Answered! What’s the Main Difference between Flat and Round Ethernet Cables

When you are setting up a wired network, the internet cabling is the first thing you want to set up the computer room or lounge room. Most people are familiar with the common type of Ethernet cables like Cat5e, Cat6, Cat7, Cat8 cables and many more.

But, most of us don’t know some Ethernet cables can be divided into flat ethernet cable and round ethernet cable according to cable shape. Here, we will talk about flat and round cables and their differences.

What is Flat Ethernet Cable?

The flat ethernet cable is a flat form of copper wire with twisted pairs arranged side by side rather than square shape. Most of the ethernet cables are unshielded because it's very difficult to place an overall shield on a flat Ethernet cable.

This makes external EMI protection of flat Ethernet cable not readily available because the natural shielding tendency provides protection against external EMI for round cables.

What is Round Ethernet Cable?

The round ethernet cable is round form insulated wire that contains some layers of filler substances to keep original circular shape it helps in minimizing the heating because of friction. These filler materials protect the cord against some outer elements. In data centers and telecom rooms, the round electrical wires are commonly utilized than the flat ones.

Going further, let's talk about differences between Flat Ethernet Cable vs. Round Ethernet Cable.

Telecommunications industry uses both types of cables and each of them have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Cable design:

The round cables with some layers and filler substances are durable and maximize space which is inside the cross sectional area. This small area allows cables to fit in the panel and machine openings.

On the other hand, flat Ethernet cables do not include any protective filler, which in turn reduces the weight and cost of the cable itself. Other than flat ethernet cables they provide more consistency in electrical equality of conductors.


The flat cable design is for permanent installation and is not recommended for standard patch leads. This is one of the major reasons behind most standard category cables including Cat6, Cat7, and Cat8 ethernet cables.

Flat cables require more maintenance compared to round wires. They cannot provide high uptime as round cables provide.

Insulation and Attenuation:

Flat cables use similar insulation as electrical properties. The flat ethernet cables get affected by interference and so you cannot prefer them for long distances. Most of the time, attenuation is worse when using flat ethernet cables because of its increase in electromagnetic interference.

Now, comes a big question: which type of cable one must choose?

We can say flat cables provide consistency in electrical equality of conductors. Additionally, the lack of fillers, insulating tapes and other material reduces the weight and volume of flat wires. There is also a higher density of cross section connectivity of wire to cable than the round ethernet cables.

Due to all these reasons flat ethernet cables have less durability and high maintenance cost compared to round ones. Flat wires are less sustainable than the round ones and they do not have any protective filler around them.

The modern flat cables design is such that it overcomes all the missing functionality and features of flat ethernet. Flat ethernet cables are also cheaper. Hence, it's better to choose the current flat ethernet cable than round networking.

But, if you need high speed networking setup for your data centers then you can choose round ethernet cables.

Once you decide on the wired setup you also have to look at what you are plugging the cable in. Some computers don’t have an ethernet port anymore, let alone other necessary ports. So a big part of your setup is a small USB hub that has all the right ports.

But even if you are not using a laptop, there are chances that your monitor has ports on the back. This can be quite inconvenient when plugging in peripherals. Just because you have a wired setup doesn’t mean you want to show all the messy cables. You can mount your monitor or push it against the wall and connect a USB hub to it. This gives you all the ports in the front and cable management becomes a breeze! If you want to know more about Ethernet cables then read All Types of Ethernet Cables for more information.