With an increasing demand for telecom and data networks, the devices and tools required also are in demand. While there are various important networking devices such as switches, multiplexers, media converters, and so on, cables are an important part of any network. Nowadays, with advancements in network technologies pertaining to Ethernet and Gigabit networks and with the advent of fiber optics, it has become possible to extend the geographical distance of data transmission. So, a network cable runs through various outdoor portions, some of which may be topographically challenging. Such outdoor portions require cable assemblies and wire harnesses. While both these terms are used interchangeably, they are actually different. This post discusses the details of a cable harness assembly and a wire harness assembly as well as their differences.

Difference Between Cable and Wire

While both cables and wires are good conductors of electricity, there are some basic differences.

  • A wire comes as a single strand, while a cable comprises two or more strands of wires combined into one unit.
  • Both are made of conductor metals such as copper, aluminum, or brass.
  • A cable which has a bunch of wires has an external non-conductor covering for protection and insulation. Wires may or may not have an insulating cover, depending on the requirement.

What is a Cable Harness Assembly?

A cable assembly is a group of cables or a bunch of wires wrapped in non-conductor heavy duty materials such as vinyl or some thermoplastic. Since, they are designed for use in outdoor environments, this tough insulation material protects them from moisture, heat, rain, dust, and so on. They keep the cables organized.

What is a Wire Harness Assembly?

A wire harness assembly is also a group of wires or cables which help improve connectivity and keeps the wires in the right place and organized. This also has an insulating cover made of a non-conductor plastic or rubber material. However, it is mainly used to keep the wires together and protects from dust, short circuits, and varied parameters. A wire harness assembly is usually used in indoor environments and its capacity to hold the number of cables is lesser than a cable harness assembly.

cable-assembly-and-wire-harness

Differences Between Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies

Here are some differentiating factors between cable and wire harness assemblies.

  • While wire harnesses have a lesser capacity than a cable harness, the former is a cost effective option. However, this would depend on the network demands and the number and types of cables and wires required.
  • Cable harnesses are useful in outdoor spaces of networks with high speed and complex designs used in mission critical applications in defense, aerospace, healthcare, metallurgy, and so on.
  • While wire harnesses are used indoors, they help keep your electrical units well organized, with cables in one place. Also, they can be cut and designed to the required length, and fit in small spaces.
  • Cable assemblies are more durable, can handle a huge amount of electric current, and are resistant to harsh environmental conditions. Wire harnesses are mildly resistant to heat, dust, and so on as the sheath on the wire is made of some synthetic yarn such as nylon or an electrical tape not typically meant for heat or water resistance.
  • Some portion of cable assemblies may be open, which is then covered with a protective sleeve or jacket which offers stress resistance. This cable assembly is connected to a port unit which can be directly plugged to an electricity source.
  • On the other hand, wires endings are always stripped to expose the conductor metal inside. This is then entangled with the wires from the device or terminal to be connected to complete the circuit.
  • In a wire harness, each cable is insulated by a non-conductor sheath, and these sheathed cables are then put together into a compound structure. This makes it easy to pick out a single cable without disturbing the rest.

Both cable and wire harnesses make installation and maintenance simple and organized, and can be easily replaced if required. If you are looking to upgrade your network or need a cable and wire harness assembly for your application, ensure you source it from the right manufacturer and supplier. They must be experienced and able to understand your exact requirements. Suntronic Inc. is an experienced designer and manufacturer of various types of complex cable and wire harness assemblies such as ribbon, coaxial, fiber optic assemblies as well as custom cable harnesses.