Network & Ethernet Cables

Curious about the differences with Cat5 & Cat6? Check out our guide below!

Get the right cable you need for getting your signal where it needs to go

Welcome to our Network Cable and Patch Cord section, where you’ll find all manner of Cat cables, from Cat 3 to Cat 6, as well as our fiber optics and modular plugs and boots to help protect and secure your connection. For a bit of background, you can check out our article on Cat 5, Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables. As you may have noticed, we don’t stock much in the way of Cat5, since they’re fairly obsolete, but we do have a full range of Cat 5e and above options to choose from.

On the other hand, we do have a selection of Cat 3 products, even though they’ve fallen out of favor for most network applications, having been largely replaced by Cat 5e. They’re still used for some voice and phone systems, however, so we still stock them.

And once you know which cable's right for you, take a look at our network connectors, and ethernet and keystone jacks.

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

Untangling the Mystery!

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 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 do not sell Cat 5 cable and we don't advise you to buy them. That is, if you can even find 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. It's 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!

Want to know more about Cat 6 and Cat6a? Check out our explainer

Watch a Brief Q&A About Patch Cables Below


If you need help selecting a solution for your cable management needs, feel free to call our friendly and knowledgeable staff at 1-866-222-0030.

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