Everything You Want to Know About Ethernet Cables but Were Afraid to Ask

Cat6 cables bulk

While many people and businesses are working to do as much as they can wirelessly, there are still people and companies that need to use cables. If you are not sure how to tell cat5 cables from crossover cables, this guide, from Yahoo Tech, should help.

Ethernet cables were created to do pretty much the same thing. They were made to connect different devices to the each other and to the internet. Getting the right cable for your needs may seem like a daunting challenge. The designations that are given to ethernet cables are not always the easiest to understand or figure out.

Ethernet cables are liven a category, which is shortened to “cat.” There are cat5 cables, for instance. The number after the “cat” refers to the different specifications to which the cable was made. As newer generations of ethernet cables have been designed, the number increases. This usually also indicates a faster and more secure cable. Cat5 cables are older and slower than cat6 cables. The speed for the cables is generally listed in megahertz or Mhz. Newer generation cables make the connections faster and have download speeds that are higher than older generations of cables.

Another factor that influences the speed is the length of the cable. A 500 ft ethernet cable is going to transmit data slower than a shorter cable. This is the reason that most ethernet cables used in homes is not longer than 330 feet. This seems to be the point at which the speed of the cable starts to suffer.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) introduced a new generation of ethernet cable that they claim is far superior to both cat5 cables and cat6 cables. This new generation of ethernet cable is still a few years away from usage by the general population but given the jumps in speed for the other generation of cables, the new generation should be a lot faster and more secure.

Older cables such as cat3 and cat5 cables are not used much today. When you are looking at cables, you are better served getting newer generations than either of them. Neither cat3 or cat5 cables are made anymore.

The Cat5e Cable

When cat5 cables are enhanced, they are referred to as “cat5e cables, hence the “e” designation. While cat5 cables look physically identical to cat5e cables, they are manufactured differently. Cat5e cables are built to reduce the amount of interference between the wires inside of the cable itself. At the moment, the cat5e cable is used the most often. Cat5e cables are inexpensive to make and are able to transmit data faster than the cat5 cables ever could.
The Cat6 Cable

This is the next generation after cat5 cables. These cables cost more to buy and make. The wires inside the cat6 cables are wound a lot more tightly than the earlier generation cables. Often, these have braided or foil shields. This shielding is there to keep the interference and crosstalk to a minimum. For cat6 cables that are less than 180 feet, the speed can reach 10 Gbps.

The Cat6a Cable

In this case, the “a” means “augmented. These cables are about twice as fast as cat6 cables. They are also able to maintain the higher speed over cables that are longer. There is no interference between the wires in the cables at all because of the thick shielding that is included in all cat6a cables. These cables are much less flexible than other generations of ethernet cables.

There are a large number of reasons people and businesses use ethernet cables to connect to the internet. The speed is one reason that people opt for a cabled rather than wireless connection. If large amounts of data are being transmitted, using cables can be a better way to go. Other people, who are looking to limit their exposure to radiation such as EMF that is given off by wireless devices, will opt to use cabled connections for the internet and other connections such as to a printer or other devices. Newer ethernet cables are also able to transmit power in addition to data, which can simplify things.