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Cat5 & Cat6 - What's the Difference?

by:TBT     2020-07-23
Once only seen in the office and in geek's homes today a net of some sort can be discovered in a lot of homes. The influx of digital devices in to our normal lives saw the use of networking become much more unremarkable than it used to be.
Today you'll see them connecting all manner of things together sharing resources like internet connections or simply sharing photos, flicks, music or information between them. For some people this can lead to a number of Problems but one that comes up time and time again is what is the difference between Cat5, and Cat6 wire and which should I choose?
While Cat5 cable has been around for several years now the more modern and updated version Cat6 wire has only become humdrum more lately. Developed to deal with the demands of the modern digital era in which we live with gigabyte (1000mbs) speeds at minimum and up to ten times that are on offer. While Cat5 wire can manage up to 100mbs which in its day was considered fast, as you can see above this is not so any longer! There's also another choice that being a reinforced version of Cat5 cable known as Cat5e cable this offers larger speeds of up to 1000mbs and bigger info integrity than its previous version.
Frequently time's folks think that by plugging quicker network cables into their equipment that you'll see better performance. This is a long way from true as a network is only as quickly as its slowest component so if you employ a Cat6 cable then you won't see the blazingly fast 10gigabit data transfers that you were wanting unless you're other appliances are able of also transferring at that rate.
Although the more modern Cat5e wire and Cat6 cable may look identical to the earlier Cat5 cable inside there were a few changes going on which have allowed for this bigger speed and security. In particular with Cat6 wire the reason behind it is the way that the wire cores are guarded they're all shielded from one another for the full length of the wire. This permits there to be less interference between them and improves the throughput significantly.
So which to select Cat5 cable or Cat6 cable? If your gear will support the more recent Cat6 cable then for sure that is the one to pick or if you're planning on upgrading existing appliances in the future then definitely go for Cat6 cable. If however you are equipment is not up to gigabit specification and you are not planning on upgrading then you could probably get away with the older Cat5 cable.
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