What’s the difference between Cat5, Cat5e,Cat6,Cat6e,Cat7& Cat8 cable?
What does the “Cat” mean?
“Cat” simply stands for “Category,” and the following number indicates the specifications to which the cable was manufactured. A general rule of thumb is that higher numbers represent faster speeds and higher frequencies, measured in Mhz. As is the case with most technologies, newer cables tend to support higher bandwidths, and therefore increased download speeds and faster connections.
Keep in mind that longer Ethernet cables will result in slower transmission speeds, though cables bought for personal use rarely exceed 100 meters, where speed dropoff typically begins to occur.
What is the RJ-45 connector? Is that matters? Are there different connectors for CAT5, CAT6, CAT6a?
Registered Jack 45 (RJ45) is a standard type of physical connector for network cables. RJ45 connectors are most commonly seen with Ethernet cables and networks. There is no difference between RJ-45 for CAT3, CAT5, CAT6 or any other patch cable – all of them using the same connector type so you don’t have to worry about picking the incorrect one – any of them will fit your device.
Getting deeper into the subject, we can highlight two types of RJ-45 which are T568A and T568B. There is no electrical difference between these wire sequences, so neither is inherently superior. The only difference is pinout which is different for United States (T568B) and for Europe (T568A). All our patch cables are equipped with T568A type so you don’t have to worry as long as you are from Europe region.
Modern Ethernet cables feature small plastic plugs on each end that are inserted into the RJ45 jacks of Ethernet devices. The term “plug” refers to the cable or “male” end of the connection while the term “jack” refers to the port or “female” end.
What does the STP/UTP means?
UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair)
The UTP cable consists of pairs of wires twisted together. This is one of the most basic methods used to help prevent electromagnetic interference.
STP/FTP (Shielded Twisted or Foiled Twisted Pair)
STP and FTP are the same. It’s offer an additional layer of protection with shielding (also called screening) wrapped around the individual twisted wires. This protects against EMI/FRI and crosstalk.
S/UTP & F/UTP (Shielded/ Screened or Foiled Unshielded Twisted Pair)
This has an overall foil or braid screen encasing the 4 pairs of unshielded twisted pairs.
SFTP (Shielded and Foiled Twisted Pair)
A combination of the two above, with foil shielding around the individual twisted wires and an overall screen which can sometimes be a flexible braid.This provides the maximum level of protection from interference and is found in the highest performance cables.
Common Types of Patch Cords:
Cat 3 and Cat 5
Both Cat 3 and Cat 5 Ethernet cables are, at this point, obsolete. It’s not unheard of to find Cat 5 cables still in use, but you shouldn’t even think about trying to buy either of these Ethernet cables. They’re slow, and nobody makes them anymore. CAT 5 Cable will still be sufficient for many applications. In fact, there are still companies operating today that have special requirements for CAT 5. These will be the exceptions of course, because almost all new installations are being done with CAT 5e. The improved signal carrying capacity of the cable is the primary reason.
The “e” in Cat 5e stands for “Enhanced.” There are no physical differences between Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables, but 5e Ethernet is built under more stringent testing standards to eliminate crosstalk — i.e. the unwanted transfer of signals between communication channels. Cat 5e is currently the most common type of Ethernet, namely due to its low production cost and its ability to support faster speeds than the original Cat 5 cables.
As with Category 5 (Cat-5) cables, Cat 5e cables typically consist of four unshielded twisted pairs (UTP) of copper wire terminated by RJ45 connectors. Cat 5e is distinguished from the original Cat 5 standard primarily in its performance requirements. Cat 5e has stricter specifications in a number of areas, including Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT), Power Sum Equal-Level Far-End Crosstalk (PS-ELFEXT), attenuation and return loss.
The Cat 5e standard was first released in 1999 as part of the Telecommunications Industry Association’s TIA/EIA-568-5-A document specification. The Cat 5e cable standard is backward compatible with the Cat 3 and Cat 5 cable standards.
CAT 5e Cable also has improved durability, due to improvements in the quality and thickness of the PVC protective jacket. It is more than suitable for most data cabling requirements.
This is a standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet and other network physical layers that is backward compatible with the Category 5/5e and Category 3 cable standards.
Cat 6 cables support much higher bandwidths than Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables, though they’re also more expensive. Cat 6 cables are more tightly wound than those of their predecessor, and are often outfitted with foil or braided shielding. This shielding protects the twisted pairs of wires inside the Ethernet cable, helping to prevent crosstalk and noise interference. Cat-6 cables can technically support speeds up to 10 Gbps, but can only do so for up to 55 meters.
Compared with Cat 5 and Cat 5e, Cat 6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. The cable standard also specifies performance of up to 250 MHz compared to 100 MHz for Cat 5 and Cat 5e.
Maximum length – when used for 10/100/1000BASE-T, the maximum allowed length of a Cat 6 cable is up to 100 meters (328 ft). This consists of 90 meters (295 ft) of solid “horizontal” cabling between the patch panel and the wall jack, plus 5 meters (16 ft) of stranded patch cable between each jack and the attached device. For 10GBASE-T, an unshielded Cat 6 cable should not exceed 55 metres.
The “a” in Cat 6a stands for “Augmented.” In comparison to the regular Cat 6 cables, 6a cables support twice the maximum bandwidth, and are capable of maintaining higher transmission speeds over longer cable lengths. Cat 6a cables are always shielded, and their sheathing — which is thick enough to eliminate crosstalk completely — makes for a much denser, less flexible cable than Cat 6.
Category 6e is not a standard, and is frequently misused because category 5 followed with 5e as an enhancement on category 5. Soon after the ratification of Cat 6, a number of manufacturers began offering cable labeled as “Category 6e”. Their intent was to suggest their offering was an upgrade to the Category 6 standard—presumably naming it after Category 5e. However, no legitimate Category 6e standard exists, and Cat 6e is not a recognized standard by the Telecommunications Industry Association. Category 7 is an ISO standard, but not a TIA standard. Cat 7 is already in place as a shielded cable solution with non-traditional connectors that are not backward-compatible with category 3 through 6A. Category 8 is the next UTP cabling offering to be backward compatible.
Cat 7 cables utilize the newest widely-available Ethernet technology, and support higher bandwidths and significantly faster transmission speeds than Cat 6 cables. They’re proportionally more expensive than other Ethernet cables, though their performance reflects their premium price tag. Cat 7 cables are capable of reaching up to 100 Gbps at a range of 15 meters, making them an excellent choice for connecting modems or routers directly to your devices. Cat 7 cables are always shielded, too, and use a modified GigaGate45 connector, which is backwards compatible with regular Ethernet ports.
CAT 8 to provide better frequency characteristics, therefore supporting higher speeds of data. CAT 8 is capable of supporting bandwidths of up to 2 GHz (2000 MHz) for up to 30 meters of cabling. Cat8 can also support 25Gbps/ 40Gbs speeds. The physical appearance of CAT 8 cable is similar to lower category cables and still terminated in RJ45 connections.
CAT Cable Variation Specifications
|CAT6||(Up to) 10GBASE-T||1-10Gbit*||250MHz|