Ethernet Cable:Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8-What & How

Ethernet Cable Networking
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Development of ethernet cables experienced a long run. It can be divided from Category 1 (Cat 1) to the latest Category 8 (Cat 8). It is essential to learn what they are and the differences between them. In the following article, we will introduce all ethernet cable separately.

Category1 (Cat1)

It’s the one that is different from data transmission category. It applies for telephone cables in order to transmit voice before the early 1980s.

Category2 (Cat2)

This one began to transfer data with a quite low speed at a maximum transmission rate of 4Mbps and used for voice transmission. It is common in the old token network using the 4Mbps standard token transfer protocol.

Category3 (Cat3)

CAT3

Cat3 specifies in the ANSI and EIA/TIA568 standards.

And it is ideal for voice transmission and at a maximum date transmission rate of 10Mbps. Besides, the limited transmission frequency is 16MHz.

It mainly applies to 10BASE-T, which is the most common form of traditional Ethernet with unshielded twisted pair (UTP) used initially.

Category4 (Cat4)

The transmission frequency of this type of cable is 20MHz, ideal for voice transmission and data transmission at a maximum transmission rate of 16Mbps. It mainly uses for token-based LANs and 10BASE-T / 100BASE-T.

Category5 (Cat5)

CAT5

This category has increased internal winding density with external high-quality insulation material, allowing 100MHz transmission frequency with maximal 100Mbps.

Designed to better support Gigabit Ethernet speeds of up to 1000Mbps by using all four copper wire pairs compared with only two pairs used in Cat5.

Cat5e has greatly improved performance with less attenuation, less crosstalk, higher attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio (ACR), higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and smaller delay errors.

Actually, Cat 5 cables are capable of supporting gigabit speeds at shorter distances as well. Due to combination of affordability and high performance, Cat 5 cable remains the popular choice for most wired local area networks.

Category5e (Cat5e)

CAT5E

As a stronger version of Cat 5, and has been largely replaced cat 5.
Cat 5e can go up to 1 gigabit per second / Gbps and handle a maximum 100 MHz bandwidth.

Cat5e can reduce crosstalk,and unwanted transmission of signals between data channels.


Both Cat5 and Cat5e has four twisted pairs of wires. However, for cat5, there are only two of these pairs for fast Ethernet. The cat5e is more advanced. All of four twisted wire enables gigabit Ethernet speed.

Category6 (Cat6)

CAT6 UTP &CAT6 STP

The frequency of transmission for this category ranges from 1MHz to 250MHz. It also have a large margin at 200MHz for the comprehensive ACR, which provides 2 times as the bandwidth of Cat5.

Of course, the transmission rate of Cat6 is much higher than the Cat5. It is the most suitable race for applications.

Comparing with Cat5e, the considerable merit of Cat6 improves the performance of crosstalk and return loss. It is extremely important for new generation full-duplex high-speed network applications.

Category6a (Cat6a)

CAT6E STP &CAT6E UTP

An improved version of Cat 6 which has even better performance than Cat 6 in crosstalk, attenuation, and SNR.

It is also an unshielded twisted pair cable in ANSI / EIA / TIA-568B-2 and ISO Category 6 / E standards.

Although its transmission frequency is as same as Cat5, it supports 200MHz to 250MHz. It best applies to a gigabit network with maximal transmission rate of 1000Mbps

Category7 (Cat7)

CAT7

Cat7 cable is latest model in the ISO Class 7 / F standard. It can adapt to the application and development of 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology. It should fits your home or office network system.

And it mainly adapts to the application and development of 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology. Their transmission rate can reach 10Gbps.

Category8 (Cat8)

CAT8

The Cat8 is the latest technique for Ethernet cable.

The Cat 8 cables support up to 2000MHz and 40Gbps speed over 20 meters. Due to cover by aluminum foil and braid, it can completely prevent the interference from electromagnetic and radio.

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