Which is more efficient- Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6

Posted by Bhavesh Joshi On Thursday, July 5, 2012 0 comments
Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6
Here you will find in the article, the common differences between various types of computer and telephone (CAT) cables available in the market, especially the difference between Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6. The primary differences between the cables are made based on the conveyance media that handles bandwidth, network support and crosstalk.

Comparison between Cat5 and Cat5e

Bandwidth: The bandwidth of the conveyance media refers to the capacity of carrying information. The data transmission speed of a system is depend on the bandwidth like it can push data across the network faster if the bandwidth of the system is greater and if the bandwidth is low then the data transmission speed will be slow. Cat5 cable is rated at 100MHz where as Cat5e cable is rated as 350MHz. Cat5e is couples with other more strict specifications that make it suitable for the network that plan to operate at gigabit Ethernet speed.

Network Support: Cat5 cable generally supports 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T network standards which mean it supports the networks running at 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps. Cat5e is the improved version of Cat5 that adds the characteristics of crosstalk. Cat5e cable can be used in all those applications where Cat5 is used. Cat5e cable also has the potential that it can be used in the Gigabit Ethernet or 1000BASE-T network standard which means networks running at 1000 Mbps.

Crosstalk: Crosstalk refers to the “bleeding” of signals between one cable into another due to a induction process. This effect can slow down the network transfer speed or can completely block the signal transferring over the cable. In that case Cat5e cable is the enhanced version of Cat5 in which crosstalk has been greatly reduced.

Bottom line: Cat5e will be the right choice if you are planning to implement a Gigabit Ethernet. Though Cat5e is little expensive as compared to cat5, but using it will be future proofing the cabling infrastructure of your network.

Comparison between Cat5e and Cat6

There is a great debate among people about whether cat5e should be used in case of new cabling installations or Ct6 should be used. There is wrong assumption in many people that they will have a Gigabit Ethernet by just running a Cat6. Each and every component on a network such as hubs, switches and the network interface cards must be gigabit rated in order to achieve the true Gigabit Ethernet speeds. It does not mean that there is no difference between Cat5e and Cat6, the general difference between these two cables is in the transmission performance. Cat5e cable can support gigabit speed where as Cat6 cable is certified to handle Gigabit Ethernet. The environments that are not friendly with twisted pair wiring and the areas that have lots of interference from lights, power lines and manufacturing equipments can use Cat6 specifications. Still in most of the applications Cat5e is perfectly suitable and preferable than Cat6 because it is more economical and performs almost as well. However if all the components on your network are gigabit rated and the data transmission volume has certified gigabit performance then you can go for Cat6.


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