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Does it matter if you use flat or round ethernet cables?


Senior member
Mar 10, 2012
As JackMDS suggested, I bought 3 routers and am connecting 1 to my new cable modem to be the main router. Will run Cat 7 ethernet cables from that router, up through the attic and down in walls to the other 2 new routers at opposite points in the house, each about 100 feet of ethernet cable away from the main router. The new cable internet service starts July 16.

QUESTION: Does it matter if you use flat or round ethernet cables?

Flat cables look nicer and seem like they'd be easier to work through tight spaces. Flat cables seem to mostly say they have AWG 32 gauge wires, or they don't tell you their wire gauge. Round cables say AWG 24 or AWG 26 (more copper must be better?) and I have the impression round cables might have better shielding against interference?

Does it matter if you install flat or round ethernet cables? If not then I'll install flat cables.


Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
The thickness of wire i think would matter more on different CAT raitings.
For example, a CAT 6 wire should all be the same awg regardless of flat or round.

I do know that round wires have better fire tolerance, like the burning down the house kind, which is why building code requires a certain catigory of wire to be installed inside commercial buildings.

But for a residental, i would honestly go with whatever is easier for you to work with.

If your going to tack it along the wall, a flat would be better.
If your going to take it inside a wall, a round has more rigidity, and maybe easier to fish though.
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Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
As long as it works, it doesn't matter. There are many flat ethernet cables (cat5e to cat7) having great reviews on Amazon.

For in wall, like aigo said, round one has more rigidity and easier to pull/fish.

Prefer flat ones for patch cables, it takes less space and looks good and also lighter.

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
I'm pretty sure flat is against specification, but yes I have seen those too. Seems odd to me. I guess for short distances or for temporary stuff like a laptop patch cable it's probably fine though. I would not use one in a data centre environment or even for my own servers, but probably fine for plugging something in real quick. I guess the way they can be rolled up makes them convenient, so it's probably fine to have one in a laptop bag or what not.

At the end of the day, if it works, it works. Some people do get caught up with specifications or "proper practice" sometimes. :p
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Senior member
Mar 10, 2012
Thank you aigomorla, mxnerd, Red Squirrel and JackMDS.!
Based on all your comments and also the article that JackMDS linked, I'm ordering flat cables.
Really appreciate your help


Golden Member
Oct 10, 2005
I can just see myself replacing some patch cables in my corporate gigs with flat - the Network staff, particularly the "Network Engineers" (who basically sit and do nothing all day) would start foaming at the mouth in temper tantrums. I would love it.

As long as it's twisted and structurally made well like the stuff JackMDS linked I can't see a reason it's wont perform as well, if not better than conventional round ethernet. I say potentially 'better' because one of the biggest achilles heels of typical ethernet cable is the highly variable and mechanically inconsistent way it's terminated in the jack. Crimping ethernet cable terminations may be an IT institution in itself, but from a pure engineering perspective it is not the most mechanically sound way to terminate low voltage connections and a cause of most cable faults in my experience. All the flat cables I've used seem to have better termination, and they are handy as heck when incorporated in spring wound winders, which make them handy for your laptop bag where you already have too many frikken cables to tangle.

Any argument against flat would seem to be the same arguments that pertain to patch -vs- infrastructure runs as well and nothing really to do with being flat. Plenum vs PVC, braided vs solid, shielded vs non shielded, etc.