Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 cables (also known as Category 5e and Category 6) are standardized cables used for the Ethernet. Each standard is backwards compatible with older Ethernet cabling technology. Cat6 represents the most advanced Ethernet cable to date. Read on to learn more about Cat5, Cat5e vs. Cat6.
Given the ever increasing need for more bandwidth, the tendency to have lower delays and skew and only a marginally higher cost, we recommend Cat6 for all cable installations.
What is the Main Differences Between Cat5e and Cat6?
The primary difference between Cat5e and Cat6 cables is transmission performance, and by extension the total bandwidth available on the cable. Cat5 and Cat5e are limited to 100 MHz speed while Cat6 can go up to 250 MHz.
In practical terms, this means that a Cat5e cable is only capable of adhering to the 1000BASE-T/TX standard while Cat6 can adhere to the much faster 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet). Cat6 is capable of 10x the speeds of Cat5e. Physical improvements in the hardware of the cable make this possible. A Cat6 network is fully backwards compatible with Cat5e devices.
Isn’t Gigabit Ethernet with Cat5e Fast Enough?
The Gigabit Ethernet standard (1000 Mbit/s) is capable of meeting the needs of nearly all applications today, so why is Cat6 needed? Cat6 is needed to increase the total available bandwidth of networks for applications being released in the next few years. The current trend in data rates has been doubling every 18 months, meaning that in just a short amount of time Cat6 will be necessary.
Bandwidth should precede data rates, in the same way a highway lanes should precede traffic. Doubling bandwidth is akin to doubling the lanes on a highway. It is better to expand the highway before the lanes are needed.
Will Cat6 Fully Replace Cat5e?
Analysts predict that Cat6 will replace Cat5e when it comes to new cable installations. Already 90% of all new cable installations are using the Cat6 standard. Cat6 is backwards compatible with Cat5e and Cat3 standards, so it will not cause any compatibility issues.
Should My Business Install Cat6?
It is always better to install the best available cabling. It can become very difficult to replace cabling inside walls, floors and ceilings once it has been installed. Installing Cat6 will future proof your business for years to come. If your business currently has Cat5e then you can wait a few years before upgrading, as Cat6 will not be absolutely mandatory until then. If you business is running is running an older cable tech prior to Cat5, then you should consider upgrading immediately.
Want More Information?
Further analysis on why Cat6 is the better choice – http://www.cablinginstall.com/articles/2014/12/cat5e-cat6-cat6a-guest-blog.html
More information of how they are built – http://www.diffen.com/difference/Cat5e_vs_Cat6
Information on Cat6 Cables – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_6_cable
Information on Cat5e Cables – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_5_cable
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The entire project was orchestrated with minimal telephone system downtime, and the ongoing support we have received from them has been reliable and efficient.