Data cables


For guaranteed reliable transmissions

Transmitters and receivers of signals and messages are connected to one another via data cables. LAPP offers highly reliable data cables for Fieldbus and Ethernet systems so that machines, entire factories and office buildings can communicate with one another. Our industrial communication product range covers common protocol standards such as PROFIBUS, CC-Link and CANopen, as well as PROFINET and Ethernet/IP. A wide selection of data cables is also available for telephone, coaxial and low-frequency applications.

What are data cables?

We certainly aren’t giving away a secret to you when we say that data cables and wires are intended to transmit data. This is done using a cable or a wire.

But what we can tell you:

  • Are data and signals the same?
  • Where are which data cables used?
  • Which data cables are available at LAPP?
  • What are the differences between these?
  • Where can LAPP data cables be used in industrial automation processes?


This page contains information on data transmission via copper conductors. Copper conductors transmit electrical data signals. We will also provide you with information about optical data transmission via fibre optic cables.

Using data cables, you can connect devices with identical data transmission technology to one another and thus have them communicated. Almost always this is done using data connectors.

While we are controlling an increasing number of devices wirelessly at home using an app and data cables are mostly hidden in house technology, data cables have now become indispensable and indispensable in industry.

Data or signals?

Whenever information is to be sent from a sender to a receiver stranded, it must be transported by wire or light.

Step 1: The sender transmits the information as a physical variable in the form of a signal to the receiver. This can be an electrical or optical signal.

Step 2: The receiver measures the signal received, i.e. the voltage/current or electromagnetic wave. If information can be read from the measured signal, this is known as data.

Lapp-Data Conversion-Sensor-Actor

In short: information is transmitted as a signal and read out as data. Data cables act as a transmission medium for signals and therefore data.

Wide application range

In telecommunication, low-frequency and high-frequency technology, very classic signals have been sent and received for many years. Data should also be routed from one floor to the next for the cabling of an office building. This is done via cables. Wireless data transmission would not work across the board.

For industrial communication, miniature devices nowadays have to hold and, in some cases, be able to transmit and receive information very quickly and over long distances. This is done using data packages and with the participation of an almost arbitrary number of network participants.

The application area of data cables therefore extends from conventional communication technology to building, factory and process automation.

Below, you will learn everything interesting to know about industrial data cables.

Which data network cable types are available at LAPP?

The non-assembled data cables from LAPP differ in terms of the data cables product segment

  • the way signals are transmitted (electrical or optical signal transmission),
  • the type of use and installation (fixed installation, flexible use (i.e. occasional flexing) or highly flexible use (for constantly flexing applications)).

Do you prefer ready-to-connect patch cables to metre products that you have to assemble yourself?

To pre-assembled data cables

  1. Low-frequency data cables 
    In this product group you meet data cables for low-frequency applications. They are of particular importance, for example, for computer systems, electronic control and regulation devices, office machines, scales and in general for all low-frequency applications in data technology.
  2. Telephone cables 
    For indoors we have installation cables, halogen-free telephone cables and special fire alarm cables available for you. Here you will also find underground telecommunication cables for outdoor use.
  3. Coaxial cables 
    Coaxial cables are used for high-frequency signal transmission, which is important for radio and computer systems, as well as for the entire field of high-frequency technology and electronics. Because they are resistant to external interference, they can transmit signals without distortion and with low attenuation.
  4. Fieldbus cables
    With our UNITRONIC® Fieldbus cables we cover all important protocol standards and thus offer the right solution for almost every type of bus system in mechanical and plant engineering: from simple control signals in sensor/actuator wiring to fieldbus signals in complex network structures.
  5. Ethernet cables
    With the ETHERLINE® cables, we offer a solution for all common industrial Ethernet communication systems where high-speed transmission of large data volumes is essential. Whether for structured building cabling with LAN cables or for challenging industrial applications. Choose from the categories Cat.5, Cat.5e, Cat.6, Cat.6A, Cat.7 and Cat.7A.
  6. Fibre optic cables
    Fibre optic cables are hidden behind the LAPP product brand HITRONIC®, which are considered to be the transmission medium of the future. With high bandwidths, high transmission speeds and long transmission distances, they triumph in many respects over copper-based data cables that transmit signals purely electrically.

The different LAPP data cables differ fundamentally in terms of cable design and the materials used. This in turn determines individual resistances and approvals.

Use the LAPP Cable Finder to get to your top product!

What are the differences between Fieldbus and Ethernet systems?

In the field of network technology for industrial applications, copper-based data cables can be divided into two groups:

  • Data cables for Fieldbus-based communication networks
  • Data cables for Ethernet-based communication networks

What is a Fieldbus?

A Fieldbus is a bus system that connects sensors and actuators to exchange information with a control computer. Control computers are also commonly known as programmable control (PLC). Almost every manufacturer of a control computer has designed its own Fieldbus. As a result, there are a number of technologies that differ from one another, for example in terms of maximum cable length, data rate or scope of function.

Common Fieldbus systems are AS-Interface, CAN or DeviceNet, ISOBUS, Foundation Fieldbus, CC-Link, SAFETY BUS, INTERBUS (IBS), EIB or KNX. Alongside data cables for these bus systems, we at LAPP also offer you a huge selection of PROFIBUS®-compliant data cables. PROFIBUS is the most common and probably best-known Fieldbus system.

What is Ethernet?

Ethernet, on the other hand, is a technology that was originally developed for office communication, i.e. the exchange of data in PC-based local data networks (LANs), and consists of a range of software and hardware components. Ethernet enables considerably higher transmission rates of up to 400 gigabits/s than Fieldbuses.

Various PLC manufacturers have extended the Ethernet basic technology to meet different industrial requirements. As with Fieldbuses, this has led to different manufacturer-specific features for Ethernet. Due to its high prevalence, performance and reliability, Ethernet technology has long been established in the production environment.

Communication via Ethernet can be divided into two major systems: Ethernet/IP, which also provides the name for “Ethernet-based” and PROFINET. PROFINET is also an Ethernet/IP-based transmission technology and even Ethernet/IP-compatible. PROFINET is subject to stricter and stricter standards than Ethernet/IP and therefore forms a subset of Ethernet/IP-based data transmissions.

Fibre optic cables are also defined in the PROFINET standard. This means that data transmission technologies are not necessarily limited to a transmission medium!

How are fibre optic cables different?

Anyone who thinks about fibre optic cables usually thinks about glass fibre first. However, fibre optic cables do not have to be made of glass, as there are also variants that are completely or partially made of plastic. With all types of fibre optic cables, the signal is transmitted in the form of light using fibres made of quartz glass or polymer optical fibres (plastics).

In the LAPP product range, you will find

  • Polymer Optical Fibres (POF)
  • Polymer Cladded Fibres (PCF)
  • Glass Optical Fibres (GOF)

Would you like to find out more about light signals and their applications?

Here you will find glass fibre and Co.

No automation without data cable!

Automation in industry is effective and future-proof. They help you increase your production speed, the quality of your products and save time and personnel costs. To put it simply, an automation system consists of sensors, actuators, control computers and a communication system that connects all components with one another using data cables. To ensure smooth communication, communication processes usually take place at several levels.

The automation system as an automation pyramid

Lapp-Automation Pyramid-EN 1920x640px
Data cables

1. Field level

Field level refers to production in which sensors and actuators are installed.

A sensor is a measurement probe that captures analogue physical values (mechanical, chemical, thermal, magnetic or optical values) and turns them into analogue and digital electrical signals.

This measuring sensor can be a proximity, brightness, moisture, temperature, level sensor or similar.

A sensor generates and transmits signals to the control level.

Data cables

An actuator converts the electrical signals from the control computer into physical values. An actuator converts electrical pulses into pressure, sound, temperature, movement or other physical variables.

Actuators are motors, hydraulic cylinders, loudspeakers, diving troughs, lamps, stirrers, heating elements, fans, pumps and the like.

An actuator receives signals from the control level and executes the “commands”.

2. Control level

This level contains control units (PCs), which receive measurement data from sensors and send commands to actuators. Each individual control unit controls a sub-process, so to speak. If the sensors and actuators are located directly next to a PLC, they are connected directly to the PLC. Sensors and actuators further away are usually connected to the control level via bus systems, but now also via Ethernet.

The control units themselves are connected to one another via switches. Ethernet cables or fibre optic cables are used for this.

3. Company management level

The company management level is directly connected to the control level. Here, the current production data, such as produced quantities, is retrieved from the control computers and an order to be completed is coordinated based on the current availability of the machines. The management and planning of corporate resources (ERP) is also carried out here, such as material requirements planning. At this level, information ranging from several megabytes to gigabytes is transmitted.