CAT 5 and CAT6 Ethernet Cable which is better?

Views: 2     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-08-19      Origin: Site

“Cat” cables are short for “category” and are used to connect computer networking devices such as modems, routers, computers, servers, and switches. Cat5 and Cat6 are two of the more common types of Ethernet cables, but you can learn more about the other categories in our previous article “What are the types of Ethernet cable?” In this article, we will compare the two types of Ethernet cables, CAT5 and CAT6, which are better.

What is a Cat5 Ethernet cable?

Cat5 cable consists of four pairs of twisted copper wires with an RJ-45 connector on the end that plugs into a standard Ethernet jack. It is the fifth generation of unshielded twisted pair (also known as unshielded twisted pair or UTP) Ethernet cable technology. It has been the most popular twisted pair cable since its introduction in 1995. cat5 can also be found in the shielded twisted pair variety or STP, which provides protection against EMI and signal interference.


Cat5 Ethernet cables pave the way for high-speed Internet, capable of carrying data at 100 Mbps and 100 MHz bandwidth (100BASE-T or Fast Ethernet) but can run up to 2.5GBASE-T over shorter distances.

Cat5 cables can carry data, phone, and video signals with a recommended maximum length of 328 feet (100 meters). If your PC is hardwired to your network, then standard Cat5 is likely the cable that will connect you to your network at this time.

Advantages of Cat5 Ethernet cables

Cat5 cables offer high transmission speeds at a low cost and can carry up to four signals simultaneously. Technically speaking, Cat5 cables can also support Gigabit Ethernet. These cables are versatile and can be used for various applications, from networking to telephone cabling. They come in a stranded form, providing greater flexibility for applications such as custom patch cords or solid conductor forms for installation in the walls of homes or businesses, providing better shielding than stranded forms.


In addition, Cat5 cables are easy to install and require no special tools. If you want to upgrade your network speed and eliminate crosstalk, you can easily update your Cat5 cable to Cat5e. Cat5 cable has been the gold standard for years due to its flexibility, low cost, and universality.

Disadvantages of Cat5 Ethernet cables

The main disadvantage of Cat5 cables is the data transfer limitation. They can only have transmission speeds of up to 100 Mbps. This is great for a home or small business but will not meet the needs of an enterprise network. In addition, more and more home routers support Gigabit Ethernet. If you ever plan to set up a smart home or want to future-proof your home network, then you don’t want to use Cat5 cables.

Unshielded Cat5 cables are susceptible to signal noise from wireless devices, which can further reduce data transfer speeds. Cat5/Cat5e cables are not typically recommended for new network installations, but for many network needs, the job can still be done for less.

What is a Cat6 Ethernet cable?

Cat6 Ethernet cable consists of four pairs of twisted copper wires and a 250 MHz bandwidth, supporting data speeds up to 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T) over distances up to approximately 180 feet.


Cat6 cables use the same RJ-45 jacks as Cat5 cables and previous generations of Ethernet cables. Cat6 cables are backward compatible with Cat5/5e and Cat3 cables.

They meet specifications for applications with significant data transmission needs, including Internet of Things (IoT) settings such as smart homes, school/enterprise network settings, and data centers. Cat6 cables are now the global standard for Ethernet cables.


Advantages of Cat6 Ethernet cables

Cat6 cables have tighter performance specifications and significantly higher data transfer speeds over longer distances than Cat5/5e cables. They are wound more tightly and have thicker cable conductors and cable jackets than Cat5 cables.

These factors work together to reduce internal and external signal/EMI interference to a greater extent than Cat5 cables. This may be a good solution for networking in industrial environments where motors, generators, or wireless devices can cause severe signal interference.

Disadvantages of Cat6 Ethernet cables

Cat6 cables are more expensive than Cat5 cables (typically about 10-20% more than Cat5e) and tend to be beyond the needs of most homes today. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be needed 5 to 10 years from now, as connected IoT homes become more common.

For networks that carry terabytes of data or experience excessive signal noise, the Cat6 cable is the way to go. If you want a cable with optimal performance, have the money, and want your IT infrastructure to be future-proof, choose Cat6. Keep in mind that the extra thickness and insulation of Cat6 cables can be a concern if space is limited: the extra stiffness/thickness also makes the cable less flexible and more challenging to use. Cat6a cables are about 40-50% thicker, heavier, and even more expensive than Cat6.



CAT5 and CAT6 Ethernet cables each have their advantages, and depending on the actual needs, they can both be the best choice for us, so when we need to choose between the two, we should first consider whether our actual needs are for a home or public network, how much speed we need, etc.


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