Difference Between Solid Conductor And Stranded Conductor

The networking cables are available in different structures and configurations. Each of them accompanies various advantages and disadvantages. Similarly, they come with different types of conductor wires as well. The solid conductor wires and the stranded conductor wires are the most common types used in them.

The buyers need to understand the difference between these conductor wires. This helps them in choosing the right Ethernet cable for their network. Especially, when we talk about Cat5e and Category 6 Ethernet cables, the importance of the type of conductor wires used in them increased to a great extent.

Each Ethernet cable has different operating needs as they are built for different environments and usages. Therefore, it is better to understand the working of an Ethernet cable before making a buying decision. This will positively impact the performance of the networks.    

In the below article, we will discuss the Solid VS Stranded copper conductor wires used in different Ethernet cables. The advantages and disadvantages they bring with them.

What are Solid and Stranded Conductor Wires?

Each of them is manufactured for different purposes. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the difference between them. It allows network designers to install the right cable at the right place.

Solid Conductor Wires

Solid conductor wires are also known as non-stranded wires. They are made from a solid piece of copper or any other conductive material. Pure copper wires are most likely to be used in Ethernet cables as it is considered one of the most efficient conductor material. Other material wires are also used in some cables depending on the manufacturer’s choice.

Solid Ethernet cables are very popular among network engineers due to their high-performance abilities. These cables are usually installed inside the walls of a house. With that, they are the best option to be installed in the plenum and riser spaces of the buildings.

Some well-known solid copper Ethernet cables are Cat6a plenum and Cat5e riser. There are many others as well from which you can select one according to your needs and requirements. 

Stranded Conductor Wires

They are made from many small-gauge conductor wires bundled together. These small-gauge wires can be made from pure copper material or other conductor materials can also be used for this purpose. The preferred stranded cable comes with pure copper wires. These wires are bundled together to form a single large conductor wire that is used in the Ethernet cables for signal transmission.

The Stranded Ethernet cables are popular due to their flexibility feature. They are better to use outside the building structures. For example, the cables used between the routers and the computers or from keystone jacks to the routers.

The stranded cables are highly recommended to be used in the patch cables as they get to bend and twist regularly. The stranded wires do not get damaged quickly by this bending and twisting in comparison to solid cables. The best examples we see in the stranded Ethernet cables are the Cat6 stranded version and Cat5e stranded version.

Key Dissimilarities – Solid VS Stranded

Both these cables possess a unique structure and design. Users need to evaluate them properly before buying. The one that is more advantageous for them should be bought. One wrong decision impacts badly on the performance of the network.

Flexibility Feature

While designing a networking structure, the flexibility of the cables plays an important role. A flexible cable makes the installation process easier. The solid conductor cables come with less flexibility as compared to stranded conductor cables.

This is the reason why it is recommended to install solid conductor cables inside the walls, plenum spaces, and riser spaces of the building where they do not need to bend a lot or again and again. They come with less flexibility and suppleness.  

If you are using an Ethernet cable outside the building structures then stranded cables should be used as they are more flexible and pliable by nature. They can handle the regular bending and twist in a better way.


The stranded conductor cables are much sturdier and more durable in bending and twisting scenarios. The solid conductor cables can get easily damaged while bending and twisting. The rest depends on the outer jacket type used on the cables.      

Data Transfer Capabilities

The pure copper solid cables are capable of transferring signals at longer distances more efficiently in comparison to pure copper-stranded cables. The solid cables are made of a single piece of copper wire that comes with less DC resistance. The electrical signals move on the surface of the conductor wires. The solid copper cable provides them the best route to travel to longer distances without any resistance.

Whereas, the stranded copper conductor cable has few air gaps between the copper strands. These air gaps cause signal distortion. This is why the signals cannot be delivered to longer distances smoothly in stranded conductor cables. They are recommended to use up to a distance of 75 feet only. Above that, you must go for solid conductor cables for better performance. The best use of stranded conductor cables is in the patch cables.    

Which is the Right Choice?

The network engineers much analyze their needs and requirements first then they should decide which Ethernet cables suit them the best. Selection of the right Ethernet cable is a trickier task than people thought.

Selecting Solid Conductor Cable

If you are planning to install the Ethernet cables through the walls or plenum spaces or riser spaces of the buildings then the solid conductor cables are the right option for you. They cover longer distances with high-efficiency rates.

The main concern of any network always remains its speed and consistency. The solid conductor cables provide you with high data transfer speeds up to longer distances consistently. You will not face signal dropping issues when using solid conductor cables in your networks. You need to make sure the solid conductor cables come with pure copper material. This material improves the performance of the cables to a great extent.

Selecting Stranded Conductor Cable

These cables are best to use when you are planning to connect your routers with the network devices or make connections between the keystone jacks and the routers. They are good against regular bending and twisting. Therefore, stranded cables work perfectly at such locations as they are flexible and supple by nature. Stranded cables are not recommended to use at longer distances. Their efficiency in delivering signals at longer distances is not as good as solid conductor cables.