Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) : UTP is the copper media, inherited from telephony, which is being used for increasingly higher data rates, and is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for horizontal wiring, the connection between, and including, the outlet and the termination in the communication closet.
A Twisted Pair is a pair of copper wires, with diameters of 0.4-0.8 mm, twisted together and wrapped with a plastic coating. The twisting increases the electrical noise immunity, and reduces the bit error rate (BER) of the data transmission. A UTP cable contains from 2 to 4200 twisted pairs.
UTP is a very flexible, low cost media, and can be used for either voice or data communications. Its greatest disadvantage is the limited bandwidth, which restricts long distance transmission with low error rates.
Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) : STP is heavier and more difficult to manufacture, but it can greatly improve the signaling rate in a given transmission scheme Twisting provides cancellation of magnetically induced fields and currents on a pair of conductors. Magnetic fields arise around other heavy current-carrying conductors and around large electric motors. Various grades of copper cables are available, with Grade 5 being the best and most expensive.
Grade 5 copper, appropriate for use in 100-Mbps applications, has more twists per inch than lower grades. More twists per inch means more linear feet of copper wire used to make up a cable run, and more copper means more money.
Shielding provides a means to reflect or absorb electric fields that are present around cables. Shielding comes in a variety of forms from copper braiding or copper meshes to aluminized.
Mylar tape wrapped around each conductor and again around the twisted pair.