What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

Ethernet Cable Networking
ethernet cord

Development of ethernet cables experienced a long run. It can be divided from Category 1 (Cat 1) to the latest Category 8 (Cat 8). An Ethernet cable carries the broadband signals between your modem, router, and other internet-capable devices. Ethernet cables come in different shapes, lengths, and sizes but their major difference is their category.

It is essential to learn what they are and the differences between them. In the following article, we will introduce all ethernet cable separately.

u9112943503367342286fm26gp0 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

Category1 Cable (Cat1)

It is a grade of unshielded twisted pair of cables designed for telephone communication, has maximum frequency suitable for transmission over Cat 1 cable is 1MHz. It is currently considered adequate for data transmission Cat 1 cable applies for telephone cables to transmit voice before the early 1980 and is capable of up to 1HMZ bandwidth.

Category2 Cable (Cat2)

Unshielded twisted-pair cabling designed for telephone and data communication and maximum frequency transmission over Cat 2 is 4MHz with a maximum bandwidth of 4Mbit/s. Cat 2 contains 4 pairs of wires, or 8 wires total, it is used for token networks and supports speed up to 4Mbps.

Category3 Cable (Cat3)

cat3 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

Cat3 specifies in the ANSI and EIA/TIA568 standards.

 Known as a station wire, it is an unshielded twisted pair of cable used for voice and data communication in telecommunications networks.

Provides 16MHz of bandwidth and delivers good voice communication performances, it also carries data at speed much higher than its base speed when implemented in 100BaseT network. It transmits data at a speed of 10bps.

Category4 Cable (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 is mainly used for token-based LANs and 10BASE-T/ 100BASE-T and shielded twisted pairs (STP) cables, but UTP is the primary version.

Category5 Cable (Cat5)

cat5 2 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

Computer network twisted cables, have standard performance of up to 100MHz, suited for most varieties of Ethernet over twisted pairs up to 2.5GBASE-T speed but mostly runs at 1000 GBASE-T speed. It is used to carry other signals such as telephone and video. Cat 5 cables are capable of supporting gigabit speed at shorter distances.

Category5e Cable (Cat5e)

cat5e - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

  Category 5 enhanced are cables with typically 24-gauge twisted pair wires, it can go up to 1 gigabit per second and handle a maximum 100 MHz bandwidth Cat 5e can reduce crosstalk and unwanted transmission of signals between data channels


  • Two pairs of Cat5 twisted wires are fast Ethernet while four of Cat5e twisted wires are fast Ethernet.
  • Cat 5 has 100Mbps speed while cat 5e has 1000Mbps speed.
  • Cat 5 has greater potential for crosstalk/interference while Cat 5e has less crosstalk/interference.
  • Cat 5e twisted pair cables are newer than Cat 5, therefore, supporting fast data transmission rates than Cat 5.

Category6 Cable (Cat6)

cat6 1 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

Has standard twisted pair cables, backward compatibility with Cat 5/5e and Cat 3 standard cables. It supports gigabit up to 100m but only allows for use in the 10-gigabit network over a specific distance and standard performance of up to 250MHz, has a maximum length of 55metres when used for 10GBASE-T.

The transmission rate of Cat6 is much higher than that of Cat5.

Compared to Cat 5e, the considerable merit of Cat 6 improves the performance of crosstalk and returns loss. It is important for new generation full-duplex high-speed network applications.

Category6a Cable (Cat 6A)

CAT 6A UTP STP 1 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

An unshielded twisted pair cable in ANSI/EIA/TIA-566B-2 and 150 categories 6/e standard supports 200MHz to 250MHz, it best applies to a gigabit network with a maximal transmission rate of 1000Mbps.

Has improved alien crosstalk, allowing 10 GBASE-T to run the same 100-meter maximum and defined for frequency up to 500MHz. The letter a stands for augmented which is a nob to Cat 6a improved.


  • Cat 6A has higher maximum speed of 500MHz while Cat 6 has 250MHz.
  • Cat 6 has a weak tolerance because its copper conductors are not tightly twisted compired to those of cat6A

Category7 Cable (Cat7)

cat7 1 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

Used to cable the infrastructure of gigabit Ethernet, it offers up to 600MHz bandwidth and supports high-speed Ethernet communication up to 10Gbps.

It is the latest model in the 150 class 7/f standard.

It can adapt to the application and development of 10 gigabit Ethernet technology.

The maximum cable length of the Cat 7 network is 10Gbps with 100m.

Category8 Cable (Cat8)

cat8 - What is Ethernet Cable? How to know Cat 1/2/3/4/5/5E/6/6A/7/8?

The latest technique for the Ethernet cable supports up to 2000MHz and 40Gbps speed over 20 meters. Due to its aluminum foil and braid cover, it can stop interference from the electromagnetic and radio. Limited up to 30 meters 2-connector channels, it requires shielded cables and it supports speed of 35Gbps or 40Gbps.

 Q & A

Can I mix Cat6 and Cat6A?

Cat6A has additional and tighter twist with additional insulation to reduce crosstalk. Cat6A is also backwards compatible with Cat6 and Cat5 E, hence speeds are always limited or will perform to the lowest category cable or connector that is installed in the link.

Can cat5 be used in place of cat7?

Cat 7 is compatible with cat 6 and cat 5 and cat 5 cable categories, it offers 90/100 4-connector channels using shielded cabling and is designed to transmit signals at frequencies up to 600MHz therefore allowing the user to get maximum speed even with long cables.

Can ethernet cables work without connectors?

One end is connected to the router and the other end is directly connected to the computer. It can also be used without an RJ45 connector in the middle. The RJ45 connector functions as an extension of the network cable.

Are rj45 connector important?

RJ45 connectors are useful not only for transferring data and information but also for allowing two or more machines or devices to communicate with each other at a first rate.

What are the advantages of RJ45 connectors?

They are referred to as the 8P8C connector plug which stands for eight position, eight contacts plug sockets. They have connections that are power efficient and do not need to be maintained.

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