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I went to a computer store to buy a LAN(Ethernet) cable and they asked me whether I want to connect two PCs or a PC to a router. I used to do both using same cable and it worked for me till I lost the cable. Is there really two different kind of LAN cables(other than performance types) for connecting two different PCs and a PC to a Router. If yes what is the difference between them?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

In the past it was a requirement to use cross-over cable to connect PC to PC or hub to hub or switch to switch. The straight-through was used to connect PCs to networking equipment. Presently, most networking devices as well as PC NICs are implementing auto-MDIX feature that allows you to use straight-through cable to interconnect switches or two PCs. Moreover, if you get the cross-over cable that have only two pairs twisted most likely your 1Gb adapters would not negotiate 1Gb speed. So, the straight-through cable is the one you need.

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Yes, there is. What you are describing is called a crossover cable:

An Ethernet crossover cable is a type of Ethernet cable used to connect computing devices together directly. Normal straight through or patch cables were used to connect from a host network interface controller (a computer or similar device) to a network switch, hub or router. A cable with connections that "cross over" was used to connect two devices of the same type: two hosts or two switches to each other. Owing to the inclusion of Auto-MDIX capability, modern implementations of the Ethernet over twisted pair standards usually no longer require the use of crossover cables.

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Yeah, that's one of the best things with gig-e (other than the speed ;p). – Journeyman Geek Feb 23 '13 at 11:41

For modern hardware you should never need a crossover cable. I have a lot of network equipment but zero crossover cables and everything works no matter how I connect it up (using regular patch cables).

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