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Buying Ethernet Cables

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Buying Ethernet Cables

Buying Ethernet Cables
Very few people understand the difference between ethernet cables and how important they can actually be in the long run. Let’s clear that up so you can understand how to make informed buying decisions with ethernet cables.

“Cat,” in this case, stands for “Category.” When buying ethernet cables, you should only be buying Cat-5 cables or higher. Lower standard cables aren’t actually ethernet cables, offer very low speeds, and are typically used for telephone applications.


Here’s the difference between the main types of cables you’ll be buying:



  • Cat-5 cables offer speeds up to 100 Megabits per second and operate at 100 Mhz


  • Cat-5e cables offer speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second and operate at 100 Mhz


  • Cat-6 cables offer speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second, though using this full capacity shortens the maximum length of the cable down to 55 meters as opposed to the 100 meters normally offered by Cat cables. These cables also run at 250 Mhz


  • Cat-6e cables offer speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second, with no such length restriction as their predecessor. These cables run at 500 Mhz.


Shielding is a form of shielding inside the cable that prevents signal degradation and interference which is important when running cables in harsher environments. It’s also very important if running multiple cables together simultaneously.

Jackets cover the body of the cable. These are vital for ensuring the cable remains undamaged when routing it around the house. The stronger the jacket, the stronger the cable’s integrity and the longer it’ll last you. Most consumer-grade cables use a PVC jacket, which is fine, but be aware of cables with low-quality jackets that tear and break down easily.


Ethernet cables vary greatly in length and max out at 100 meters without the usage of repeaters.

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