Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Key Differences between Different Types of Ethernet Cables

Computers and laptops have become a part of our daily work grind. Be it a large organization, medium enterprises, local shopping malls, or even our homes, computers have become an integral part of the daily business. Laptops and computers work best when there is an active broadband Internet connection. And when we talk about Internet, Ethernet cables help connect a modem to a router or LAN as well as the computer’s interface. Laptops generally USB adapters or converters that help one connect to a wireless network.

However, the thick, flexible cables are most likely to be used for a personal PC. There are many different types of Ethernet cables and not all have the same function. Let us have a look at the key differences between different types of Ethernet cables in the following article.

Differences between Ethernet Cables

It was in the 1980s the Ethernet cables made an appearance. These cords help connect the computer to a network. We all have seen an Ethernet cable that connects our computer to a router. Without the Ethernet cable, the system will not be able to function.

Ethernet cables have been evolving since the time they have been introduced. Thus, they may all look the same, but are different. The difference lies between their data transfer speed, electromagnetic interference, bandwidth frequency range, and so on. Let us learn the key differences between different types of Ethernet cables.

Category 3 Ethernet Cable

The Cat3 or station wire is the pre-historic wire in the world of Ethernet cable. It is the oldest form that is still in use today. It has an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. This wire has the capability to carry 10 Mbps data or voice transmissions. The maximum possible bandwidth it can carry is 16 MHz. With the launch of category 5 Ethernet cable, Cat3 soon lost its popularity.

Category 5 Ethernet Cable

Cat5 cable is a UTP cable just like Cat3. It can carry data the transfer speed of 10/100 Mbps speed. This means it can support  10 Mbps or 100 MBBs speeds. It is also called as the first Fast Ethernet-capable cables and used for telephone signals as well as video along with Ethernet data. The Cat5 is suspended as of now due to availability of better category 5 cables.

Category 5e

The Cat5e is the enhanced version of Cat5 that reduces crosstalk, unwanted signal transmissions between data channels. It works best for 10/100 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps (gigabit) Ethernet. It contains four twisted pairs of wires whereas Cat5 uses only two of these pairs. This helps Cat5e use Gigabit Ethernet speed.

Category 6

The Cat6 cables are certified to handle a bandwidth of up to 25 MHz. The Cat6 cables have better insulation and thinner wires as compared to the former ones. This leads to higher signal-to-noise ratio and are suitable for environments that include higher electromagnetic interface. Cat6 cables are available in shielded twisted pair (STP) form as well as UTP form. It is backward compatible with Cat5 and Cat5e cables as well as more expensive them.

Category 6a

Cat6a or augmented Category 6 cable improves the basic Cat6 cable by allowing transmission rate of about 10,000 Mbps. It is available in STP form and requires specialized connectors that ground the cable.

Category 7

Category 7 or Cat7 cables are also called as Class F. These are fully shielded cables that can support upto 10 Gps (10,000 Mbps) speeds and 600 Mhz of bandwidth. The Cat7 cables consist of screened, shielded twisted pair (SSTP) of wires. The layers of insulation and shielding of the Cat7 cable is more extensive than the Cat6. This makes them more bulky and thicker than the Cat6 cables and requires grounding of the shielding layers. If not then their performance maybe reduced to the extent that they are no better than Cat6. Also, their performance may drop far below Cat5. Thus, it is very important to understand the type of connecters at the end of a Cat7 cable.

These are the key differences between different types of Ethernet cables. Thus, changing your Ethernet cable may help you improve the transfer of files between computers and help move things faster.



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