What Is The Difference Between Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 Cable?

Untangling the Mystery!

BY: Shane Weaver

Differences Between Cat6 and Cat6a Cables

Digging Further Into the Mystery

BY: Shane Weaver

cat crazy


So, let's say you want to play one of those new-fangled gaming console devices I've heard so much about, or you just want to connect to that Interweb.net that all the hip youngsters can't stop gabbing about. Well, you'll need some type of cable, right? (Spoiler alert: Right.)

In your magical Quest to Find the Right Cable (soon to be a trilogy directed by Peter Jackson), you'll likely come across Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 cables with no clue as to what these designations mean. Perhaps these cables are the tails of felines, and the number denotes how many of their nine lives remain? Nonsense, why would you even think that? The truth is that any of these cables will hook you up with a connection, but there are important distinctions to keep in mind when choosing which one may be right for you. So here's the lowdown...

plugging cables into wall outlet


Cat 5 is the slowpoke of the bunch. It can handle 10/100 Mbps speeds (Fast Ethernet) at up to 100 MHz bandwidth. That's a lot of numbers, but what it means is "slow and obsolete". New installations don't even use it, and it's on its way out, sadly...that's sadly for the cable, not for you. For the savvy cable connoisseur there are newer, better, faster, stronger options out there. That's why we at CableOrganizer.com do not sell Cat 5 cable and we don't advise you to buy them. That is, if you can even find any...like at a garage sale or something, maybe.

a network router with network cables


Cat 5e (Cat 5 enhanced) is currently the most commonly used in new installations. Its designed to greatly reduce crosstalk. If you just read that and then nodded while slowly saying "Yeah...crosstalk..." don't worry, that's why you're here: to learn! It basically means the Cat 5e is better at keeping signals on different circuits or channels from interfering with each other. A step above Cat 5, it can handle 1000 Mbps speeds (gigabit Ethernet) at 100 MHz.

a pair of CAT6 cables


Category 6 is a major improvement over Cat 5e. It's really just the bee's knees. It's suitable for up to 10 gigabit Ethernet at 250 MHz. To even better tackle the issue of that pesky crosstalkin', Cat 6 cable has an internal separator that isolates pairs from one another. For those who want to "future-proof" their residential or commercial network as much as possible without a significant cost increase, Cat 6 is a great choice. That doesn't mean it'll protect your network from cyborgs from the future or anything, it just means it will keep it up to date for longer when the "next big thing" comes along

Hopefully, this brief guide helped you get to know your Cat cables. If you'd like to thank us, just go ahead and check out our selection of products. After all, we're one of the largest cabling, cable management, and networking resellers in the world! If you require further assistance, please feel free to give us a call at 1-866-222-0030. We have a friendly and highly knowledgeable staff standing by!

morpheus eyeing grumpy cat


Now that you know about those Cat cables, let's take it one step further. Read on to learn about the difference between Cat6 and Cat6a.


©2014 CableOrganizer.com, LLC. This article may not be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of CableOrganizer.com.
Meet the Author on Google+



Top Cable Products
Cat 5E Patch CablesBasic CAT5e Patch Cable
Buy Now! - 1 foot UTP w/ modular connectors
cat6 patch cableBasic CAT6 Patch Cable
Buy Now! - 1 foot UTP w/ RJ45 connectors
Cat 5E and Cat 6 cableBULK CAT5e Cable
Buy Now! - 50ft 4-Pair UTP Solid PVC w/ RJ45 Terminations
CAT6 bulk cableBULK CAT6 Cable
Buy Now! - 500ft 4-Pair UTP Solid PVC




What can make this page better?

We do everything we can think of to provide you with the product specs, images and ordering info you need, but if were missing something or still have room to improve, please let us know. Your comments, suggestions and questions are the best tools we have for serving you better!