Twisted Pair Only

What Does Twisted Pair Only Mean?

Twisted Pair Only (TPO) is the network connection established using twisted pair cable with an Ethernet Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) card.


Ethernet over twisted pair makes use of twisted-pair cables for the Ethernet network’s physical layer. Other Ethernet cable standards use optical fiber or coaxial cable. Versions developed during the 1980s featured StarLAN followed by 10BASE-T. During the 1990s, cost-effective, high-speed technologies began to arise.

At present, the most widely used are 1000BASE-T (gigabit Ethernet; 1 Gbit/s) and 100BASE-TX (fast Ethernet; 100 Mbit/s). All these standards use 8P8C connectors.

Techopedia Explains Twisted Pair Only

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards association authorized numerous versions of Ethernet over twisted pair technology.

The initial versions were StarLAN and LattisNet. StarLAN was standardized in 1986, at one megabit per second (1mbps) whereas LattisNet was developed in January, 1987, at 10 megabits per second (10mbps). Both these standards were developed prior to the10 BASE-T standard that was published during 1990 as IEEE 802.3i.

The initial standards were not compatible with the 10BASE-T standard. Implementing twisted pair cabling for Ethernet (in a star topology) tackled various flaws of the preceding standards: Twisted pair cables could possibly be employed more generally and were already used in several offices, minimizing overall expenses.

The centralized star topology featured a more common technique of cabling when compared with the bus in earlier standards and was much simpler to manage. Employing point-to-point links rather than a shared bus significantly refined troubleshooting and was less vulnerable to failure.

Substituting cheap repeater hubs with more sophisticated switching hubs presented a sensible upgrade path. Combining various speeds over a single network turned into reality with the introduction of Fast Ethernet.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.