Wireless technology is gaining more and more popularity. This technology has eliminated the mess multiple wires would create. However, many applications still require Cat5, Cat6, and Cat7 plenum bulk cable. Ethernet cables are the backbone of any network. There are different types of cables including:

  • Cat 3
  • Cat 5
  • Cat 6
  • Cat 7

There are some other variations of ethernet cables. Here ‘cat’ is ‘category’. So, whether you need a cable for a network or gaming, you can choose the cable accordingly. For years, Cat5 (especially Cat5e) was often referred to as the best cable. When copper telephone cables were repurposed for both voice communication data, the numbering was started.

What are the Differences Between Cat7, Cat6, and Cat5 Ethernet Cables?

These unshielded cables had twisted pair configuration. This was Cat 1 cable with a data rate of 1Mbps. However, these cables are not in use for the data connection for decades.

Check the following table:

Category Shielding Transmission Speed
Cat 3 No 10 Mbps
Cat 5 No 10/100 Mbps
Cat 5e No 1000Mbps/1Gbps
Cat 6 Yes or No 1000Mbps/1Gbps
Cat 6a Yes 10000Mbps/10Gbps
Cat 7 Yes 10000Mbps/10Gbps

Cat 5

Cat 5 became a common Ethernet standard. Though Cat 5 is outdated, it offers a nice throughput speed of 100 Mbps up to 100 meters. However, these cables are not very common these days.

Cat 5e

The next standard was Cat 5e (Enhanced Cat 5). It is a modern higher standard cable that reduces the phenomenon of crosstalk. It offers a speed of 1000 Mbps. Cat 5e cable is also used in Gigabit Ethernet. However, if you are looking for cables for a new ethernet setup, look for better options as this is the slowest one. Its cost is its advantage. So, if you want to save money, you can buy Cat 5e cables online.

Cat 6

A Cat 6 cable uses a nylon spline and shielding to reduce interference and crosstalk. This standard is wound more tightly. This too helps in reducing interference and crosstalk. This standard can provide you with speed up to 10 Gbps. However, the speed is limited to a distance of 55 meters, which is shorter than Cat 5e and Cat 5. While speed is high for shorter distances, there are some downsides of this standard. A Cat 6 cable is stiffer. Therefore, it is more difficult to bend. Its thickness makes it difficult to terminate it. A Cat 6 cable is more expensive than Cat 5e.

Cat 6a

There is not much difference between cat6a and cat6 for the most part. However, some differences are worth noting. The cost of a cat6 cable is 22-35% higher than a cat 6 cable. The maximum length of cable is 100 meters across all conditions and systems for gigabit Ethernet. A 100 meters cable offers a theoretical top speed of 10gbps. Cat6a cable offers double bandwidth that is 500 MHz. Moreover, cat6a cable is often shielded. For this reason, it is suitable for industrial uses.

Cat7 and beyond

This is the latest standard. A cat 7 cable comes with a shield. The cable uses a GigaGate 45 connection. It can offer a maximum speed of 100 Gbps up to 15 meters. Its speed at longer distances is reverted to 10 Gbps. If you want to use a cable that represents the next generation, you can buy cat 7 plenum bulk cable online. Cat 8 cable is a serious upgrade. Cat 8.1 offers a speed of 25 Gbps and cat 8.2 offers a speed of 40 Gbps. Both cat 8.1 and cat 8.2 are shielded and bandwidth is 2000 MHz.

Choose a cable according to your bandwidth and speed requirements. Also, consider the shield and distance.