hubs and daisy-chaining hubs with any USB version, a single USB port on an add-on card or motherboard can handle up to 127 devices. USB devices are Plug and Play (PnP) devices that can be hot-swapped.

DisplayPort Cable

DisplayPort is a digital video interface that links a video source such as a computer monitor to a display device. It also has the ability to store music, USB drives, and other forms of data. In terms of resolution and audio/video capabilities, DisplayPort is similar to HDMI; however, there are two important differences:

  • DisplayPort video is a royalty-free video standard.
  • Displays with DisplayPort 1.2 and later can be daisy-chained.

DisplayPort, like Ethernet and USB, operates on a packet transport protocol. The clock is included in each packet delivered (in contrast to DVI and HDMI, which use separate clocking signals).


DisplayPort ports are not compatible with USB, DVI, or HDMI; however, devices that support dual-mode DisplayPort (DisplayPort++) technology can transfer HDMI or DVI data with the appropriate adapter.

In concept, DisplayPort has a maximum transmission distance of 3 meters over passive cable and 33 meters over active cable. Pins 19 and 20 of a DisplayPort connection are utilized for 3.3V, 500mA power on active cables. DisplayPort cables may be as long as 15 meters; however, the quality diminishes with length.

DisplayPort is now offered in three variants:

  • DisplayPort 1.1 has a maximum data transfer rate of 8.64Gbps per second (Gbps)
  • DisplayPort 1.2 introduces a mini-DisplayPort connector and 3D capabilities, as well as a maximum data transfer rate of 17.28Gbps
  • DisplayPort 1.3 supports 4K, 5K, and 8K UHD monitors and has a maximum data transfer rate of 32.4Gbps

DVI Cable

DVI was designed to be a VGA successor while staying compatible with VGA signals. It was developed as an industry standard for transmitting digital video content to display devices with resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels. DVI connections are often used by computer screens and projectors. The DVI connection is known by one of three names depending on the signals it supports:

  • DVI-A (analog only)
  • DVI-D (digital only)
  • DVI-I (both digital and analog)

VGA Cable

A video graphics array connection is a form of analog video output connector used in computers. A VGA card built for use with a traditional analog display includes a DB15F 15-pin female connection that links to the VGA cable’s DB15M male connector.

A VGA port and monitor may show a limitless number of colors by altering the intensities of red, green, and blue per dot (pixel) onscreen, but practical color restrictions are depending on video card memory and screen resolution.

The basic resolution of VGA is 640480 dots (horizontal x vertical dots). Super VGA, often known as 800600 VGA resolution, is an improved variant of VGA.

Read more >> CompTIA A+ Port Numbers – What You Should Know In 2023

What Are Cable Connectors?

comptia a+ cable types

Having enough of the type of cable that you will be utilizing is clearly vital when building a structured network cabling system, but you also need to make sure you have enough of the proper sorts of cable connections. A cable connector is a component that is attached to the end of a cable so that it may plug into an electrical system’s port or interface.

The majority of connections are either male or female; males have one or more exposed pins, while females have holes for those male pins to insert into. Although certain connections can be hermaphroditic and link to a similarly constructed connector.

Twisted-pair cable connections, coaxial cable connectors, and fiber-optic cable connectors are the three types of connectors used in a structured network cabling system, with twisted pair being the most often used nowadays.

Twisted-Pair Cable Connectors

Twisted-Pair cable connections, which contain modular jacks and plugs, are used by both unshielded and screened twisted-pair connectors. They are usually symmetrical, but they can also be ‘keyed,’ which means they have a unique form with a particular combination of slots, tabs, or pins. Modular connectors were initially created for telephone wire, but they now have numerous purposes and are available in three different widths with four, six, and eight-position combinations.

When connecting to punch-down blocks, patch panels, and wall plates, both unshielded and screened twisted-pair cables are often utilized using insulation displacement connectors (IDCs). When terminating these connectors, the wire is not stripped as with screw-down connections, but rather forced in between two facing points or blades that puncture the plastic insulation to make contact with the connector.

Coaxial Cable Connectors

The F-Series, N-Series, and BNC coaxial connectors are the three different types of coaxial cable connectors. When selecting coaxial cable connections, keep in mind the diameter of the coax cables that you will be utilizing to ensure that they fit!

F-Series Coaxial Connectors are typically used to connect satellite and cable television, as well as security cameras. These connectors include a central projecting conductor, a ferrule that is crimped onto the cable’s outer jacket, and a threaded collar to guarantee a secure connection.

N-Series Coaxial Connectors are very similar to F-Series Coaxial Connectors, except they additionally contain a pin that is placed over the central conductor and is weather-proof. As a result, this type of connection is employed for backbone applications as well as for outdoor usage.

Bayonet Neill-Concelman connection is called for its kind of locking mechanism and the connector’s creators, Paul Neill and Carl Concelman, and is a rapid but secure connect and disengage coaxial connector. The BNC connection is similar to the F-series in construction, with a center conductor and ferrule onto the cable’s outer shield, but it also contains a rotating collar that is meant to firmly attach to any female connector on another coaxial cable.

Cable connectors are physical devices that link two or more cables or connect a cable to a device. They are a necessary part of any cable-based system because they allow signals or data to be exchanged between devices or across networks. Different types of connectors are available in a range of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the application.

comptia a+ cable types

Fibre-Optic Cable Connectors

If you have only ever worked with twisted pair and coaxial cable and its connections, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are over 100 distinct types of fiber-optic cable connectors on the market. However, only a handful of them have routinely used today: ST, SC, FC, MT-RJ, and LC-style fiber-optic cable connections.

The vast majority of fiber-optic connections are male connectors’ or plugs with a projecting ferrule to retain and align the fibers in preparation for mating with a particular adapter or jack. The two are joined via bayonet, screw-on, or snap-in techniques. To send and receive data, two fibers are required, one for sending and one for receiving, thus fiber-optic connections can be simplex or duplex in design. The difference is merely how the fiber is terminated, and the simplex can only end one fiber, but the duplex can terminate two.

How To Troubleshoot Cable Issues?

comptia a+ cable types

A+ accreditation necessitates a thorough grasp of cable installation and maintenance methods, as these operations have a direct influence on the network’s efficiency and stability. Networks may run flawlessly with a professionally planned and performed installation, supported by constant maintenance, particularly troubleshooting skills, lowering the risk of future repairs or replacements.

Cable Installation Steps

  • Pre-Installation Planning: Before beginning the installation, it is critical to plan and coordinates the process, which includes determining the kind of cable needed, the length of the cable, and the routing path.
  • Installation Preparation: The following stage is to acquire the appropriate tools and equipment, such as cables, connectors, cable ties, and conduit after the plan is in place. Inspect the wires for any damage or flaws before installation.
  • Cable Installation: The installation method varies depending on the kind of cable and the environment, but it normally consists of drawing the cable through the conduit, connecting the wires to the relevant equipment, and fastening the cables in place. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended practices to ensure a safe and secure installation.
  • Testing and Resolution: Once completed, it is critical to test the connections to ensure good connectivity and data transfer. In the event of an issue, troubleshooting should be performed to remedy the issue.

Troubleshooting Techniques

When troubleshooting cable difficulties, it is critical to be aware of the most typical cable issues that might occur. Cable damage or wear and tear, loose connections or defective connectors, misconfigured or damaged network settings, interference or noise on the cable line, and incompatible or malfunctioning devices or equipment are examples of these.

1. Unplug the modem, then plug it back in

It may appear straightforward, but it is preferable to begin by investigating the most basic possible answers. The most frequent of them is cabling. We cannot count the number of times a serious network issue was shown to be nothing more than a disconnected network cable. If you could previously browse the web but now can’t check to be sure you didn’t unplug a cord while cleaning and forgot to put it back in.

unplugged modem

Once this is confirmed, we may proceed with the procedures below to reset the modem and hopefully address your issue:

  1. If you have an open internet browser, close it.
  2. Unplug the power cord from the modem.
  3. Count until 15, then turn off the modem.
  4. Reconnect it.
  5. Allow the modem two minutes to establish the connection.
  6. Launch the web browser. Then we try to open a trustworthy website, such as

If we are still unable to connect you, there is a chance that a temporary service outage has occurred. With solution 2, we will find out for you.

2. Check for a temporary service interruption

If your service has not been disrupted due to non-payment, there may be an internet outage in your region. We’ll wait 15 to 30 minutes before trying to connect to the internet again. Then we’ll get in touch with your internet service provider.

If a known outage has occurred, your ISP will normally have a recorded message. If no downtime occurs, we can proceed to the next solution.

3. Refresh the computer’s internet signal (IP address)

When you connect to the internet, your computer is allocated an internet protocol address (IP address), which is normally different each time you connect. If you are having sluggish or no signal, you may be able to remedy the issue by updating your computer’s IP address.

Refreshing your IP address is quite beneficial for reconnecting your computer to the internet or the local LAN network. Renewing an IP address can also aid in the resolution of an IP address conflict. If you have DSL or cable broadband, you most likely have a dynamic IP address, which means your computer’s internet address changes every time you log on. DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol) assigns your IP address.

However, this mechanism may not always operate as dynamically as its name indicates. At times, it does not sign a new address upon boot-up, leaving you with the prior address. Because a new IP address is required to access the internet, when you open your browser, all you see is an error message claiming that your machine is unable to connect to the internet.


4. How to get a new IP address assigned

Whether your system connects directly through a modem or through a router, the first step in obtaining an IP address is to right-click the network icon in the system tray. We choose Repair from the resultant option. Depending on how your machine is linked, Windows will automatically flush the old IP addresses and request new ones from your network or service provider.

For Mac OS, go to the Apple menu and select System Preferences, then Network. We choose the network service that requires an IP address renewal from the list on the left. We select Advanced, then TCP/IP, and finally Renew DHCP Lease.

Most of the time, this works perfectly. However, if it does not, we will have to manually troubleshoot the system, and here is where Nerds on Call’s IT professionals will assist you in getting your connection up and running.

5. Test network connectivity with ping

Another useful network troubleshooting tool is the Ping command, which is useful for checking your computer’s connectivity. Pinging transmits specific-size data packets to a host (a web address or any IP address).

This command calculates the round-trip time to echo the packets back and identifies any packet loss, similar to how submarines use acoustic pings to assess distances to undersea objects.

Pinging your computer’s local loopback address is the first thing we attempt. If we get packets back, we know your network adapter is functioning properly. Then we ping a certain external address, such as ping If the packets return, your internet connection is restored, and you should be able to surf again.

If we do not receive a response from an external site, we attempt to ping the IP address of your default gateway. If you ping the default gateway and get no answer, it implies your computer is unable to interact with your network, modem, or both. In such a scenario, we will need to do a hardware check on your modem and/or router, as well as the cords connecting them.

6. Complete a physical checkup of your hardware

If software troubleshooting does not resolve the issue, the issue may be physical. If your computer is directly linked to your DSL or cable modem, we will ensure that all wires are securely secured and that all modem lights are on. In addition, we will check the ethernet port on your computer to ensure that the link light is turned on; this will be a solid or flashing light located where the ethernet connection from the modem attaches to the computer.

If the connection light is off but the ethernet cable is hooked into a powered-on computer, it is a clear indicator that the ethernet cable needs to be replaced. If the connection indicator is illuminated and you are not connected, we will turn off all of your network devices, wait a minute, and then turn them back on. To accomplish this efficiently, we will follow the particular order mentioned in solution 3.

comptia a+ cable types

Cable Maintenance Tips

  • Cable Cleaning: Dust and debris buildup can hinder cable performance. Regular cleaning can maintain optimal performance.
  • Connection Verification: Loose connections can result in data loss. Regular checks should be conducted to confirm all connections are tight and secure.
  • Proper Cable Storage: Improper storage can cause damage to the cables and impact performance. Store cables in a dry, cool place, avoiding excessive bending or twisting.
  • Damaged Cable Replacement: Damaged cables can cause performance problems and data loss. Regular inspections should be done to identify and replace damaged cables promptly.


comptia a+ cable types

What should I use to check if the cable is working?

Plug the cable into an ethernet cable tester to determine if it sends a signal satisfactorily. If you don’t have a cable tester, there are a few alternative troubleshooting steps you may take to determine whether the issue is with the cable or your modem.

What causes cable issues?

Excessive heat or cold, chemicals, environmental conditions, and sheath abrasion are all causes for the sheathing material to disintegrate. All of these problems can eventually lead to electrical failure because the insulated cores are no longer shielded by the sheathing as intended.

What is the best way to manage cables in a server room?

Cable hangers can be useful for organizing cabling within server racks. Cable trays, which may be installed on the floor or overhead in the ceiling, are ideal for routing cables from one location to another.

What are the standards for testing cables?

Final Words

In conclusion, understanding CompTIA A+ cable types is critical for anybody in the IT business. Having a comprehensive grasp of cable connection types, connections, and troubleshooting procedures may save you time, money, and frustrations while troubleshooting network issues, installing new equipment, or maintaining a server room. You will be better prepared to handle any circumstance if you’re familiar with the various sorts of cables and connections.

Remember to properly maintain and test your cables to verify they are working properly, and always use the best cable management techniques to keep your work orderly and safe. With this information, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient IT professional capable of working with CompTIA A+ cable types with confidence.