Cat5 vs. Cat5e vs. Cat6 vs. Cat7 Cables

Difference Between Cat5 and Cat5e and Cat6 and Cat7 Cables

Cat5 and Cat5e and Cat6 and Cat7 are different standards for cables. If you are wondering if these are names of some species of cats, you’re wrong. These are the types of cables made of copper which are used to transmit data over the network and also used in applications in home theaters. Category 5 (Cat5), the Category 5e and Category 6 are names specified for these cables according to their level of performance. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Electronic Industries Association (EIA), set guiding principles for the manufacturing of these cables and these guidelines help manufacturers to classify these cables.


Cat5 has almost become a standard for connecting Ethernet devices all over the world. It’s cheap and very effective. It is also available without any trouble and this is why they are the most widely used cables for linking Ethernet devices. It is available in two variants, the Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) and Screened Twisted Pair (SCTP). UTP is used in the U.S. on a huge base. SCTP has a protective cover as a means of protection against interference. Cat5 cables are either solid or stranded. To transmit data over long distances, solid Cat5 is perfect because it is rigid, whereas stranded Cat5 is good for patching the cables. Cat5 has the ability to sustain 10-100 Mbps and 100 MHz.

Yet over the last few years, there has been a gradual change of the standard 10/100 networks to Gigabit networks that sounded the death knell for Cat5 as it can not support such high speeds. This caused a new type of cables that are version of Cat5, called as Cat5e.


These cables were introduced for making Cat5 attuned to gigabit networks. They also help additional protection from obstruction from other cables. However, 5e is not able to completely remove the interference resulting in slow performance. Still, 5e really makes the system safer and faster than Cat5.


Cat6 is much more advanced than that as Cat5 & Cat5e and also gives a much better performance. Although it is composed of four squirmed pairs of copper colored cables just like Cat5 and Cat5e and it is much better because of a fundamental difference in design. This difference comes from a longitudinal separator. This keeps all 4 twisted wires away from each other which helps in reducing interference. It also allows for a faster transfer of data. Cat6 has double bandwidth in comparison to Cat5. It is able to support 10 gigabit Ethernet and can operate at 250 MHz.

If you think about future technological advances then it is best to go with Cat6. What is more, Cat6 is backward compatible meaning it can be used in any network that used Cat5 and Cat5e.

However, because of its size thicker, you may have trouble using your regular RJ45 connectors and you may need to employ special connectors.


This is the next generation device for the wiring Ethernet connections. This is an improvement on both Cat5 & Cat6 from the point of view of internal signaling and outer security. These cables are able to support 10-Gigabit connections and re adaptable with standard Ethernet connectors.



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