Difference between Cat5 and Cat5e Ethernet Cables
Ethernet cables are considered as the most common type of the networking cables which are used on a wired network at businesses, homes etc. The main purpose of the Ethernet cables is the fact that they provide access to share files or use the internet by connecting the wired devices together to the local network. Ethernet cables are divided in various categories including CAT5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6e, Cat6a and others.
All of these cables have the same work but their specifications are different from each other which differentiates their demand as well. Let’s start from digging deep into how Cat5 and Cat5e cables are different from each other with respect to specifications, compatibility, performance and others.
Difference between Cat5 and Cat5e
Cat5 cables used to be considered as the best option when it comes to high performance, great network support, cost etc. until Cat5e (enhanced version of Cat5) came almost 15 years back and changed the whole scenario. However, after all those years the difference between Cat5 and Cat5e is still a confusing topic so let’s simplify it.
Cat5 are not backward compatible, which means that they don’t have the ability to interact with the older systems and data. Cat5e are designed to be backward compatible so they work with huge number of interfaces. For the very reason, the transition from Cat5 to Cat5e is quite easy and inexpensive because they easily interact with the previous data.
Cat5 cables have greater potential for crosstalk (error in data transmission), on the other hand, Cat5e was exclusively designed with defined specifications to have reduced the crosstalk on another level. More specifically, Cat5e transfers data more smoothly without any error as it has the ability to deal with the errors in a timely manner.
Bandwidth is defined as the capacity of a system to transfer data from one place to another so the higher bandwidth the better. Cat5 cables’ bandwidth is up to 100MHz, on the other hand, the bandwidth of Cat5e cables can be extended up to 350MHz. For the very reason, Cat5e can easily carry Gigabit Ethernet.
Cat5 cables are able to support networks that run up to 10-100 megabits per second. Cat5e cables have the ability to support networks that run up to 1000 megabits per second. No doubt, this difference cannot be felt in homes and on smaller levels but it’s a big deal for IT companies and huge businesses. The frequency of both Cat5 and Cat5e is almost the same, up to 100MHz.
Cat5 cables have limited future use because they are not ideal for users who required faster internet speed. However, Cat5e cables have a comparatively better rather adequate future use as thy support Gigabit Ethernet. No doubt, Cat6, and Cat7 are the real future but it doesn’t put Cat5e in any danger to some extent.
No doubt, the price of Cat5 and Cat5e cables may vary depending on the manufacturers. However, Cat5e is costly as compared to Cat5 because of its exclusive specifications and great performance. Most of the clients prefer to upgrade from Cat5 to Cat5e, which costs hardly any money because of Cat5e’s backward capability feature.