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Study Notes

What is the difference between CAT5, CAT5E and CAT6 cable?

2015-03-06 23:41:40

Category 5 Network Cable
Bandwidth up to 100MHz
Supports 10/100 Ethernet (Ethernet and Fast Ethernet)

Category 5E Network Cable
Bandwidth up to 350MHz
Supports 10/100/1000 Ethernet (Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet)
Backwards compatible with CAT5 cable
Reduced crosstalk compared to CAT5

Category 6 Network Cable
Bandwidth up to 550MHz
Supports 10/100/1000 Ethernet (Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet)
Backwards compatible with CAT5/CAT5E cable
Reduced crosstalk compared to CAT5/CAT5E

CAT5E cable is most commonly used today, as it's fast and economical. Visibly, you will notice a difference between CAT5E and CAT6 because CAT6 has a cross-shaped plastic separator in the middle, separating each twisted pair for reduced interference.

CAT5E supports Gigabit networking, but CAT6 is certified for Gigabit networking and will perform better over longer distances. Keep in mind that your network is only as fast as your slowest component, so unless every piece of your network (routers, cables, etc.) supports Gigabit Ethernet, you will not be able to reach those speeds.


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