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Whether you need to connect two devices to one another, connect a computer or peripheral to a network, or power up and charge your devices, you will need computer cables to accomplish it. Knowing which type of cable serves what purpose is important, although it can be confusing.

A USB Computer Cable Connects Devices to One Another
USB, or universal serial bus, cables are plug-and-play connections between peripherals like a keyboard, external storage drive, digital camera, or printer to a desktop or laptop computer. They provide fast and accurate data transfer by streamlining network connections. Because they draw their working power from the computer to which they are connected, they save energy and help lower electrical cost. They are available in many different lengths, and USB extension cables let you work around a variety of office configurations and furniture layouts.

Connect Apple® Devices With a Lightning® Computer Cable
Lightning computer cables are proprietary connectors used to connect iPhones®, iPads® and iPods® to compatible USB ports on computers, external monitors, battery chargers, peripherals, and power adapters. They allow synchronizing between devices and charging. They are also available in different lengths, including short ones for travel or longer cables that don't clutter desks. Some may be MFi certified, and you can choose between standard USB and USB-C computer cables.

A Monitor Computer Cable Handles Display Functions
Use monitor cables to connect a computer or laptop to a display monitor or television, or connect two monitors to one another. Some older monitors may still use VGA cords, which carry an analog RGB signal between devices. Laptops may also use a mini VGA cable.

Other devices may work with DVI cables, which carry both analog and digital signals. With the proper adapter, they work with older VGA-style monitors, as well.

HDMI cables carry standard, enhanced, and high-definition signals between an audio or video source and the monitor or display device with a single cable.

A Patch or Ethernet® Cable Joins Devices to Networks
Ethernet and patch cables provide universal compatibility for connecting a computer to routers, switch boxes, network-connected storage devices, and other network peripherals, such as shared printers. They carry broadband signals between the routing components. They may be either solid or stranded computer cables. A solid cable is usually more efficient and less vulnerable to electrical interference, while stranded cables are less prone to damage, making them especially well-suited for use while traveling. Some may transfer data at speeds as high as 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps).

Fuel Devices With a Power Computer Cable
Power cables not only connect devices to a grounded power source, like a wall outlet, they join mobile devices and rechargeable batteries to chargers. Some also act as separate power sources, and many are compatible across different brands. Other features of some models include temperature controls to prevent overheating or power surges, LED charge status lights, and auto shut-offs for safety. Most include tangle-free cords and are available in a variety of lengths.

What Is the Difference Between USB-A and USB-C Computer Cables?
USB-C cables represent the next generation of technology. They are about one-third the size of USB-A cables and are flatter. A reversible design also makes them easier to use than older styles, as the ends of the cables are the same, eliminating the need to match a specific end to a device.

Is a Patch Computer Cable Different From an Ethernet Cable?
Basically, the difference between these two networking cables is the length. Patch cables are usually short and are used to "patch" connections over short distances, while Ethernet cables are longer and may even connect devices in different rooms.
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