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An electrical cable is made of two or more wires running side by side and bonded, twisted, or braided together to form a single assembly, the ends of which can be connected to two devices, enabling the transfer of electrical signals from one device to the other. Cables are used for a wide range of purposes, and each must be tailored for that purpose. Cables are used extensively in electronic devices for power and signal circuits. Long-distance communication takes place over undersea cables. Power cables are used for bulk transmission of alternating and direct current power, especially using high-voltage cable. Electrical cables are extensively used in building wiring for lighting, power and control circuits permanently installed in buildings. Since all the circuit conductors required can be installed in a cable at one time, installation labor is saved compared to certain other wiring methods.
The term originally referred to a nautical line of specific length where multiple ropes, each laid clockwise, are then laid together anti-clockwise and shackled to produce a strong thick line, resistant to water absorption, that was used to anchor large ships. In mechanics, cables, otherwise known as wire ropes, are used for lifting, hauling, and towing or conveying force through tension. In electrical engineering cables are used to carry electric currents. An optical cable contains one or more optical fibers in a protective jacket that supports the fibers.