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Category Cable Types Explained


Different types of category cables
Category Cable Types

Ethernet cables were created to link network devices and are mostly used to connect devices located on LAN systems, such as routers, PCs, and switches. However, Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 cables can also be utilized in audio visual, CCTV setups and home automation applications. More about the types of category cables below:


Cat3 (Category-3) Cat3 cable is an earlier generation of cable, which supports a maximum frequency of 16 MHz. This cable may have 2, 3, or 4 copper pairs. Cat3 type of Ethernet cable is still used for two-line telephone systems and 10BASE-T networks. It is also used for alarm system installation or similar kinds of applications.

Cat5 (Category-5) These cables are slower compared to modern-day hardware requirements. So, you should use this type of cable only if you have older hardware that requires older type of wiring.

Cat5e (Category-5e) Cat5e is one of the most popular cabling types of an ethernet cable used for deployments because of its ability to support Gigabit speeds at a cost-effective price. Cat 5e can support up to 1000 Mbps speeds, which is flexible enough for small space installations. Therefore, it is widely used in residential areas. Cat5e is one of the least expensive cabling options available in the market.

Cat6 (Category-6) Cat6 cabling supports up to 10 Gbps and frequencies of up to 250 MHz. This type of cable is more tightly twisted and features two or more twists per centimeter. It only supports 37-55 meters when transmitting 10 Gbps speeds.

Cat6a (Category-6a) Cat6a ethernet cable supports bandwidth frequencies of up to 500 MHz. Cat6a cabling is thicker compared to Cat6, making it less flexible. That is why it is more suited for industrial environments.

Cat7 (Category-7) Cat7 can transmit up to 40 Gb at 50 meters and 100 Gb at 15 meters. This type of ethernet cable offers extensive shielding to decrease signal attenuation. It is relatively stiff in comparison to previous generations of cabling. Cat7 type of cable is suited for use in datacenters and large enterprise networks. However, Cat7 has not been approved as a cable standard for telecommunications.

Cat8 (Category-8) Category 8 cable is designed for operations of up to 2000 MHz. Cat8 cables work with 25/40GBASE-T Gigabit Ethernet. This reduces power consumption and is designed for bandwidth-intensive data center applications. This type of cable is ideal to use where the distances between units are short. Cat8 cables are backward compatible with previous categories of ethernet cables.


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