Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable.

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable. - Table of contents:

Are you wondering what is the difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable? CAT5 ethernet cables are the predecessors of CAT6 cables, providing gigabit speeds up to 100 meters. In comparison, CAT6 cables are much faster as they provide 10-gigabit speeds up to a length of 55 meters.

Additionally, they also have improved noise resistance and reliability than CAT5 cables.

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Many ethernet cables might look the same, but it’s what’s inside that counts, they all handle internet speed, bandwidth, and crosstalk in a different ways. Let’s talk about the different types of ethernet cables and identify which one is best for your internet service.

What is CAT5 Cable?

Category 5 cable, referred to as Cat5, is a twisted pair cable used in computer networks and is also a multimedia wire used in information communication services such as data and voice. It is widely used in Ethernet and broadband access projects. Its quality is directly related to the transmission quality of information communication. Due to the development of optical fiber and communication technology, the impact of twisted pairs on the communication quality is gradually decreasing.

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable

Category 5 cable was born with 100Mbps Fast Ethernet, but with the development of network technology, the physical layer transmission protocol 1000Base-T based on Category 5 cable makes Category 5 cable also have Gigabit Ethernet (1,000,000,000 bit/s) Transmission capability, this technology achieves a smooth transition from 100M to Gigabit while retaining the original cables.

Therefore, after auto-negotiation between the devices at both ends, the Category 5 cable can bear different rates of Ethernet at a working frequency of 100MHz under technologies such as 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). the transmission medium. In order to ensure the transmission quality, the transmission distance of the five types of lines is generally within 100 meters.

Application of Category 5 cable

As a good-performance 8-core copper cable, CAT5 can naturally play a role in a signal transmission other than Ethernet, such as carrying voice and video. In some cases, Cat5 can carry multiple traditional telephone lines on a single cable. There are various schemes for transmitting analog or digital video over cable. HDBaseT (10.2 Gb/s) is such a solution.

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

PoE (Power Over Ethernet) refers to the transmission of data for some IP-based terminals (such as IP phones, PoE android display, network cameras, etc.) without any changes to the existing Ethernet Cat. At the same time as the signal, it can also provide DC power supply technology for such devices. POE technology can guarantee the normal operation of the existing network while ensuring the security of the existing structured wiring and minimizing the cost. POE has condensed the wisdom of many experts, and it also makes the somewhat old wire gauge of the five-category line continue to exert its vitality and potential.

What is CAT6 Cable?

CAT6, derived from Category 6, came out only a few years after CAT5e. CAT6 is a standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet that is backward compatible with CAT5/5e and CAT3 cable standards.

Like CAT5e, CAT6 cables support Gigabit Ethernet segments up to 100 m, but they also allow for use in 10-Gigabit networks over a limited distance. At the beginning of this century, CAT5e typically ran to the workstations, whereas CAT6 was used as the backbone infrastructure from routers to switches.

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable

Category 6 can be used for voice, integrated service data network (ISDN), ATM155Mbps and 622Mbps, 100MbpsTPDDI, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet; it has longer transmission distance than Category 5 and Category 5e, small transmission loss, wear resistance, and properties such as pressure.

The main difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable:

1. The bandwidth is different:

CAT5: Bandwidth 100M, suitable for networks below 100M.
CAT6: 250M bandwidth, used to set up a Gigabit network.

2. Different materials and processes between CAT5 and CAT6 cable:

CAT5: Five types of unshielded twisted pair (UTP—Unshielded Twisted Pair) Unshielded twisted pair cable is composed of multiple pairs of twisted pairs and a plastic sheath.

CAT6: The parameters of the six types of unshielded twisted pairs have been greatly improved, and the bandwidth has also been extended to 250MHz or higher. Category 6 twisted pair is different from Category 5 or super category 5 twisted pair in appearance and structure. It not only adds an insulated cross frame but also places four pairs of twisted pair wires on the four sides of the cross frame. In a groove, the diameter of the cable is also thicker. The six types of unshielded twisted pair bare copper wire diameter are 0.57mm (wire gauge is 23AWG), the insulation wire diameter is 1.02mm, and the UTP cable diameter is 6.53mm.

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable

3. Performance differences between CAT5 and CAT6 cable:

1. Physical bandwidth of CAT5 wiring: 100MHz, physical bandwidth of CAT6 wiring: 250MHz. The larger the physical bandwidth, the higher the supported transmission rate.

2. CAT5 cables usually use a 24AWG wire gauge (copper core diameter: about 0.51mm), and CAT6 cables usually use a 23AWG wire gauge (copper core diameter: about 0.57mm).

The thicker the diameter of the copper core, the better the conductivity, and the smaller the signal attenuation on the line. In the field of PoE applications, 23AWG has an absolute advantage in energy transfer over 24AWG.

3. The maximum data transmission rate supported by CAT5E wiring theory is 1200Mbps, and the maximum data transmission rate supported by CAT6 wiring theory is 2400Mbps.

Higher data transfer rates require greater physical bandwidth.

4. The 10GBASE-T 10 Gigabit Ethernet application standard that CAT5 wiring does not support, and the 10GBASE-T Ethernet application standard that CAT6 wiring can support, but the transmission distance is limited and cannot exceed 37 meters.

The Category 6 cabling system can barely meet the short-distance 10 Gigabit Ethernet application requirements, but the Category 5e system cannot support it.

5. CAT6 cables usually use a cross-skeleton structure to reduce crosstalk between pairs, and its (NEXT) near-end crosstalk performance index is 5-10dB higher than that of CAT5E without a skeleton structure in the range of (1-100MHz).

Reducing the crosstalk between wire pairs is the most important basic premise for the stable and high-speed transmission of data information in the wiring system.

Difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cable

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Not only does CAT6 provide significantly lower interference or Near-End Crosstalk (NEXT) in the transmission compared to CAT5e, but it also improves Equal-Level Far-End Crosstalk (ELFEXT), Return Loss (RL), and Insertion Loss (IL). The result is less system noise, fewer errors, and higher data transmission rates.
They can be plugged into the same ports. Therefore, the Cat6 cable works on Cat5 Network. However, the Cat5 cable can’t be used on the Cat6 network since the Cat6 network has more requirements on cabling performances and capabilities, which the Cat5 cable can not reach.
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