Computer networking and technology have advanced greatly in recent years, and therefore, have led to the introduction of Cat 5 and Cat 6 network cabling, among others. These Ethernet cables are used for a variety of applications but are mainly used as network cables by connecting servers to modems and ISP’s.
There are subtle, yet important, differences between these two cables, which we will be discussing here.
What is a Cat5 Cable?
Cat5 cables have started to become obsolete in recent years due to its limitations and have since been replaced with Cat5E and Cat6 cables. Even though Cat5 cables can handle up to 10/100 Mbps at 100MHz bandwidth, the newer Cat5E cables are quite faster. Cat5E cables became standard around fifteen years ago and have improved performance over its predecessor, which includes up to ten times faster speeds and a greater ability to traverse long distances without being impacted by “crosstalk”. Crosstalk is the electromagnetic signals that come from Cat cables when many of them are close to one another and within a networking hub. This interference can slow internet speeds and the quality of the connection.
What is a Cat6 Cable?
Cat6 cables were introduced a few years ago and have become the primary backbone of networks. This is because, aside from cost, Cat6 cables can handle up to 10Gb of data with a bandwidth limited to 164 feet. This cable uses thicker plastic casing that further reduces crosstalk. Through the introduction of twisted cable design and improved casing, crosstalk is reduced between Cat5 and Cat6 cables. Cat6 cables are also considered “future proof” and are said to ultimately last beyond Cat5 cables.
Similarities between Cat5 & Cat6 Cables.
Even though Cat5 and Cat6 cables use the same end piece, they vary greatly in their capabilities, methods, and materials used to create them.
Cat5 vs Cat6, Which one does your Small Business Need?
Between Cat5 and Cat6 cabling, which one would benefit your business the most? You may think the answer is straightforward, but not necessarily. The type of Ethernet cable you choose will depend on how frequently you use the internet in your business. While Cat6 cables seem to be the obvious choice, it depends on what your business’s network requirements and needs are. If you have a high demand for fast internet speeds along with fast data transfer, Cat6 cables are the way to go. Not only will they provide your business with a better service, but they will also be compatible with any upgrades you may do in the next years and have reduced crosstalk.
However, if you are fine with your current internet speeds, Cat5 cabling might be all your business needs, and they tend to be cheaper than Cat6. Cat5 cables are also adequate enough to handle cloud-based servers as they tend to be reliable and easy to use. If you are looking for more optimized performance, then Cat6 cables might be better for your business.
Other things to consider are that Cat6 cables tend to be thicker than Cat5, thus needing a bit more space in the office. So when it comes down to it, there is no wrong or right choice between Cat5 or Cat6 Ethernet cabling, it all depends on your business’s requirements and needs.
Cat5 has been the standard for many years and can still get the job done so there is no need to upgrade yet unless you’re not happy with your current speeds. Cat6, however, will provide your business with enhanced performance while reducing crosstalk.
If you need more information on choosing the right Ethernet cabling for your business, at Ighty Support, we have over a decade of experience in network cabling that can help your business stay on top of its communications and remain competitive. For a free initial consultation, visit us at www.ightysupport.com or give us a call at (972)200-3219.