If you have ever gone to buy an ethernet cable for any reason,you may have noticed that there are several types to choose from.some of them may say Cat5,Cat5e,Cat6,Cat6A,Cat7.But what exactly do all these mean, and does it really make a difference which one you get?Well that is what we are going introduce today, so you can know what you are buying, and potentially save some money. And i am also going to do a real world test to see how much of a difference it makes.
What is the “Cat” mean of ethernet cable?
First of all, what the heck at these “Cat” ratings anyway? Well for ethernet cables,that stands for Catagory,and the different numbers represent,different standards and specifications for the cable, so you can think of them like different versions.Now the good news is that all of these cables will typically “work”,since the new versions are all backwards compatible. They all use the RJ45 connector,often just called an “ethernet port”,But the difference is in the rated performance of each.So let’s go over all the different types of ethernet cables you may come across,from Cat5 all the way though cat7 and beyond.
What is the cat5 cable and CAT5e cable?
The first type is really common ,which is “cat5”However,these days when someone says Cat5,they usually are referring to Cat5e,But we’re getting ahead of ourselves,Now a ture Cat5 cable is actually obsolete,and you probably can not even buy then any more. cat5 cable is only rated for up tp 100mbps at 100meters,with a 100Mhz bandwidth. So obviously being rated for 100mbps you almost never see these anymore ,and if you’re still using one,you should definitely replace it. Which brings us to Cat5e,or Catagory 5”enhanced” Cat5e is very common these days,and it is rated for 1 Gigabit speeds at 100 meters.again with a bandwidth of 100 MHz.This is due to improved specs regarding twisting of the wire pairs inside,shielding,and other improvements which reduce “crosstalk” or interference,which would reduce speed.Also,a regular Cat5 cable only required 2 twisted pairs of wires,while Cat5e use four pairs.So obviously it can transfer much more data.Though it is important to note that just rating certifications are for bare minimum,so it’s very possible that a cable will be capable of much more what it’s rated for,So for example,a “Cat5” cable might actually be capable of gigabit speeds if it is high quality.and the same will go for all of these types.
What is the Ethernet cable cat6?
After Cat5e came catagory 6,which bumped the spec from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabit,at 55meter length,with a bandwidth of 250MHz.And By the way,the bandwidth refers to the range of frequencies the cable is able to reliably use, which explains how that would improve the speed.It’s got more “space” to fit the data in a way.Cat6 further reduces crosstalk,using tighter wound wire pairs,and may also use things.like a plastic core to better separate the internal wires.Cat6 i would say is a good choice if you are not sure what type of cable to buy,since it probably won’t be much expensive ,depending on where you buy it,and will be future proof for a while.This is especially so if the wire can not easily be replaced ,like if you are wiring a house.where i would get at lease Cat6.But if you are just buying a general purpose cable for your laptop or something,Cat5e would definitely be fine. Since i doubt any of your devices are capable of 10 gigabit anyway.so by now you might be thinking ,of surely Cat6 is the best,I mean why would you need anything more than that?Well you may be right,but we are not stopping there!
There’s also Cat6a,This one is also capable of 10 gigabit ,but at at longer maximum of 100 meters,instead of 55Meters,and it has a larger 500 Mhz bandwidth.so if you are actually running a 10 gigabit network, Cat6a will be more reliable at getting your full speed,since again it has further improved specs for reducing crosstalk.
What is the Ethernet cable cat7?
And now finally,the Big daddy of ethernet cables is Catagory 7,As far as i could tell, this is the fastest type you can buy at the moment.Cat7 is also rated for 10 gigabit speeds, but with an even larger bandwidth of 600Mhz.and the strictest specifications for reducing crosstalk,such as requiring shielding between,individual wire pairs,as well as the whole cable as itself.This seems to be all about improving reliability since it doesn’t actually improve the speed requirement,even though it probably is capable of higher speeds if you had a switch that was capable of faster than 10 gigabit.So i think Cat7 would be test suited for extreme future proofing permanent wire installations.
Our good quality ethernet cable cat6 are relatively easy and simple to handle, install, use, and terminate. cat6 cable is capable of performing efficiently and transmits the data accurately between the communication devices.
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