When buying various cables and wires needed for our electronics, it can be easy to assume that all of them are the same. After all, they look quite identical, right? Well, in most cases, that isn’t the case.
That’s especially the case when it comes to ethernet cables. Even though these network cables look pretty similar and, in most cases, also have the same ends, it’s still essential that you buy the right kind of one for your needs.
Thankfully, though, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out which kind of ethernet cable you need to buy. These are regularly split up into numbered categories depending on their purpose or application. All manufacturers who produce ethernet cables are legally obliged to mark them with the correct group so that there is never any confusion as to which kind you are purchasing.
Is it time you bought a new ethernet cable? You may choose from one of these main categories.
Cat-5 Ethernet Cables
You will often find that Cat-5 ethernet cables are regularly used for 100Base-T and 1000Base-T networks. This is mostly down to the fact that they can allow for data of 100 Mbps and even slightly more. These days, it is now the standard version of ethernet cables after having replaced the now-dated Cat-3 cable.
Cat-5e Ethernet Cables
The Cat-5e is a cable that is recognized by the TIA/EIA. It has a slightly higher frequency than the Cat-5, so you will find that it can allow for up to 125 Mbps.
Cat-6 Ethernet Cables
Another cable that is defined by the TIA/EIA is the Cat-6. This ethernet cable performs a lot better than both the Cat-5 and Cat-5e as it can support up to 10 Gbps.
Cat-6a Ethernet Cables
For an even better performance from your network cable, you might want to choose a Cat-6a. These cables support up to twice the maximum bandwidth, so you will find that they can maintain high transmissions over very long lengths of cable.
Now that you understand the basics between the different categories, you will need to know which is the best for your particular purpose. Here are some factors that you can use when trying to decide.
One thing that will influence your decision is the physical differences between the various ethernet cables that are available.
Generally speaking, the longer the cable is then, the slower the transmission speeds will be. However, if you are buying an ethernet for personal use in your home, then this shouldn’t bother you. Most ethernets that are purchased for personal use only go up to 100 meters, so you shouldn’t experience too much of a dip in transmission speeds. If you are buying for professional use and need to invest in a long cable, then this is something that you will need to take into consideration. If you do need a long cable around 100 meters, then you will be better off going with a Cat-6a network cable as this will be able to give you speeds of up to 10 Gbps. This is certainly impressive when you compare it to the Cat-5 which would only provide you with 100 Mbps.
Twists In The Cable
Each ethernet cable will have different twists in them. Some cables have more twists in them per centimeter in the wire. Even though the number of twists isn’t standardized, the majority of network cables will feature 1.5 or 2 twists every centimeter. Cat-6 and Cat-6a cables will have more twists per centimeter than the Cat-5 and Cat-5e network cables. The main reason for this twisting of the inner wires is so that the currents can be balanced. This means that the current going down one wire will be going in one direction while the other wire will be taking the current in the other direction. This helps to transmit data over long lengths of cables.
Shielding Vs. Unshielded
You will also notice that some fiber optic cabling features a shielding around the wires, while some are entirely unshielded. This provides the cable with some physical protection, but it also helps to eliminate any crosstalk between the twisted cables. If you want an ethernet cable to use inside your home, then an unshielded one should work just fine. That’s because there is no chance of any interference. However, if you are going to run the cable outside or in an area where you expect some high interference, then it will prove to be a lot better if you run an ethernet that has some shielding.
Solid Vs. Stranded
When we talk about reliable and stranded ethernet cables, it’s the copper conductor that we are talking about. If you choose a reliable cable, then this means that there will be a single piece of copper in the conductor. However, a stranded ethernet cable will have a series of copper cables twisted together. A stranded cable will be very flexible and is perfect for use at a desk and in the home if you will need to move the cable often. If you are going to install your new ethernet cable in a permanent spot, then it could be better off going for a reliable cable as it will be a lot less flexible. These are also very durable cables, so they are perfect for placing outside as well.
As you can see, there is quite a lot to think about when you are choosing a new ethernet cable. If you are ever unsure, though, head over to the Phase One Cabling for more info, if you want to speak to one of their friendly team, then you can reach out to them by giving them a quick call or by filling out the contact form on their site.
It’s essential that you buy the right kind of ethernet for your purpose, as it will make a difference. So get in touch with professionals who can help you with your choice today!