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The Difference Between Straight Through, Crossover, And Rollover Cables

There are generally three main types of networking cables: straight-through, crossover, and rollover cables. Each cable type has a distinct use, and should not be used in place of another. So how do you know which cable to use for what you need?

The Purpose of Straight-Through Cables

Straight-through cables get their name from how they are made. Out of the 8 pins that exist on both ends of an Ethernet cable, each pin connects to the same pin on the opposite side. Review the diagram below for a visual example:

straight through cables

Notice how each wire corresponds to the same pin. This kind of wiring diagram is part of the 568A standard. The 568B standard achieves the same thing, but through different wiring. It is generally accepted to use the 568A standard as pictured, since it allows compatibility with certain telephone hardware- while 568B doesn’t.

Straight-through cables are primarily used for connecting unlike devices. A straight-through cable is typically used in the following situations:

Use a straight-through cable when:


  • 1. Connecting a router to a hub
  • 2. Connecting a computer to a swtich
  • 3. Connecting a LAN port to a switch, hub, or computer

Note that some devices such as routers will have advanced circuitry, which enables them to use both crossover and straight-through cables. In general, however, straight-through cables will not connect a computer and router because they are not “unlike devices.”

The Purpose of Crossover Cables

Crossover cables are very similar to straight-through cables, except that they have pairs of wires that crisscross. This allows for two devices to communicate at the same time. Unlike straight-through cables, we use crossover cables to connect like devices. A visual example can be seen below:

crossover cable

Notice how all we did was switch the orange-white and green-white wires, and then the orange and green wires. This will enable like devices to communicate. Crossover cables are typically used in the following situations:

Use a crossover cable when:


  • 1. Connecting a computer to a router
  • 2. Connecting a computer to a computer
  • 3. Connecting a router to a router
  • 4. Connecting a switch to a switch
  • 5. Connecting a hub to a hub

While the rule of thumb is to use crossover cables with like devices, some devices do not follow standards. Others provide support for both types of cables. However, there is still something that both crossover and straight-through cables can’t do.

The Purpose of Rollover Cables

Rollover cables, like other cabling types, got their name from how they are wired. Rollover cables essentially have one end of the cable wired exactly opposite from the other. This essentially “rolls over” the wires- but why would we need to do such a thing? Rollover cables, also called Yost cables, usually connect a device to a router or switch’s console port. This allows a programmer to make a connection to the router or switch, and program it as needed. A visual example can be seen below:

rollover cable

Notice that each wire is simply “rolled over.” These types of cables are generally not used very much, so are usually colored differently from other types of cables.


There Are 37 Responses So Far. »

  1. [...] More Info: The Difference Between Straight Through, Crossover, And Rollover Cables [...]

  2. [...] More Info: The Difference Between Straight Through, Crossover, And Rollover Cables [...]

  3. thank to u. i am searching for theis. i got it after long time

  4. A definition of what “like” and “unlike” devices would be helpful. Is it a matter of what OSI stack level they operate on, or something else?

  5. Good information. I really need all this for my assignment, which I supposed to submit tomorrow! Thanks.

  6. Thanks bro its great stuff

  7. Beautiful solution to a nagging question. Will be an assignment to my ccna class

  8. The main point in these definitions is this computer and router are not unlike devices so you can use crossover as well as straight cable to connect them is brilliant it help me a lot.

  9. this is very nice…my boss would have made me look like a fool

  10. thank you so much! loveet! :D

  11. i can now say i am convinced with the differentiation.

  12. hi
    how to connect a 24 port d link switch to 15 computer and one server and router modem dsl

    then how to pair cables

  13. this is one of the best materials i’ve seen on cabling.i recommend it for beginners in networking.

  14. Very nice, just read it a day before interviews and it helped big time!!!

  15. Note:
    If there is auto MDI/MDI-X feature support on the switch, hub, network card or other network devices, you don’t have to use crossover cable in the situation which I mentioned above. This is because crossover function would be enabled automatically when it’s needed.

  16. Hi,
    Its nice I read through the differences of the three and where to use each but please there is still need to have more clear illustrations of the cables.
    thanks

  17. Thank you very much for this wonderful piece of art!

  18. hello. this is brea :) uhmm can i ask whats the definition of STRAIGHT ETHERNET CABLE? is this the meaning? >Connecting a computer to a swtich . thanks ^^

  19. Hey. It’s kinda confusing. From the CCNA’s diagram, it shows two T658B for straight through, while yours are two T658A.

  20. Simple approach to explain the type of cabling. good work, thanks!

  21. Good stuff for my assigment

  22. T568A and T568B is the standard of assignment of eight colored twisted pair cable. Both have different sequence of eight colored wires.

  23. the information was so helpful since the explanations are short but very clear!

  24. Thank you, was confused but now everything makes sense now… Was looking for this material for a long time.

  25. swtich spelled incorrectly. But otherwise, this is a great article.

  26. this document really helps me to differentiate the cables. nice idea indeed

  27. Good Stuff.. I was expecting this kind of explanation for couple of months. Thanks for your sharing..

  28. I find you articles quite concise and to the point. However, your colour codings of all 3 cabling types are quite different from my classroom ones

  29. The best material I’ve ever seen in defining Cables. I like it.

  30. If you guys read the first paragraph of this article, it? clearly explained that they used the ¨A¨ instead of the ¨B¨ standard because of the compatibility to telephony systems. for all of you taking CCNA exams, just switch green and orange, and VOILA! you passed your test!

    Great article by the Way!!!

  31. Excellent
    Even Cisco dosn’t bit this

    I can now see the difference between straight-ttrough and crossover.

    Thanks alot

  32. what if I interchanges the color ISO codes of the cabling can it have any serious negative effects on the flow of data being transmitted?

  33. Thank you now i have used a crossover my internet works

  34. Raising the dead there hey Bernistein?

  35. “It is generally accepted to use the 568A standard as pictured, since it allows compatibility with certain telephone hardware- while 568B doesn’t.” – Explain better this ! HOW ?

  36. It is generally accepted to use the 568A standard as pictured, since it allows compatibility with certain telephone hardware- while 568B doesn’t.” – Explain better this ! HOW ?

  37. why we use crossover cable to connect computer with router

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