Unless you are a computer geek, and most of us aren’t, you may find all of the terms surrounding network cabling rather confusing.  Ethernet cable wiring in Ontario doesn’t need to be confusing. We’ll help to break down the intimidating jargon for you and explain in layman’s terms what each type means and what its capabilities are. If you would like further help in understanding cabling or any other telecommunication concern, contact the professionals at Network Telecom. Network Telecom (formerly Smiston Communications) has been installing telephone and network cables for businesses and organizations in Ontario for decades.


Ethernet Cable Wiring

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What Is An Ethernet Cable?

An Ethernet cable is a standard cable which was developed in the 1980’s and is used to connect a computer network system together. These cables join modems, routers, and computers on your network. They are thick and flexible, and you will see them attached to the back of your computer equipment. Ethernet cables are made up of two or more wires which run side by side and are twisted, braided or bonded together. Each end of the cable can be connected to a different device on the network.  Even though they all look pretty much the same, there are different categories of Ethernet cables.

ethernet cabling

What Does “Cat” Mean?

If you have ever taken a look at the different Ethernet cables available to buy, you will notice that they are all labelled as “Cat-5”, “Cat-5e”, Cat-6e”, etc. “Cat” is simply a short form for “category” and the number that follows it gives you an idea as to what specifications the cable was manufactured to. Usually the higher the number, the faster the speed and the higher the frequency capability of the cable. The newer cables as usually able to support higher bandwidths, and as a result, can give you faster download speeds and faster connection times.

Does The Length Of Cable Matter?

Yes. With Ethernet cables, the longer the cable, the slower the transmission speed. These speeds don’t usually start to drop off until you go over 100 meters https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/differences-between-ethernet-cables/ though. In your home, you probably wouldn’t be using cables longer than 100 meters, so you wouldn’t notice the decrease, however, in larger business locations, length of cable does become a factor.

Ethernet Cable Categories

As mentioned above, there are different Ethernet cable categories, each having different capabilities. It is a challenge to know which category of cable will be right for your particular needs. The following is an overall comparison chart outlining the differences. Read on for further explanations of each of the categories.

Ethernet Cable Wiring Ontario

Cat 3 and Cat 5

Cat 3 and Cat 5 Ethernet cables are now pretty much obsolete. You may still find some Cat 5 cables that are still being used, however, you will not be able to purchase them as they are no longer manufactured and are extremely slow.

Cat 5e

Cat 5e is an “enhanced” version of Cat 5 cables (hence the “e”). They are a popular cable because they are relatively inexpensive to buy and they support faster speeds than the original Cat 5, with a maximum transmission speed of 1 Gbps (at 100 meters). They are built under more stringent testing standards than the previous Cat 5 cables to eliminate crosstalk. Crosstalk is the unwanted transfer of signals that you can get between communication channels.  Learn more about crosstalk here.

Cat 6

Cat 6 cables are more expensive than Cat 5e cables but they support higher bandwidths, with a maximum bandwidth of 250 MHz as compared to a Cat 5e cable which can support up to 100 MHz. Both types, however, operate at the same 1 Gbps transmission speed up to 100 meters but Cat 6 can potentially support up to 10 Gbps for shorter distances of up to 55 meters. The Cat 6 cable is wound tighter than previous Ethernet cables and can come “shielded” with foil or braided shielding which further prevents crosstalk and noise interference.

Cat 6a

Cat 6a cables are much denser and less flexible than regularly Cat 6 cables. This is because they have been “shielded” with a thicker covering which eliminates crosstalk completely. The “a” means that they have been augmented. They can support twice the maximum bandwidth, 500 MHz, of Cat 6 cables and can maintain faster transmission speed over longer distances.

ethernet cable

Cat 7

Like Cat 6a cables, Cat 7 cables are always shielded and they have a modified GigaGate45 connector which allows them to connect to and be compatible with regular Ethernet ports. Read more about the GigaGate45 connector here.  They will support even higher bandwidths, up to 600 MHz, and faster transmission speeds, up to 10 Gbps at 100 meters and 100 Gbps at 15 meters. They are more expensive than the slower Ethernet cables.

Cat 7a

Cat 7a is the augmented version of the Cat 7 cable. It features an incredible maximum bandwidth of 1000 MHz.

Cat 8

Cat 8 is the most advanced category of Ethernet cable available. They are expected to support bandwidths of up to 2000 MHz at 30 meters and achieve transmission speeds between 25 – 40Gbps. Because the higher speeds are limited to 30 meters, Cat 8 cables will probably be used mostly as patch cords for connecting equipment in data centres.


Installing Ethernet Cables

Installing Ethernet cables is a specialized skill that should only be carried out by professional networking technicians. At Network-Telecom we have years of experience installing all kinds of networking cabling. Network Telecom provides performance guarantees on all of our Ethernet networks. Contact us if you have an installation project in mind or need repairs or expansions to your existing system.

To give you an idea of what is involved in the installation of Ethernet cables, watch the following video.

Network Telecom For Ethernet Cable Wiring Ontario

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The Different Ethernet Cable Types
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