Cat5e or Cat6, what are the benefits to both & why?

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03.03.2021 | Cat5e or Cat6, News

Cat5e or Cat6?

Cat5e or cat6, what will be best for you… Let us explain the difference’s and you can see what suits your needs best.

In this blog we will explain this difference between cables and choosing the right install will have a massive impact to your networks. Yes, they both connect to the internet, but you may need to access/ transfer large files, or you may only need to send emails.

Well, here is everything you need to know about Cat5e and Cat6 cables.

What is Cat5/Cat5e cable?

First, you have all heard of an ethernet lead right?… Probably got a few lying around the house/ office to connect your devices into the router.

Well, it once was Cat5, but as we have evolved the cable manufacturing standards up to Cat5e. The ‘e’ means enhanced, Cat5 cable has a bandwidth of up to 100 MHz, support 10 or 100 Mbps speed.

Then they enhanced it, which means it now supports faster data transmissions. It achieves this by reducing the interference between cables.

By doing this they are now able to provide faster transfer rates, from 1000 Mbps and up to 1Gbps (Gigabit Ethernet).

Cat5e ModuleCat5e


Comparison Chart: Cat5 vs Cat5e

Cable Cable TypeFrequency (Bandwidth)Max Speed (100mts)Characteristic ImpedanceMain Difference
Cat5UTP100 MHz10/100 Mbps100 ohmsMore crosstalk
Cat5eUTP100 MHz1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps100 ohmsNo Crosstalk. (or Less)

What we really want to know is, Why choose Cat6?

The standards for Cat6 are more stringent for crosstalk and system noise then Cat5 & Cat5e cable. Performances up to 250mghz compared to 100mghz Cat5 & Cat5e.

Cat6 cable can meet the requirement for 10Gb, providing its maximum length is no more than 55 meters (180ft).

Anything over 55 meters you would be looking at Cat6a. This cable is characterized to 500 MHz and has improved alien crosstalk characteristics, allowing 10Gb to be run for 100 meters (330 ft) maximum distance as previous Ethernet variants.

Cat6 cable is also equipped with a spline, this is to separate the twisted pairs to eliminate the crosstalk.

Cat6 Toolless jackCat6

What Ethernet cable is best for you?

Well that all depends on your day-to-day activities. Do you require large files from servers or sending/uploading big files? (Even streaming can be quite stressful on your network), then Cat6 will be ideal for you.

If your just sending emails and browsing internet pages, then you would benefit from Cat5e which would be more than efficient.

We also need to think about cost’s…

Cat5e is obviously cheaper then Cat6 but choosing ‘cheap’ is not always best as discussed before it is all down to what you need when it comes to performance. Another thing to keep in mind is cable containment around the office.

Cat5e is a lot smaller in diameter then Cat6, this means smaller containment more space around the office. Cat6 on the other hand is a lot thicker and the bend radius compared to cat5e would cause a lot more transmission failures.

If you need more information on this topic, why not get in contact with us today.


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