The world might be moving on to a wireless situation, where cables are much less in number. But the truth is sooner or later we all have to go back to basics and rely on them for our operations. One of these cables that are not going anywhere in the near future is the Ethernet cables. All of the Ethernet cables that we see around today have reached this point after an immense amount of change. They might look same from the outside but they have multiple functions at times from the inside and have classifications. However, the only purpose of the Ethernet cable is to help in networking and connect devices generally to the internet. With so much variation in the market, it can often get tough for someone to choose which Ethernet cable they must go with. Today we’d like to shed some light on these different types and also try to let you know which is going to be the best for the job.
First thing first, whenever you try to find out an Ethernet cable online there’s this one word you’re always going to find out as a prefix and that’s “Cat” e.g. the Cat6e, Cat-5. Have you ever wondered what this Cat is? Here is the icebreaker, it simply means Category. Whereas the digit that follows Cat is the representation of the specifications to which the cable was manufactured. If we try to make it easier for you then, higher the number, better the version and quicker the speed so here is the simple mathematics. More cables are being made for supporting higher bandwidth and increased speeds of downloads. What more could be kept in mind is the length of the cable. Usually, the cables we use are below the barrier of 100 meters because above 100 meters the speed deterioration occurs.
So without wasting any more time, let’s get ourselves to the basic available and so far manufactured categories of Ethernet cables.
Cat3 and Cat5
Cat3 and Cat5 are currently being treated as dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. You can only see them in the movies but they are, as we speak, extinct. You might not be able to find these cables in the market anymore as no one is manufacturing them. But just in case you get a chance to use them you might be reminded of Internet Explorer because they’re too slow. Even the Internet Explorer doesn’t exist anymore. However later on the Cat5e was introduced down the line as well in which the letter ‘e’ was meant to be enhanced. The Cat5e is currently under use because it has no other physical difference than the Cat5 but is somewhat a better version.
Cat6 and Cat6a
As you can so far notice that the categories are being joined with digits and other alphabets. Here ‘a’ means “Augmented.” And yes! Just like Cat5, the Cat6 also exists. But the Cat6a cable has the ability to support twice the bandwidth than the earlier. They also have an astonishing ability to maintain the transmission speeds and are equipped with extra layers that can eliminate the cross talk. These cables are always shielded.
Cat7 right now in the world is just like the iPhone 7. It’s the new thing in town, it’s widely available and right now, as we speak, it supports the highest bandwidths. Since it’s the latest version so it’s obvious, it’s faster than Cat6a. Although these cables are more expensive than the ones explained earlier but their performance is going to define their price tag. These cables have the ability to reach the speeds of 100gbps and they are a perfect choice if you’re looking to connect your modem with your pc. Cat 7 cables are always shielded too and use a modified GigaGate45 connector, which is backward compatible with regular Ethernet ports.
With the growing need of bandwidth, the cables are getting advanced as well as this new giant is right now being developed. Cat8 is going to have faster speed than any other Ethernet cable known to date. It will set up some new standards that might be preceded by Cat9, who knows.
Your choice for a cable
Now we come back to the issue at hand that how do you decide which cable is going to fit perfectly for your need. The best way is to find a cable that is going to have some mercy on your wallet and is going to be enough to complete your need of bandwidth. But then next question arises, what is your need of bandwidth? If you need the cable for home usage, then what you usually consume, the Cat5e cable is going to be enough. If we talk about the routers that are being used in homes they rarely support better than Gigabit Ethernet, so there goes your need to put the Cat6 and Cat7 up for the job because using them is going to be a big question mark. Your pick if you’re looking for high performance should be maxed Cat5e, Cat6 can be useful too but then you must have the bandwidth to that level.