What cabling is used in Ethernet?

Network cabling professionals Niagara

What cabling is used in Ethernet?

When people talk about Ethernet cabling they can be talking about a few different types of wiring. Ethernet cabling or wiring usually refers to: CAT5e, CAT6 or fiber cables. In this article we are going to explore the two most widely used cable types, CAT5e (Category 5e) and CAT6 (Category 6), shedding light on their key features and benefits that have solidified their position as the primary choices for Ethernet cabling.

CAT5e Cabling:

CAT5e, short for Category 5e, represents an improvement over its predecessor, CAT5. CAT5 is very similar to CAT5e but much weaker since it is not consistently twisted. CAT5e is designed to support Ethernet speeds up to 1.5 Gigabit per second (Gbps), making it suitable for most residential and small business applications. The "e" in CAT5e stands for "enhanced," indicating that it offers improved performance and reduced crosstalk compared to CAT5. This is because CAT5e keeps its pairs twisted until the end terminations (male or female head).

One of the significant advantages of CAT5e cabling is its affordability. It is widely available, making it a cost-effective choice for implementing Ethernet networks. When running new ethernet cables we recommend using CAT5e as a baseline for what you should run. CAT5 should never be considered.

CAT6 Cabling

CAT6, or Category 6 cabling, offers even higher performance and bandwidth capabilities compared to CAT5e. It is designed to support Ethernet speeds up to 10 Gbps, which is great for homes or businesses wired with internet speeds at 2 Gbps or higher. CAT6 cables share a similar structure to CAT5e, with four twisted pairs of copper wires, but have a separator in the cable for stronger continuity. There are also stricter rules when terminating CAT6 wiring to ensure the speeds are met.

The improved performance of CAT6 cabling is primarily due to tighter twists in the wire pairs, and the separator which both help reduce crosstalk. CAT6 cables also feature a thicker protective jacket, providing better protection against external noise and physical damage.

Which is better for you?

Due to its superior performance, we recommend running CAT6 for all new network cabling applications. The price of CAT6 wiring has become cheap enough that it only makes sense to run CAT6 in new applications. Running any wiring for home or business is a time consuming and costly process, if you are going to run any wiring it should be CAT6 so your network is future proofed. 

If you already have CAT5e already run in your home then this will be more than enough for current internet needs (streaming, gaming, downloading etc…). If you are planning a new wiring project we always recommend CAT6 cabling. 

Networking technician working on CAT6 line
Networking technician working on CAT6 line

Want some help from the pros? 

If you want help with your CAT5e or CAT6 ethernet cabling project call us! We always provide free on site consultations and quotes. We have the skills and experience to help get your home network completed. If you also already have network cabling or data cabling lines run throughout your home we can terminate and get the lines working with your network.

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