Several factors must be considered when determining which cable type is appropriate for your business. In this article, we’ll look at the difference between cat5 and cat6 ethernet cable so it is easy to decide which is best for you.
Cat6 cable is a more advanced variant of Cat5 cable. Both are used for various functions, such as data transfer, extensions, and hot wires. Still, due to their differences, their foremost duty is to act as networking cables for routers, LAN parties, and connecting servers.
The main distinction between them is in terms of speed and cost. While Cat6 might provide considerable performance improvements, it also comes at a more significant cost. Keep reading to know more about the difference between cat5 and cat6 ethernet cables.
CAT5 and CAT6 cables are extensively used as network connections and link computers, network equipment, and devices to modems, servers, and switches. The demand for greater bandwidth has grown over time.
As a result, the development of these cables has also accelerated. Newer cables have been introduced to the IT sector, with enhanced features such as increased performance and decreased crosstalk. Keep reading to know more about the difference between cat5 and cat6 ethernet cable.
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What is Cat 5?
Cat 5 is an old and famous Ethernet cable that has been available for a long time. It is a form of LAN Ethernet cable that connects most computers to the internet, and it is because it was quick when it was first introduced.
It can provide up to 100 Mbps speeds with a bandwidth of 100 MHz, sufficient for connecting to the internet. However, Cat 5e, where e stands for enhanced, was launched for faster internet connections and quicker file sharing. As a result, Cat5e speed is increased to 1 Gbps, comparable to Cat 6, as you will see below.
What are the advantages of utilizing cat-5 cable?
The following are some advantages of utilizing cat-5 cabling:
- Faster data transmission rates than other forms of cable
- Used to link devices such as PCs and printers to a network or to give Internet access
- The cable contains five wires, allowing for better data transfer speeds.
What are the drawbacks of utilizing cat-5 cable?
The most significant drawback of cat5 cabling is that it is obsolete and rarely utilized in new installations. Category 5 cabling came in 2001, and cat5e came after replacing it; we do not advocate using it in new network setups. Do keep in mind that we recommend at least category six network cabling.
Other drawbacks of utilizing Category 5 cabling include:
- Slower than other cabling forms, such as fiber optic or coaxial cables (RG-59).
- It must be correctly mounted to guarantee optimal functioning and avoid short circuits. You may require expert assistance with this.
What is Cat 6?
Cat 6 is the newest and superior type of Ethernet; as the name implies, it performs significantly better than Cat 5. Cat 6 will always provide 1 Gbps speeds regardless of its length. If you’re seeking a high-speed networking connection, Cat 5 can likewise accomplish 10 Gbps over a distance of up to 55 meters.
Despite using the same connection as Cat 5, it might deliver faster speeds because of higher quality materials within and more bandwidth. Cat 6, like Cat 5, has a superior variant called Cat 6A that can easily give greater 10 Gbps speeds at distances of over 100 meters.
What are the Benefits of a Cat6 Cable?
Cat6 cables feature stringent performance criteria and much faster data transmission speeds over longer distances than Cat5/5e lines. Cat6 is more tightly coiled than Cat5 cables and has broad cable conductors and sheaths.
These variables prevent interior and outside signal/EMI interference more than Cat5 cables. It is a wonderful option for networking in industrial situations where motors, generators, or wireless devices cause considerable signal interference.
What are the Drawbacks of Cat6 Cable?
Cat6 cables are more expensive than Cat5 cables (often 10-20% more than Cat5e) and tend to be more than most houses require nowadays. However, it doesn’t imply they won’t be needed in 5-10 years when linked IoT homes become more popular.
Cat6 cables are ideal for networks moving terabytes of data or encountering excessive signal noise. If you want a high-performance cable and have the money, Cat6 is the way to go.
Remember that if space is restricted, the greater stiffness/thickness of Cat6 cables makes the cable less flexible and more challenging to work with. Cat6a cables are 40-50% thicker and heavier than Cat6 cables and are more costly. Let us head on to know about Cat5 vs. Cat6.
Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6
The cabling system has advanced in performance and applications in recent years to give better service. Ethernet is not the same as Wi-Fi or the Internet. People nowadays choose low-cost gadgets with good performance. The distinctions between Cat 5 vs. Cat 6 cable from many perspectives are in this section.
Bandwidth or Rated Performance
The data transfer speed between the two cables varies due to the variation in bandwidth. Cat5 and cat6 connections both use twisted copper wires for Ethernet. However, the critical distinction is in transmission speed.
Cat5 cables have a transfer speed limit of 100 Mbps, whereas cat6 cables have a transfer speed maximum of 10 Gbps. It demonstrates that a Cat6 cable can transport more data simultaneously than a Cat5 line.
Frequency Variation in Speed
Another element that influences the Cat5 and Cat6 speed cables is the difference in frequency. Cat6 cable can accommodate more data than cat5 cable since it runs up to 250 MHz at higher frequencies.
Cat5 cable can sustain 100 MHz frequencies, less than half of Cat6’s. Cat5 cables support 1GBASE-T or 1-Gigabit Ethernet speeds, while Cat6 connections offer up to 10GBASE-T or 10-Gigabit Ethernet rates.
Comparison of Errors
The sixth generation Cat6 Cable has seen significant advancements. System noise and mistakes have significantly decreased in Cat6 Cable compared to the Cat5 cable. Cat6 wires used to be segregated from each other with nylon spline, which made them stiffer, but today’s cables are flexible enough to eliminate noise and crosstalk.
Interference is a common networking issue when many cables are too close to each other in a computer networking hub. This problem causes slowness, poor networking connection quality, and crosstalk. However, with the creation of new twisted cable designs and insulation, Cat6 cable has overcome the difficulties of Cat5 cable and secured better data transfer speeds.
The Price Difference Between Cat5 and Cat6
Cat5 cable is mainly used for household connections, whereas Cat6 cable is suited for wide-area network deployments. The size of the network area typically determines the cost of computer network installation, and the price of Ethernet cable is determined by several factors such as length, excellence, material, and manufacturer.
When comparing the cost of Cat6 vs. Cat5 cable, Cat6 cable is more expensive than Cat5 cable due to its enhanced features. However, the Cat6 cable is less costly since its data transmission rate and performance outperform the Cat5 connection. So this is all in the difference between cat5 and cat6 ethernet cable.
Can I use Cat6 instead of Cat5?
Yes, both are backward compatible. As a result, you may utilize Cat6 with your Cat5 modem and other interfaces without issue.
Can Cat5e handle 10GB?
Cat5e can quickly achieve rates of up to 10 Gigabits per second over short distances. However, for lengths more than 30 meters, we recommend utilizing a Cat6 connection.
How much quicker is CAT6 than CAT5?
CAT5 can provide up to 10/100 Mbps bandwidth at 100MHz. CAT5e, a newer version of CAT5 cable, may, on the other hand, provide up to 100/1000 Mbps at a 350MHz bandwidth. CAT6, on the other hand, has a capacity of 250MHz and can accommodate up to 1000 Mbps (1GbE).
When was the first time Cat6 was introduced?
In the early 2000s, Cat6 was found, but it rose to prominence around 2008. It has become an essential requirement for new installations, and it is backward compatible with Cat5, Cat5e, and even Cat3.
Cat6 cable is a low-cost solution for future network equipment upgrades. Because cabling is time-consuming, it will provide you with some breathing room. If Gigabit speeds aren’t your thing, Cat5 or Cat5e should do for most regular users. Thank you for reading this article; I hope it was helpful.
Aloukik Rathore is an Entrepreneur, Writer, Marketer, Musician, and Co-founder of Cannibals Media, a modern-day digital marketing company. He started blogging at the tender age of 16 and has been in the digital marketing industry ever since.