Friday, July 29, 2016

CAT5e vs. CAT6 vs. CAT6e vs. CAT6a vs. CAT7 for Structured Cabling

While the consumer electronics keep proceeding increasingly wireless, many LANs still rely heavily on CAT cables to manage all the heavy training when it comes to transmitting data. To commence with, all Ethernet cables are of two key varieties i. e. UTP (unshielded twisted pair) or STP (Shielded twisted pair) variety. They all have the same construction structure, but vary a great deal so far as transmission rate of recurrence and throughput are involved.
However, some terms need to be defined before any meaningful comparison can be presented:

Ethernet cable Speed?

  • 10 Mbps = 1.2 MB / s i.e. 1 hour to download a DVD (4.5 GB)
  • 100 Mbps = 12 MB/s i.e.  1 hour to download 10 DVDs (assuming 4.5 GB average)
  • 1.0 Gbps = 125 MB/s i.e. 1 hour to download 100 DVDs (assuming 4.5 GB average)
  • 10 Gbps = 1.25 Gbps i.e. 1 hour to download 1000 DVDs (assuming 4.5 GB average)


Think about you can only drive two cars, one traveler each, at a given time over a highway in each of the two lanes. Now you would be able to exchange more people over the same highway if you can drive the same two cars 500 journeys per day compared to 250 trips per day.
Now imagine the same analogy but replace cars with bits of data. Therefore if you can only drive two bits on a given data-line then 100 Mhz (or one hundred million cycles per second) will give more bandwidth (i. e. ability to transfer data over the same line) then 50 Mhz (or 50 Million cycles per second).

Category 5e

Whilst very similar to CAT5 in appearance, CAT5e introduces some new wrinkles in the equation. For one thing, CAT5e uses four pairs of copper line rather than the two that CAT5 relies on. Additionally , the wire pairs are twisted more firmly and are sheathed in heavy-duty shielding to eliminate crosstalk. Crosstalk cuts down on the speed at which a cable can transmit information. Thanks to its internal upgrades, CAT5e is capable of accomplishing 1000BASE-T speeds. In other words, it can deal with up to 1 Gbps of throughput at a distance of up to 100 meters. As of today, it can the most frequent type of wiring seen in modern homes and offices for Ethernet purposes.

Category 6

For back-end, high-capacity networking, CAT6 supports Gigabit Ethernet needs. Supporting frequencies of up to 250 MHz and the 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T, and 10GBASE-T standards, it can handle up to 10 Gbps in conditions of throughput. Thanks to better cable insulation, CAT6 reduces potential crosstalk specially than CAT5e. When used for Gigabit Ethernet and below, the maximum allowable cable length is 100 yards. For 10GBASE-T speeds, the utmost cable length is 55 meters. The one major caveat of CAT6 cabling is that installation can be tricky, as compatibility with 8P8C requires the use of special adapter items for optimal performance.

Category 6e or Enhanced Category 6

These are an enhancement on the standard CAT6 cables, as they perform much better when installed in an atmosphere with high noise or RF interference. While better than CAT6, they are not just like the CAT6a or CAT6 Augmented standard cables.

Category 6a

If you're wiring up your home or office for Ethernet, for the long haul, CAT6a is the perfect choice in phrases of future-proofing. When it comes to A/V protocols, CAT6a is supposed to replace HIGH-DEFINITION MULTIMEDIA INTERFACE in the approaching years. Typically the main difference between CAT6a and CAT6 is that CAT6a can operate at a frequency of upwards to 750 MHz. In addition, CAT6a is even less susceptible to disturbance and crosstalk. The increased specification and shielding allows CAT6a to provide more regularly reliable speeds in difficult environments. Thanks to its performance and balance, CAT6a is the preferred cable for 10GBASE-T Ethernet.

Category 7 and Future

The particular set of Ethernet options won't stop at CAT6a. There's also a version called CAT7 that's even more capable than each of the TP cable variants in the above list. CAT7, also known as Class F cable, supports transmission frequencies of up to 600 MHz. It supports 10GBASE-T Ethernet over the full 100 meters, and it features improved crosstalk noise reduction. While CAT6e is the current standard when it comes to 10GBASE-T, it will inevitably get replaced with CAT7. Nobody knows what the future holds for Ethernet cables or what is going to come next in conditions of format or performance. No matter what happens, expect faster and faster cables with each transferring year as the technology and protocols that support Ethernet continue to improve. Lastly, one thing to always keep in mind is that any custom cable can be built to address the application on any project.

Posted By: Premium Wires

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CAT5e vs. CAT6 vs. CAT6e vs. CAT6a vs. CAT7 for Structured Cabling
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Tulis comments
September 26, 2016 at 8:07 PM

Just pointing out that there's actually no Cat6e standard:

"Following the finalization of Cat 6, a number of manufacturers began offering "Category 6e" cables as an enhancement to the Category 6 standard—presumably naming it after Category 5e. However, no legitimate Category 6e standard exists, and Cat 6e is not a recognized standard by the Telecommunications Industry Association."

- Wikipedia article on Cat6 standard

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October 17, 2016 at 1:30 PM

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