What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

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What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Enigma » 2016-04-30 06:50pm

I need to relocate the router to maximize the Wi-Fi range so I am planning to order some ethernet cables online. But I see at least two different ethernet cables, Cat5 (or Cat5e) and Cat6. Does it matter which one I get?
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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Mr Bean » 2016-04-30 07:13pm

Enigma wrote:I need to relocate the router to maximize the Wi-Fi range so I am planning to order some ethernet cables online. But I see at least two different ethernet cables, Cat5 (or Cat5e) and Cat6. Does it matter which one I get?
Yes, Cat6 is better but better *
It can be shorthanded to this

Cat5 100mb and below connections supported
Cat5e 1,000mb and below connections supported
Cat 6 10,000mb and below connections supported

All end in an RJ-45 all work with each other, the only difference between them is price and the amount of bits you can shove down them. Wifi except for the latest and greatest 802.11ac tops out below 100m. 802.11ac CAN get above generic Cat5 speeds but only under certain conditions.

So if you want to totally be covered for everything and anything go buy Cat5e, as the most common type in use these days it also tends to be pretty cost competitive.

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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Dominus Atheos » 2016-04-30 07:17pm

Ask LH: What's The Difference Between Cat5, Cat5e And Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

There is, in fact, a difference between all those network cables. They look very similar from the outside, and any of them will plug into an ethernet port, but they do have some differences on the inside. If you aren’t sure what type of cables you have, look at the text printed on the cable — usually it will tell you what type it is. The differences between each type of cable can get very complicated and have a lot to do with network standards, but we’ll tell you just what you need to know: how they’ll practically affect the speed of your home network.
Cat5: A Little Older, A Little Slower

Category 5 cabling, also known as Cat5, is an older type of network cabling. Cat5 cables were made to support theoretical speeds of 10Mbps and 100Mbps. You may be able to get gigabit speeds on a Cat5 cable, particularly if the cable is shorter, but it isn’t always guaranteed.

Since Cat5 is an older type of cabling, you probably won’t see them very much in the store, but you may have gotten some with an older router, switch or other networking device.
Cat5e: Faster with Less Interference

Category 5 enhanced cabling, also known as Cat5e, is an improvement on Cat5 cabling. It was made to support 1000 Mbps “gigabit” speeds, so in theory, it’s faster than Cat5. It it also cuts down on crosstalk, the interference you can sometimes get between wires inside the cable. Both of these improvements mean you’re more likely to get fast, reliable speed out of Cat5e cabling compared to Cat5.
Cat6: Even Faster, But Not Super Necessary

Category 6 cabling is the next step up from Cat5e and includes a few more improvements. It has even stricter specifications when it comes to interference, and its capable of 10-Gigabit speeds in some cases. You probably won’t use these speeds in your home, and the extra interference improvements won’t make a huge difference in regular usage, so you don’t exactly need to rush out and upgrade to Cat6. But, if you’re buying a new cable, you might as well, since it is an improvement over its predecessor.
So Which Should You Use?

It’s important to note that your network speed is different to your internet speed. Chances are upgrading your cables isn’t going to make a difference in how fast you load Lifehacker or Facebook — your internet speeds are still much slower than speeds on your network. However, if you’re transferring files between computers (say, if you’re backing up to a NAS), using gigabit-compatible hardware can make things move along faster. Remember, you’ll need more than just cables — to get gigabit speeds, you’ll also need a gigabit-compatible router and gigabit-capable network cards in your computers. Most modern routers and cards are already capable of these fast speeds, but if you have any older PCs or routers, they might not be. Google your hardware’s model number to find out.

If you’re happy with the current speeds on your network, then there’s no need to go through the trouble of upgrading everything. However, if you have gigabit-capable hardware already, then upgrading the cables is very cheap. If you’re looking to get the best possible speeds out of your network, upgrading the old Cat5 cables to Cat5e could help. Like we said, some Cat5 cables can reach gigabit speeds, but unless you want to run speed tests and find out — which sounds horribly tedious to me — you might as well just spend a few bucks and get all Cat5e or Cat6. If you’re running these cables through your walls instead of just through your office, though, it’s going to get more costly (and less worth the trouble).

Lastly, remember that when we talk about the speeds of these cables, those are all theoretical. Even if everything on your network supports gigabit ethernet, you’ll probably never see speeds of 1Gb/s. But, your data transfers will be a lot faster than they would on non-gigabit hardware. Also, if you’re running cable throughout your house, you may notice a decrease in speeds if you are using cables longer than 100m.

So, in short, If you transfer lots of data over your network, upgrading your cables from old Cat5 might help, and it’s so cheap that you might as well try it out. But don’t stress over it. For home use, the cables you use aren’t going to be a huge deal.

Cheers
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http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/04/as ... t6-cables/

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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Enigma » 2016-04-30 08:12pm

Thanks. :)
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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Starglider » 2016-04-30 08:26pm

Cat5 is junk at this point and most vendors have stopped selling it. Cat 5e is the minimum you should buy and if you're going to install cabling into a building it is sensible to pay the slight premium for Cat 6. 10Gbase-T switches aren't quite at commodity pricing yet but they will be soon; gigabit ethernet will be obsoleted if nothing else by the fact that latest gen wireless base stations can exceed 1G throughput in multi-client beam forming mode.

Cat 6A/Cat7 on the other hand is probably overkill for domestic applications, since the range advantage on 10G isn't needed and at current trends it'll be another decade before 40GBase-T ports become sensibly priced. 6A cables have gotten better but they're still a bit harder to run than vanilla Cat6, Cat7 is still a mess of bulky expensive cables, custom connectors and incomplete standardisation. In fact a lot of the less reputable vendors pretending to sell 'Cat7/7A' cable are actually just 6A or even Cat6; no-one outside of a vendor test lab has a 40GBase-T switch yet (datacentre applications are all fibre or CR4 DA cables with QSFP+ termination), and very few buyers have 1000MHz-rated cable testers that would tell the difference.

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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by phongn » 2016-05-01 08:17pm

Starglider wrote:Cat5 is junk at this point and most vendors have stopped selling it. Cat 5e is the minimum you should buy and if you're going to install cabling into a building it is sensible to pay the slight premium for Cat 6. 10Gbase-T switches aren't quite at commodity pricing yet but they will be soon; gigabit ethernet will be obsoleted if nothing else by the fact that latest gen wireless base stations can exceed 1G throughput in multi-client beam forming mode.
It looks like 802.3bz Multigigabit Ethernet will probably take over first; they're trying to get 5 gbit over Cat5e (and it they can't, 2.5 gbit) to handle the 802.11ac Wave 2 APs without requiring businesses to run a whole lot of new wire.
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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Starglider » 2016-05-02 08:34am

phongn wrote:It looks like 802.3bz Multigigabit Ethernet will probably take over first; they're trying to get 5 gbit over Cat5e (and it they can't, 2.5 gbit) to handle the 802.11ac Wave 2 APs without requiring businesses to run a whole lot of new wire.
Yes, NBase-T is basically 'the signal processing hardware for 10G is already so dynamic and adaptive it doesn't cost much to give it more speed options, and that opens up more sales opportunities'. The x10 bandwidth steps and 100m distance requirement were limiting people from getting the maximum speed out of their installed cable, as 100m runs (+up to 10m patch cords) are very rare in practice. It remains to be seen if anyone is going to bother with a 20G step between 10G and 40G, the first wave of 40G is all targetted for datacentre rack to spine where the cable quality is tightly controlled.

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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by phongn » 2016-05-06 03:36pm

Starglider wrote:Yes, NBase-T is basically 'the signal processing hardware for 10G is already so dynamic and adaptive it doesn't cost much to give it more speed options, and that opens up more sales opportunities'. The x10 bandwidth steps and 100m distance requirement were limiting people from getting the maximum speed out of their installed cable, as 100m runs (+up to 10m patch cords) are very rare in practice. It remains to be seen if anyone is going to bother with a 20G step between 10G and 40G, the first wave of 40G is all targetted for datacentre rack to spine where the cable quality is tightly controlled.
I only have Cat5e in my walls so multigigabit ethernet will be rather welcomed - plus I can basically saturate gigabit ethernet in my home LAN pretty easily. I'm just hoping that costs will come down nicely (and not be as expensive per-port as 10gbe)
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Re: What is the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

Post by Starglider » 2016-05-07 07:51am

phongn wrote:I'm just hoping that costs will come down nicely (and not be as expensive per-port as 10gbe)
It isn't going to be cheaper than 10GBase-T, because the DSP power and transceiver quality required is at least as high. However 10GBase-T itself is rapidly becoming commoditised.

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