Skip to content

Cables: How different parameters affect different characteristics

  • by
  • 4 min read
How length, thickness and connectors can affect cable performance

With the evolution of technology over time, we’ve achieved some great ways of transferring data and power. Cables, however, remain the goto method both for power and data when no compromise on speed and security/quality is needed.

Cables are a necessary evil we all have to deal with daily. No matter how good our wireless technologies become, we’ll still be dealing with them.

But if you’ve noticed, different cables behave differently. Some cables might charge your phone faster than others; some might transfer data more quickly than others. Some are thick, some thin, there are a million things.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at how the three main characteristics of a cable affect its performance.

Also read: Phone Myths Debunked: 11 things you’ve been re-told that are not true

Factors that affect cable performance


As a standard rule of physics, the longer the wire, the more resistance it offers. This means that in a longer cable, your charging and data speeds would be slower in comparison to a shorter cable.

Now there wouldn’t be too significant a change, depending upon what cable you are using.

Consider this, you have to charge your phone, and you have two cables. One is one foot long, and the other is six feet. Now if these cables are used with the identical charger-phone pair, you’ll notice that the longer cable will take more time to charge the phone.

Again, depending upon your charger and phone this might vary, and you might not see a huge difference, but some change will be there.

Similarly, during data transfer, the longer cable will, even if a little bit, a longer time to transfer the data.

Also read: Why 2019 is a terrible year to buy a TV


How length, thickness and connectors can affect cable performance

If you notice, most high-quality cables are quite thick in appearance. What is this thickness? Well, a lot of things.

To begin with, a good quality cable will have proper insulation on it, which makes it thicker. This insulation not only as a good external finish and protects the cable, but also serves as a shield from outside interference, which can affect the transfer capacity/rate of the cable.

Greater thickness can also mean an internal wire of a higher gauge. Higher gauge wires offer less resistance to flowing current and hence, are better performing.

In a nutshell, if your cable is thicker than you thought, it is so for a reason.

Also read: Was removing the headphone jack a step in the right direction?


Every other cable these days is coming with ‘gold-plated’ connectors. Why is that? Because standard aluminium connectors are just there to conduct electricity. Gold plating these connectors not only helps them last longer but also enhances the connection.

How length, thickness and connectors can affect cable performance

This gold-plating is most common on cables that deal with audio. If you buy good quality earphones (3.5 mm please) or aux cables, you’ll find that the connector is gold in colour. Since gold doesn’t corrode easily, your connections are safe from signal loss and non-linearity which is often a problem in cheaper, non-gold-plated earphones/headphones.

The next time you’re shopping for a cable or anything that functions on cables, be sure to keep these points in mind to get the most bang for your buck.

Also read: What is Dedicated GPU? How is it different from Integrated GPU?


Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected].