Ethernet cable types, the difference between CAT5 and CAT6.
Although Wi-Fi is convenient, as it leaves no cables lying around the house and lets phones and Smart TVs connect to the internet, some people still prefer to use Ethernet cables to connect their PCs and games consoles to the network.
What Is an Ethernet Cable?
Ethernet cables are commonly used within wired networks to connect devices (computers, routers, gaming console switches, etc.) to one another and to the internet, which is known as LANs. If you want to give your laptop or tablet a good connection, you’ll have to acquire an adapter with an Ethernet port because lots of modern laptops and tablets don’t have them.
Using Ethernet cables is quite easy, but if you have any technical questions or are unsure of the right cables to use, or how to tell the difference between different Ethernet cables
Therefore, the purpose of this guide is to demonstrate the differences between the different types of Ethernet cables and to explain how to select the right cables, avoiding cables that are too slow, old-fashioned, damaged, or not suitable for the kind of use you envision.
A buying guide is also included at the end of the guide, so you can start choosing quality cables that can handle even long distances immediately.
A popular technology standard for the internet is Ethernet. LAN networks rely on Ethernet cables. Connecting devices within a network is done with this cable. Ethernet cables come in different types, each with their own distance and speed limitations.
CAT5E, CAT6, CAT7, and CAT8 as well as their distinct variations are discussed here.
Categories (or classes) of Ethernet cables
There are many kinds of Ethernet cables (sometimes referred to as RJ45 cables) and they are not all the same. Nevertheless, generally all cables are made of 8 twisted conductors, each divided into four pairs with a different color—some are uniform, some have white lines.
However, Ethernet cables are organized into numbered categories (cat) based on specifications: the higher the code number, the higher its Mhz speed is. This is because higher code numbers are more capable of eliminating interference and isolating the wires from each other. Taking a look at Ethernet cable categories, we find that:
- Cat. 5 while theoretically able to carry 100 MHz (Fast Ethernet) speeds, is now outdated; if you still have one of these cables in use, you should consider replacing it.
- Cat. 5e (O Cat 5 enhanced): This type of network connection is the most commonly used currently in new network systems. It can greatly reduce interference and increase connection speed, reaching up to 1 Gbps (on Ethernet ports with labels such as Gigabit or 1000 Mbps).
- Cat. 6/6a: It is a great improvement over Cat 5e, suitable for fast 10-gigabit ethernet networks with frequencies up to 250 MHz. Separators are used to isolate wire pairs in cat 6 cables. We will be ready for any future upgrade to the home network by using Cat6 cables. We will still achieve a greater level of signal transmission stability.
- Cat. 6/24a: This newest version of Ethernet cables provides 10 Gbps data transfer speeds and virtually no interference because its frequency is up to 600 MHz.
- Cat. 8: The total bandwidth of Ethernet cables is increasing at an exponential rate, with maximum speeds of 40 Gbps and maximum frequencies of 2000 MHz.
Choosing a cable at least Cat. 6. It will also be possible to utilize every single port of the Gigabit Ethernet ports included on most modern modems, including the latest 10Gbps ports, which are connected to the network via fiber optic cables.
Cat5 vs Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8
Every Ethernet cable category – which is what the “Cat” stands for – is designed to meet the ever-evolving needs and possibilities of the Internet. Therefore, each newer Cat cable has a higher bandwidth than its predecessor and can therefore convey more information over a greater distance.
CAT5e is an upgrade to CAT5. Enhancement is represented by the letter ‘e’. CAT5e cables have a better communication process than CAT5 and can transmit data through a series of networks and counter electromagnetic interference. Crosstalk and EMI are better handled by CAT5e than CAT5.
There is a 100MHz maximum frequency on CAT5e cables. Telephony and video signals can be transmitted with CAT5e cables.
100 Mbps Ethernet can be transmitted over CAT5e cable. In spite of the fact that it is the most affordable category cable, Cat5e is not worth the lower speeds because cat6 continues to decrease in price.
It is the most common cabling standard in modern offices and is used by many businesses and homes. The CAT6 specification works backwards with CAT5e and CAT5 standards. Gigabit Ethernet speeds are supported by these cables. CAT6 cables can also accommodate 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections for a limited distance of about 55 meters.
CAT6a cables are enhanced versions of Category 6 Ethernet cables. The full 328 feet of CAT6a is capable of carrying 10 Gigabit data rates. There are several differences between CAT6 and CAT6a. CAT6a is thicker and costs more money.
250MHz is the maximum frequency supported by CAT6. It is transmission performance that distinguishes CAT6 from CAT5e. Because CAT6 is thicker and twistier, it reduces interference. As well as lower crosstalk and return loss, it has fewer insertion loss and returns loss than CAT5e. By comparison to CAT5e, it has a higher signal-to-noise ratio.
It is possible that you heard of Cat7 cabling and thought it would be the next best thing to Cat5e and Cat6 cabling.
The Category 7 cabling standard is not an actual IEEE standard. Instead, it is a proprietary design that has not been blessed by the networking industry. Connectors are proprietary rather than RJ45. You will find “Category 7” cabling from different manufacturers without official IEEE or EIA standards.
If you’re looking for a faster copper alternative to Cat6A, then Category 8 is your answer.
The replacement for Cat6A is Category 8. A number of manufacturers certify its compatibility across manufacturers and are officially recognized by IEEE and EIA. As a result, Cat8 cable provides faster throughput over shorter distances – 40 Gbps at 78′ and 25 Gbps at 100′. The Cat8 cable provides transmission speeds up to 10Gbps over 328 feet.
Cat8 is best suited to connect network equipment inside a data center due to its distance limitations. If a new office are built with Cat8, there is no cost-effective way to accomplish the same level of speed as Cat6A, which is more affordable to purchase, install, and maintain.
Enhanced cables, such as Cat5e and Cat6e, reference upgraded versions of the same cable and are also labeled with an “e” – enhanced.
Ethernet cables are backward compatible and are compatible with Ethernet ports as they are all using the same RJ45 connector.
There are several factors that make ethernet cables different, but they are generally:
- Internet performance, or at what speed can we transmit data? Rating performance combines standard bandwidth with maximum data rate and is sometimes referred to as rated performance. The speed and data transfer capacity of wired internet may be greater than what’s listed as the rated performance.
- Designer, or the number of twisted wire pairs, whether every wire is shielded or not, as well as the materials used, etc.
Installation, or an ethernet cable’s use and installation process.
Which Cat Ethernet Cable Should I Get?
The decision ultimately comes down to your devices, how fast your internet is, and what you need at work or home. Any cable between Cat5e and Cat6a will be suitable for general use. Due to their faster speeds, higher durability, and low interference rates, Cat 7 and Cat 8 cables are a better choice for more serious applications – like datacenters and enterprise networks.
FAQ About Ethernet Cabling
Is Cat 8 Ethernet cable good for gaming?
best Ethernet cables that you can get for better online gaming performance. … It’s actually CAT 8 that’s the best Ethernet cable out there at the moment because it’s known for its durability and ability to handle high-speed internet.
Is Cat8 better than Cat6?
In a new office, however, installing an older standard offers little benefit because of the declining cost of Cat6 cabling. The reason for this is that CAT6 and Cat6A are suitable for businesses of any size, whereas CAT8 is recommended for use in data centers.
Simple Ethernet cables in markets or small shops could pose many risks, especially if they are not among the classes above and are not shielded from interference adequately. It is recommended that you choose cables carefully, network, perhaps by helping you with the above models.
If we choose one of the recommended cables, we’ll use Cat6. Use only cables with class 6 or higher and avoid cables with older or obsolete classes.