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What is Flat Ethernet Cables? Is It Good or Bad? [Explained]

In terms of shape, there are mainly two types of Ethernet cables, no1 is Round Ethernet cables, and no2 is Flat Ethernet cables.

So you might be confused with the concept of Flat Ethernet cables? If yes, then here I’ll clear all of your doubts about Flat Ethernet cable, like: what is the usage, why you should use it or not and more.

So, What is Flat Ethernet Cables?

A Flat Ethernet cable is the flat form of Ethernet cables, and the same copper wire with twisted pairs is placed side by side instead of a square shape [found on round ethernet cables]. 90% of Flat Ethernet cables are unshielded and don’t have much protection as it is challenging to arrange a shield.

Thus, Flat Ethernet can catch electromagnetic fields from neighboring pairs and often get hot [if the cable is good quality, you don’t have to worry].

What is Flat Ethernet Cables

That’s why people usually prefer a round shape rather than the Flat one; still, Flat Ethernet cables are also good for many usages.

The Flat shape can help you out in so many ways. Let’s look at why you should use it and why you should not.

How Flat Ethernet Cables Works?

Flat Ethernet cables work quite the same as round, but there are some construction differences between these two types of cables.

Flat Ethernet cables are made in a Flat shape rather than a round shape [due to some advantages], and as we know, inside of an Ethernet cable, there are 4 twisted pairs of copper wires to protect the electromagnetic radiation from each other in a square shape with some protections.

But in Flat cables, there is not much space to install the extra protection to eliminate the Electromagnetic radiation from each wire, which can often cause crosstalk and heat.

Note: Nowadays, there are plenty of Flat Ethernet cables shielding their copper wire in a great way to eliminate the issue of Electromagnetic radiation for a better and stable connection.

Flat Ethernet Cables vs Round Ethernet Cables
[Image Credit: community.fs.com]

In this image, you can see in the Round Cable; there is a white round protection between each pair, which is protecting or eliminating the extra radiation from each cable. It makes sure the radiation from pair 1 does not go to pair 2, 3, or 4.

And this little protection can provide an extra amount of stable connection than the flat one.

Advantages of Flat Ethernet Cables

There are plenty of advantages or benefits of using Flat Ethernet cables too, they are:

1. Easy to Install in Small Space

Because of the flat shape, it can fit anywhere. Especially if you have a small space in your house, office or other places, then this flat cable can help you a lot.

A flat shape will hold the surface and stay there for a long time. So it is easy to manage whether you’re in the office, working from home, or playing games.

People also claim that it never takes much time to install the cable due to its shape fully.

2. Cheap Price & Light Weight

The flat cable doesn’t have extra insulation or protection, and because of that, the price of the cable is low, and the cable is lightweight.

Recently, I’ve reviewed some flat ethernet cables and saw the same their prices are really cheap compared to round cables.

However, those not installed insulation is not good for a good connection.

4. Best to use Under Carpet

Most people like the flat shape because it can easily fit inside the carpet on your floor. No one can quickly identify what is inside of your carpet.

This will also make sure your floor or room looks stylish and clean.

Similarly, if you have a carpet in your room, then this flat one is more suitable than the round one.

Disadvantages of Flat Ethernet Cables

There are couple of disadvantages of using this flat Ethernet cables, they are:

1. Not much Durable

There is not much space inside of a flat ethernet cable, and because of that, there are also not many heavy layers to protect your cable for a long time.

Thus, flat ethernet cables need more maintenance than round one. But your little extra care can make this cable last longer.

Due to its less durability, it is best to have this flat ethernet cable when you’re installing for permanently.

2. Medium Stability

As mentioned earlier, due to its less protection, it can be affected by EMI, which can compromise your connection’s stability.

However, this is not an issue that happens every time or every day; a good-quality flat cable can eliminate this issue for you.

But, as a note for heavy gamers and streamers, I would recommend round one instead of this flat cable. For regular usage, it is more than enough.

3. Not a best choice for Long Distance

Flat Ethernet cables come with a thin standard cable which can decrease the performance if the length of the cable is too long.

But, a suitable cable from a well-known brand can give you good performance without caring whatever the length is. Recently I’ve seen a Flat ethernet cable from “Jadaol” and people have stated that they are using more than 150 feet long cable without any issues.

Hence, you also have to check the cable’s quality while buying.

4. Less Insulated or Protected

The flat ethernet cable is not much insulated because of the small space, which can cause various issues while using the internet.

Flat Ethernet cables have insulation similar to standard cables, affecting EMI. Because of this problem people don’t like to use this for long-distance.

Is Flat Ethernet better than Round Ethernet Cable?

No, Round Ethernet cables are better for overall usage, but Flat Ethernet cables are suitable for specific usages. The way I’ve already explained the advantages and disadvantages of using Flat Ethernet cables, I don’t think I’ve to suggest anything to you.

You can have a deep and prolonged look at the advantages and disadvantages to understand what you should use.

But, to summarize, let me tell you; Flat ethernet is good for normal usages, regular gaming, small spaces, easy installation, low price, long term or permanent installation.

Flat Ethernet cables are not that great for heavy gaming, streaming, durability, long-distance, installation and uninstall, and others.

Note: If you sill want to use some Flat Ethernet cables then check for good brands and quality.

So whether you’re using Cat-5, Cat-6, Cat-7, it is better to have a Round one rather than Flat.

Are Flat Ethernet Good for Gaming?

As an advisor, I never suggest using Flat Ethernet cables for heavy usages like Gaming, Streaming, etc. It would be best to use Round Ethernet cables for your gaming because it is more reliable and stable while performing long gaming sessions.

Flat cables can also damage without much care and then cause packet loss and other frustrating issues.

But, currently, in the market, some brands are providing good flat ethernet cables that can manage heavy usage, but just to stay safe, using a round ethernet is best.

Also, if you’re on a budget, you can go for flat ethernet, as flat ethernet is cheap, but it is often better to spend extra money on a good product.

Do Flat Ethernet Cords gives Slower Internet Speed?

NO! Flat Ethernet cables are not slower in any way; the speed of an Ethernet cable depends on the category of the Ethernet cable [like Cat-6, Cat-7, Cat-8]. So the higher category you have, the more speed it will give, whether it is a Flat Cable or Round.

So if you plan to buy a Flat Ethernet cable, there is no issue with speed. You can perform gaming, tv, or whatever thing you want.

The only issue you can have with stable connection and durability and most of the other things are OK with Flat Ethernet cables.

Is Flat Ethernet Cable Shielded?

NO! Most of the Flat Ethernet cables are not shielded. Because inside of a Flat Ethernet cable, there is not much space to add a shield and other protective layers.

And because of that, it can have connection issues with in such areas with high EMI. So a shielded cable is best to use without any problems in those areas.

Although presently, some brands are using some kind of protection within the small place as it is challenging to install a shield inside a small and flat cable.

How Wide is Flat Ethernet Cable?

The wideness of a Flat Ethernet cable depends on which cable you are using. Various brands and various cables can have various wideness.

An Ethernet cable’s average width or thickness is between 1.4mm to 2.5mm or 3mm. It can be more or less than that. But most of the cables I’ve seen are near about that dimension.

If you check amazon you can find many flat ethernet with 1mm to 2.5 mm of wideness.

Here’s a Flat Ethernet cable from TBMax on amazon, and its dimension is about 4.9 x 4.9 x 0.48 inches. It can vary a bit from the amazon dimension and the real one, but not that much.

Do Flat Ethernet Cables have Twisted Pairs?

YES! Flat Ethernet cables have 4 twisted pairs like the regular ethernet cables or round ethernet cables. So you don’t have to worry about the EMI [Electromagnetic] compatibility.

Mainly, twisted pairs are a wiring process to eliminate Electromagnetic radiation between two conductors of a single circuit.

So it is vital to have the twisted pairs in any ethernet cables as those cables react as the antenna and have Electromagnetic radiation.