Wire/Cable Thickness and Data Transmission

I frequently use a Blackberry tethered to my computer for internet/network access. I have two cables that can be used. The wire of one (which I believe came with the Blackberry) is thinner than the other. It’s more convenient to use this one because it’s more flexible than the other, thicker, cable. But I’m wondering if the thickness of the other wire could make it transmit data faster or more efficiently.

I’m guessing this is not the case (and that the only advantage of a thicker wire is that it lasts longer). But I wonder if someone can confirm one way or the other.

A thicker cable can carry more electrical current. Which means it could charge your Blackberry faster. Assuming both cables have the same number of pins, they both have the same data transfer rate.

only in extremely limited circumstances. in the case of wires used for data transmission, the impedance and reactance (capacitance/inductance) of the cable is far more important. if the reactance is out of whack, then the only way it would cause slower data transfer is if there needs to be a greater number of “re-tries” (if the interface supports that) or causing a USB 2.0 interface to step down to USB 1.1 speeds.

data wires carry very tiny amounts of current, so the wire gauge doesn’t matter that much so long as the impedance and reactance are correct.

in short- if everything’s working correctly, upping the wire gauge won’t make it go any faster.

Well, the thickness of the cable may not be due to the gauge of the wire, but might indicate better shielding that would protect the signals from interference. Interference could certainly degrade your data transfer rate, meaning the better shielded cable could be somewhat faster. In actual practice, this difference would probably be pretty slight, though for Cat5/Cat6 etc. where # of twists and other interference-reducing techniques are the main difference it does result in big speed differences.

To see what the actual difference is, you’d have to cut both cables open. You’d probably find pretty much the same wire core and shielding mesh, but one just has a thicker sheath around the outside; meaning, yes, the only difference is durability. It should be fairly easy to test whether the performance is any different.

I would add that the cable is likely USB 2.0 with max speed of 480 Mbps. I doubt that your tethered internet comes anywhere close to 10% of that.

USB 3 has a cable with more conductors, and so it may well be thicker (eg if its the same brand…at attempt at “all other things being equal”… which is problematic … ) and more connects in the plugs/sockets… ( 8 rather than 4 ), and can run faster ( 5 Gigabit )…
But the probable answer is that cheap USB cables are of the thicker and stiffer construction, which is OK for connecting a printer at a large desk situation,

while a brandname like Blackberry often use higher quality,expensive construction which is flexible for the use of tethering with your laptop while travelling,etc…

Typically USB cable works or it doesn’t, in that the speed is determined by the equipment, not by testing the quality of the cable, it doesn’t run slower due to poor quality like ADSL or wireless does.