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Cat5e vs cat6 vs cat6a – which patch cables should you choose?

Patch cables

There are lot of discussions around cat5e, cat6 and cat6a patch cables and which one should be used for each application. One of the most notable differences is at the the price, where cat5e is usually the cheaper one and cat6a the most expensive one. On this article will find the characteristics that distinguish these three types of cables.

Cat5e cable

Cat5e cable

Category 5e or cat5e cable is an upgraded version of the legacy cat5 cable. The biggest difference between Cat5e and Cat6 is the quality of performance these cables provide.

Cat5e is typically used for networks using 100 Mbit/s or a gigabit network, with performance of up to 100 MHz.

Cat6 and cat6a patch cables were made for Gigabit Ethernet and other standard network protocols, in order to handle 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-TX, and 10GBASE-T however, the main differences are at the speed and distances of each one. 

Cat 6 cable

cat6 cable Twoosk

Category 6 or cat6 cable have been the standard in ethernet cabling used for high-speed Ethernet networks and has got more than twice the performance of a Cat5e.

It is used for 250 MHz, so it has a reduced maximum length (37-55 meters) when used for 10GBASE-T applications.

Cat 6a cable

cat6a cable Twoosk

Category 6a or cat6a cable has double of the capability of a cat6 cable, providing the same speed of 10 Gbps as the Cat 6 cable however it can provide this speed up to a greater distance.

It is used for 500 MHz, which allows 10GBASE-T to be run over longer distances of up to 100 meters.

Cat 5e patch cables are ok for most of network requirements, once companies are putting their servers on the cloud, which may require limited internal networking and so the type of cable isn’t really a problem. But if you need faster performance for applications such as audio and video processing and editing or if you know that in some years you will need enhanced speeds, then it’s a good idea to invest in Cat 6 or Cat 6a cables.

Related articles: Ethernet Cables vs Patch Cables: Are they different?

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