If you are considering local area networking for you parts of your business then it is fairly likely that you will come across terms like Category 5, Category 5e, Category 6, or even Category 6e, the network Ethernet cable standard defined by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Cat5 and Cat5e are two of the most popular network cables for most wired local area networks (LANs) today. Just in case you are not too familiar with wired data technology, This article has everything you need to know about Cat5 & Cat5e cables and how they are used in a business environment.

 

Cat5 cable

Cat5 is the most frequently used network cable and the fifth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology. Cat5 cables contain four pairs of copper wires for reliable and resilient data transmission. Cat5 cables can be found into two subtypes: unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (S/FTP) which provides additional protection against interference, which is especially popular in european countries where older buildings with old, outdated electrical wiring throughout the premises which can cause interference with data signals.

Category 5 cables can be either stranded or solid: Solid cat5 are, well more solid, by being cased in a harder plastic cable they are more suited for connecting devices at a greater distance as they will not bend and break under their own weight, solid Cat5 cabling is used for fixed wiring in places like office buildings. Stranded Cat5 cables are much more flexible, making them ideal for connecting devices in difficult locations such as in server banks where there is often little room for large chunky cables..

Cat5e cable

 

Cat5e stands for Category 5 enhanced cable. Cat5e cables are based on a standard Cat5 however they provide higher standards of data transmission.Cat5e supports networking at speeds up to 1000 Mbps. Cat5e cables are also completely backwards compatible with Cat5, and can be used in any situation where you would normally use Cat5 cable. Category 5e cables are superior in every way to a standard Cat5 and unless you need to run your network at an absolute bare minimum cost they are always the best option for your business.

 

Proper usage

 

As with all other types of twisted pair EIA/TIA cabling, Cat5e cable runs are limited to a maximum recommended run length of 100m (or 328 feet for any americans or really old people out there) however it is normally good practice to limit any cable runs to 90m to allow for a patch cable at each end. Also when bending a cable, make sure that the cable is not bent too sharply as this can cause damage to the cable causing the connection to fail either immediately or over time as continuous strain is put on the copper lines inside.

 

So whether you are creating a new network or upgrading an existing one, a Cat5e cable is the best option for your business, as whilst Cat5 cables may be cheap, they are falling further and further behind as technology continues to improve it is always better to be sure that your data infrastructure won’t lag behind. So there you have it! Hopefully this article has helped to explain the the differences between Cat5 and Cat5e cables. Speaking of data cables and data connections overall, you might be interested in the many data services SoConenct offer, to find out how much your business could be saving on data services please have a look at our data web pages, or you can contact our sales team at sales@soconnect.co.uk or call us on 0333 240 1824