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Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8 Ethernet Cables, What Are They?

What Is Cat5 Cable: A Little Older, A Little Slower

Cat5 cables have been the first choice for Internet connections for many years. If you’re on a LAN, the cable running out of the back of your PC is probably Category 5. This type of network cable is made up of four twisted pairs of copper wire terminated by an RJ45 connector, which has a bandwidth of up to 100 MHz, supports 10 or 100Mbps speed. You may be able to get Gigabit speeds on a Cat5 cable, particularly if the cable is shorter, but it isn’t always guaranteed.

What Is Cat5e Cable: Faster With Less Interference

Category 5e (Cat5e) is an enhanced version of Category 5 cable, which indicates a lower-noise version where the potential for crosstalk is reduced. The internal interference is lower because the cable has an average of two twists per centimeter, which allows it to transmit data without significant signal degradation.

There are two main differences between the Cat5 and Cat5e network cables. On the one hand, Cat5 Ethernet cable supports speeds up to 100 megabits per second, while Cat5e supports networks up to 1 gigabit (1000 megabits per second). On the other hand, Cat5e comes in shielded varieties, performing better in reducing noise.

What Is Cat6 Cable: Even Faster With Better Performance

Same as the Cat5e cable, the Cat6 cable consists of four pairs of twisted copper wire but features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. A Cat6 patch cord has a bandwidth capacity of 250 MHz, which has even stricter specifications when it comes to interference. Offer you speeds of up to 10 Gbps.

What Is Cat6a Cable: Stronger Sheathing, Better for Industrial Application

The “a” in Cat6a stands for “Augmented”. Cat6a Ethernet cables are able to maintain higher transmission speeds over longer network cable lengths. With a stronger sheathing, the Cat6a cabling is better suited for industrial environments. However, compared to Cat6 cables, Cat6a cables are thicker and less flexible.

What Is Cat7 Cable: Newer “Class F” Cabling, Support Frequencies of up to 600 Mhz

Cat7 network cables encompass four individually shielded pairs inside an overall shield, called Shielded/Foiled Twisted Pair (S/FTP) or Foiled/ Foiled Twisted Pair (F/FTP). Cat7 cables do well in reducing signal attenuation and they are relatively stiff when compared to the older versions like Cat5e or Cat6a cables. The newer “Class F” cable is an ideal choice for application environments where transmission of frequencies up to 600 Mbps is required.

What Is Cat8 Cable: A Huge Step Up in Data Rate/Bandwidth

Cat8 cable is the latest IEEE standard in copper Ethernet cable. The Cat8 Ethernet cable can eliminate crosstalk and enable higher data transmission speeds by wrapping each twisted pair in foil. Cat8 cable is able to support 25GB and 40GB Ethernet, which represents a significant leap in data transfer speed. So, the Cat8 cable is more expensive than previous generations of Ethernet cable.



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