Ethernet Cable Comparison

What type of Ethernet Cable should you have installed, CAT5e, CAT6, or CAT6a ?

Ethernet cables are defined by sequentially numbered Categories (CAT) based on different specifications.  Voice Grade Cabling is CAT3.  Early Ethernet Cabling was CAT5.  Further clarification, testing standards, or improvements sometimes creates the need to update the Category, ie; CAT5e, or CAT6a.

CAT5e Cable is good for 10/100/1000MB (1-Gigabit) use up to 100 meters (100Mhz)

CAT6 Cable is good for 10/100/1000MB (1-Gigabit) use up to 100 meters (250Mhz)

CAT6 Cable is good for 10/100/1000/10,000MB (10-Gigabit) use up to 55 meters (250Mhz)

CAT6a Cable is good for 10/100/1000/10,000MB (10-Gigabit) use up to 100 meters (500Mhz)

The higher the CAT number, the higher the speed and Mhz of the cable. Each Category requires more stringent testing and requires the elimination of more crosstalk.

You will need your cable installed correctly or you won’t obtain the speeds the cable is capable of.  Just because you have CAT6 Cable, does NOT mean that you will 1Gb network speeds. Every termination and connection in your network must be installed to standard in order to support the 1Gb speed.

The main difference between CAT6 and CAT6a is that CAT6a was revised/augmented to provide testing up to 500Mhz which doubled the 250Mhz capability of CAT6.  That’s why CAT6a can support 10Gb up to 100 meters, while CAT6 can only support 1Gb up to 100 meters.

ECS is Cabling Contractor/Networking Company located in Seattle, WA & Portland, OR.

ECS provides local technicians for on-site work installing and servicing a variety of voice/data equipment, ie; Low Voltage Cabling, CAT5e/CAT6, Fiber Optic, IP Office Telephone Systems, Voicemail, Telephones, Firewalls, Ethernet Switches, Circuit Extensions, Wireless Networking, Video Surveillance, Point of Sale, Overhead Paging, Avaya Aura Servers, Gateways, etc. 

ECS provides services in Washington & Oregon, primarily in the greater Seattle & Portland areas.

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