CAT5 versus CAT6
When we think of recent technology advances, we’re likely to first consider upgrades to computer and video technology. But the cables that connect these devices together is also evolving. CAT5 and CAT6 cables are most notoriously used to connect network components such as computers, servers and modems. They’ve seen significant enhancements in recent years enabling greater performance. Here’s a rundown on how they currently stack up.
CAT5 cables are divided into two categories: CAT5 and CAT5e. However, in recent years, CAT5 cables are becoming obsolete due enhancements in other cabling. This cable can process up to 10/100 Mbps at a bandwidth of 100MHz, a speed that was once fast enough for most businesses. Now, newer CAT cables can process faster speeds. Specifically, CAT5e cables (the “e” stands for “enhanced”) became the new standard over the past decade with remarkable performance compared to the old CAT5 cable, including up to 10 times faster speeds with minimal crosstalk.
CAT6 cables can handle up to 10 Gb of data, but their bandwidth is limited to 164 feet. Beyond that distance, they will only process 1 Gb, like their predecessor—the CAT5e cable. CAT6e cables are the most recent development with a thick, plastic casing works to eliminate crosstalk. They can also maintain 10 Gb speed of data transfer for 328 feet.
CAT6 cables also have a tighter twist in the cables, which allows for two-way communication on each pair of wires—something that isn’t possible with CAT5e cabling.
Electronics emit electromagnetic signals, which takes place when many cables are close to each other and interfere. This interference in cabling is referred to as crosstalk. It can amplify errors and lost data. Newer CAT cables are able to reduce the amount of crosstalk with a twisted cable design and better shielding.
Which cable should I use in my business’ network?
Both CAT5 and CAT6 cables use the same end piece, meaning they can plug into the same ports. This is known as an RJ-45 end, which will be able to plug into the same Ethernet jack on all of your computers, routers and switches. This is a feature that isn’t predicted to end soon, meaning the difference in these cables stems from the performance elements noted above.
The most future-proofed businesses will require a CAT6e cable, but many smaller businesses will find that CAT5e and CAT6 cables are sufficient. But with many businesses moving their servers to the cloud, internal networking is shrinking and companies are instead requiring higher Internet speeds to access and store their files.
Ultimately, network cabling isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Commercial users will have different demands when it comes to Internet speeds, system requirements and performance.
No matter what type of cable you need for your business, Panopticon Solutions has got you covered. We have almost a decade of experience installing, updating and maintaining cabling systems in the Greater Toronto Area, and our expert technicians will ensure your network’s cabling is reliable, safe and secure. For more information about network cabling, give us a call at: 647-706-8650.