Here are your Completed Ethernet Types – the Differences between Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat7

In the world of Ethernet, there’s a lot of misunderstanding between what Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat7 cables are.

Ethernet itself is the wire through which Internet passes through. Any Internet cable is effectively an Ethernet cable. Internet network installers and system integrators, they’re likely familiar with Cat5e and Cat6 cables. Both of which are equipped with RJ-45 connectors which makes them easy to swap in-and-out. They are also the industry standard right now, in home and business Internet connections. That said, speeds are increasing and Internet needs are growing which means a new upgraded standard is coming to be. That’s where Cat7 cables come in.


Each of these cables operate a little different, with subtle changes in their design and capability. Category 5e Ethernet cables are UTP-style, have a bandwidth of 100 MHz, and have a max data transfer speed of 10/100/1,000 Mbps. Category 6 Ethernet cables are UTP-style or STP-style, maintains a max data transfer rate of 10,000 Mbps, and is capable of handling a maximum bandwidth of 250 MHz or 500 MHz depending on whether it’s a Cat6 cable or Cat6a cable. Category 7 Ethernet cables utilize a S/FTP-design, a maximum bandwidth of 600 MHz, and they carry a maximum data transmission speed of 10,000 Mbps.


Cat5e cables are similar to the Cat5 standard however are a little more advanced. The ‘E’ indicates ‘enhanced’. The design involves better low-noise standards meaning less crosstalk interference from adjacent wires. Cat5e cables are the most common Ethernet network cable used as they’re cost-effective, support an Internet speed faster than what most homes are capable of, and are flexible for small space installations.


Cat6 cables are a sizeable improvement over Cat5e cables, carrying significant increases on speed and higher frequencies. The Cat6 cable is more tightly wound as well, sports a thicker sheath in comparison, and has other design improvements. For offices, small businesses, and commercial environments, Cat6 cables are recommended as they provide a stronger performance in this type of high-need workspace.


Lastly, Cat7 cables are the Ethernet cable of the future and have been approved as the cable standard in telecommunications. They have extensive shielding, are relatively stiff, and thereby, can be difficult to install. Please note that Cat6a cables perform almost just as well as any Cat7 cable and can be purchased at a lower price so if you have your eyes set on Cat7s, we recommend going with some Cat 6a network cables instead.


Shop your favourite Ethernet cables at PrimeCables and receive them at a fraction of the cost you’ll pay elsewhere. Also, any time you shop with PrimeCables, enjoy fast, free shipping to anywhere in Canada on all orders above $49.

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