Difference between Cat5 vs Cat6 vs Cat7 Ethernet Cable 

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Are you looking for a quality Ethernet cable? 

Well, in that case, you have come to the right place. In this post, we will discuss everything important related to Ethernet cables. Along with that, we will also suggest some of the best Ethernet cables for you.

As you already know Ethernet cables are used as network cables. They are required for making connections to the Internet. 

Before you get an Ethernet cable, you should know the types available. But most importantly, you need to know the difference between each of the types, so that you can pick up the right Ethernet cable for yourself.

The three main types of Ethernet cables available are Cat7, Cat6, and Cat5. If you are confused between the three cable types, no worries because we have got your back. 

Twisted Pair Ethernet Cables

When it comes to connecting your computer to your modem or router, you use a twisted pair Ethernet cable. With the help of this type of cable, you access the internet.

Speaking of twisted-pair Ethernet cable, there are two types available.

1. Shielded twisted pair

An STP has its wires covered with a foil and hence, it is called shielding. The foil cover provides additional protection against electromagnetic disturbance.

This type of Ethernet cables is mainly used in industries. But some people use them for their businesses and homes. 

2. Unshielded twisted pair

This type of Ethernet cable is very similar to STP. The only difference is that a UTP doesn’t have the extra foil covering like STP.

UTP is the most commonly used Ethernet cable today. This type of cable has four pairs of wires twisted around each other. The wires are color-coded and prevent electromagnetic interference.

This type of Ethernet cable is mainly used for homes or businesses.

Difference Between Cat5/Cat6/Cat7

Before we start discussing the difference between each of these ethernet cable types, let us first know what CAT means.

In simple words, CAT means Category, while the numbers 7, 6, and 5 represents the standards and specifications of the cable. All of these cables use the RJ45 connector which is also known as an Ethernet port.

What makes them different?

Well, the difference between these cables is based on two primary factors. 

They are:

  • Material and installation to use within the cables
  • Rated performance

1. Cat7

If you want the fastest Ethernet cable, then Cat7 is what you need. This is by far the best type of Ethernet cable you will find.

  • Materials and installation

Cat7 comes with a thicker coating on the outside. The coating is thicker than any of the other cable types. Also, it has a very strict requirement for cutting crosstalk. For instance, it requires mesh insulation for the whole cable as well as shielding between each of the wiring pairs.

The mesh insulation provides durability and also reduces disturbance from the external environment. This helps in making the cable more reliable.

This type of Ethernet cable could be the perfect choice when looking for permanent wire installations. For example, if you want to wire your house, then Cat7 could be your choice.

  • Rated performance

This type of Ethernet cable is rated for a 10gig speed. However, it comes with 600MHz bandwidth.

2. Cat6

Cat6 is your go-to option, especially when you are not sure which type of Ethernet cable to buy. It is not only affordable but also future proof which makes it a perfect choice for any buyer.

  • Materials and installation

Cat6 cables are handy and flat. This is why they easily go through small corners in a house.

It comes with four twisted pairs with either a plastic core or foil that separates each pair of wire. This helps in insulation and thus, reduces any disturbance between the twisted pairs. Along with that, the twisted pairs also have wires made of copper. This helps in reducing the crosstalk between each twisted pair of wires.

Cat6 cables are best suited for house purposes. They are cheap and future proof.

  • Rated performance

The Cat6 comes with 10 Gbps with a 250 MHz bandwidth. By bandwidth, we mean the frequency range that is used by the cable. This helps in improving the speed. Not just that, but it even has more space to accommodate data.

Another good thing about this type of cable is that it helps reduce crosstalks. It makes it possible with the help of tighter wire pairs. It also has a plastic core that helps separate the wires inside.

3. Cat6a 

After Cat6 comes Cat6a which happens to be a higher version of Cat6 cable. If you thought that Cat6 is the best option for you, then you should check out Cat6a.

  • Rated performance

The Cat6a can transfer data at 10GBps speed. Not just that, but it also covers a longer distance. In comparison to Cat6, it has a much larger bandwidth of 500 Mhz. 

This is best suited for a 10 gig network as it is more reliable and will also give you full speed.

4. Cat5

Lastly, we have a Cat5 cable type. But nowadays, they are rarely available for purchase.

  • Material and installation

It comes with two twisted pairs of wires made of copper. The good thing is that the pairs are color-coded. But unlike Cat6, it doesn’t have any insulation between the paired wires.

  • Rated performance

Cat5 has a bandwidth of 100 Mhz. It is rated up to 100mbps at a maximum of 100 meters. This is why they are no longer used as the new minimum is 1 gigabyte.

In case, you are still using Cat5 cable, then it’s better to replace them. This type of cable is highly unreliable and also gives you lesser speed.

5. Cat5e

Cat5e is the newer and improved version of Cat5 enhanced. This type of Ethernet cables is very common nowadays

  • Rated performance

The Cat5e cable comes with a rated speed of 1gbps per 100m. As far as the bandwidth is concerned, it is 100 MHz. This has been made possible by improving the specs of the paired wires inside.

The changes made in the cable enables it to reduce crosstalks between different signals and thus, it can provide you the required speed. 

  • Materials and installation

Unlike Cat5, Cat5e has four twisted pairs of wires. This allows it to transfer more amount of data at once.

Although it has four pairs of twisted wires, it requires only two pairs. This is why you should check the rating certifications for the specs. A Cat5 cable can transfer data close to a premium cable.

Best Ethernet Cables Reviews

Here are some of the best Ethernet cables you can get for your network. We have included the top products from each of the categories, so you can choose as per your requirement.

Best Cat7 Cable

Here are some high-performance Cat7 cables that you can go for:

1. Shinekee Cat 7 Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Size: 50ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

This is one of the best Cat7 cables you will find out there. This is a premium grade cable that comes with shielded copper wires and gold plated connectors. This helps in maintaining the signal strength always and also reduces any kind of disturbance.

With this cable, you can achieve speeds up to 10 Gbps. Not just that, but it also has a bandwidth of 600 Mhz. The good thing is that you can use this cable for both indoor and outdoor use. You can also connect it to all your devices including computers, consoles, routers, and others.

When using this cable, you are sure to get a strong internet connection. If you want to enjoy a better network with minimal disturbance, then this is the cable you should go for.

Pros

  • Suitable for both indoors and outdoors
  • Minimal disturbance
  • Gold plated connectors
  • Maintains a strong connection
  • Can be connected to all devices

Cons

  • None

2. Jadaol Cat 7 Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Size: 50ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

If you are looking for an Ethernet cable for a fast internet connection, then this could be a great option for you. With this cable, you can reach speeds up to 10 Gbps. It also has 600 Mhz of bandwidth. This is best suited for gaming purposes.

The cable is equipped with gold plated connectors and also has copper wires. This ensures a strong connection with very less disturbance. It is because of these features that it is ideal for gamers as they can stream their games without any hassles.

Due to the flat design of the cable, it can easily pass under the door and corners. In other words, it is designed to give you a snug fit. This is also a high-quality cable meant for quality connection.

Pros

  • Gold plated connectors
  • Minimal disturbance
  • 10 Gbps data speed
  • Flat design
  • Suitable for gamers

Cons

  • May not be long-lasting

3. VANDESAIL CAT7 RJ45 LAN Cable

  • Weight: 2.39 ounces
  • Size: 6.5ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

The Vandesail Cat7 Ethernet cable is one of the finest Ethernet cables you will find. This is a high-speed cable that can make surfing the net easily. With this cable, you don’t have to worry about slow speed ever again.

This cable is designed for super high speed and it supports bandwidth up to 1000 MHz. It can transmit data at the speed of up to 10Gbps. What makes the cable better is the additional shielding and improved twisting of the wires. It provides better protection from noise, crosstalk, and disturbance.

The good thing is that you can connect it to a large number of devices. This includes routers, adapters, consoles, etc. For high speed and better performance, you must check out this cable.

Pros

  • The improved pairing of wires
  • High speed
  • Additional shielding
  • Can be used with a lot of devices
  • Reduced noise and disturbance

Cons

  • None 

4. AmazonBasics RJ45 Cat7 Network Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 1.7 ounces
  • Size: 3ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

AmazonBasics brings to you a high-quality Cat7 Ethernet cable with universal compatibility. This cable is used to connect computers to network components in a wired LAN network. It is designed to give you consistent high speed at all times. This makes it perfect for homes and offices.

You can rely on this cable for a more reliable and secure Internet connection. It can transmit data at the speed of 10 Gigabits per second which is 10 times faster than Cat-6 cables.

The cable is durable and surrounded by a durable PVC jacket. It also comes with a 1-year warranty, in case, anything were to happen to the cable.

Pros

  • Durable
  • High speed
  • High quality
  • 1-year warranty
  • Secure internet connection

Cons

  • Not long-lasting

Best Cat6 Cables

Here are some of the top-rated Cat6 cables that you can choose from:

1. Rankie RJ45 Cat6 Snagless Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Size: 5 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

If you are looking for a Cat6 combo pack, then this could be the perfect option for you. This is suitable for both home and office networks. The cables are equipped with RJ45 connectors that ensure universal connectivity.

These cables have a high bandwidth of up to 250 MHz which is needed for high-speed data transfer. With this cable, you can future-proof your network for 10-Gigabit Ethernet. It can transmit data at speeds up to 1,000 Mbps.

This is a high-performance Cat6 cable that provides you universal connectivity for a LAN network. You can use this cable to connect a variety of devices such as computer servers, routers, switch boxes, and more.

Pros

  • Combo pack
  • High quality
  • High-speed data transfer
  • Compatible with a lot of devices
  • RJ-45 connector type

Cons

  • Not as good as it claims

2. Ultra Clarity Cat6 Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: Not Found
  • Size: 15 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

This 15ft long Cat6 Ethernet cable from Ultra Clarity is what you need to enjoy greater speeds. This cable is tested for quality and performance. This is designed to give you high speed and reliability.

The good thing is that the cable is compatible with a large number of devices such as PCs, printers, routers, and more. It has 8 solid copper conductors 24 AWG. Each of the four unshielded twisted pairs is separated by a PE cross insulation that helps reduce crosstalk.

It is also covered with a 5.8mm PVC jacket with RJ45 connectors and has gold-plated contacts. Lastly, it also comes with 1 year of warranty for buyer’s satisfaction.

Pros

  • High speed
  • 1-year warranty
  • Reduced disturbance
  • Gold plated contacts
  • Tested for high speed

Cons

  • None

3. Cable Matters Snagless Cat6 Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Size: 25 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

Those looking for a high performance Cat6 cable can surely go for this model. It comes with a 24 AWG copper wire that provides universal connectivity for LAN network. Using this cable you can connect a variety of devices to the internet.

It is designed to future-proof your network for 10-Gigabit Ethernet. Unlike many other cables, this one comes with gold-plated contacts. Not just that, but it also has molded strain-relief boots.

This cable is designed to resist corrosion and is more durable than other cables. For a secure connection, this cable could be a great option for you. It provides a high bandwidth of up to 550 MHz.

Pros

  • High speed
  • High bandwidth
  • Durable
  • Corrosion-resistant

Cons

  • Not reliable

4. Jadaol Cat 6 Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 15 ounces
  • Size: 100 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

This Jadaol Cat6 cable comes bundled with 25 cable clips so that you don’t have to buy them separately. It provides a standard bandwidth of up to 250 MHz.

The main highlight of the cable is that it has a gold plated RJ45 connector. Not just that but it is made of pure copper wire to reduce disturbance and noise. This is a high-performance cable that is both durable and reliable.

The unique flat shape of the cable allows for a safer and easier installation. You can easily make the cable follow edges and corners. You can even slide it under the carpet and make it go invisible.

Pros

  • Secure connection
  • Gold plated contacts
  • Unique flat shape
  • High speed
  • High quality

Cons

  • Not reliable

Best Cat5 Cables

Here are some quality Cat5 and Cat5e cables that you can buy:

1. Cmple Cat5e Network Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 1.15 pounds
  • Size: 100 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

With this Cat5e cable, you can connect all your hardware destinations on a Gigabit Local Area Network including computer servers, routers, printers, switch boxes, and more.

This is a high-performance Cat5e cable which is better than the other options available. It can support speeds up to 1000 Mbps and has a bandwidth of 350 MHZ. For fast data transfer, you can rely on this cable.

It comes with gold plated contacts with RJ45 connectors for high-speed data transfer. This is the perfect cable for video chatting, streaming, PoE devices, and more. Lastly, it is also provided with a lifetime warranty.

Pros

  • Gold plated contacts
  • Superior performance
  • High speed
  • Durable
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Not reliable 

 

2. Cable Matters Cat5e Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Size: 5 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

If you are looking for a high-performance Cat5e cable for video chatting and streaming, then you can check out this model. It is designed for superior speed and provides universal connectivity for LAN network.

You can connect this cable to all your hardware components. The good thing is that it is suitable for both home and office use. It has gold-plated contacts and molded strain-relief boots for greater performance.

This is a highly durable cable and is great for a secure connection. It improves cable performance and has a high bandwidth of 350 MHz.

Pros

  • High quality
  • High bandwidth
  • Durable
  • Suitable for home and office use
  • Secure connection

Cons

  • Not reliable

3. Mediabridge Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Size: 50 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

This cable is unique because it supports both Cat6 and Cat5e applications. The RJ45 connector provided with the cable fits perfectly in both Cat6 and Cat5e ports. This cable is tested for speed and performance. If you want a high-quality Cat5e cable, then this could be the perfect option for you.

This cable is designed for high-speed data transfer and has a high bandwidth of up to 550 MHz. You can connect this cable with a variety of server applications, cloud computing, online high definition video streaming, and video surveillance.

It comes with 24AWG stranded conductors. It is equipped with PE cross insulation in between each of the four twisted pairs of wires. This helps in insulation to prevent crosstalk. It is also provided with gold-plated contacts.

Pros

  • Durable
  • High speed
  • High bandwidth
  • Gold plated contacts
  • Supports both Cat5e and Cat6 applications

Cons

  • None

4. iMBAPrice Cat5e Network Ethernet Cable

  • Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Size: 3 ft
  • Connector type: RJ-45

With this high-performance Cat5e cable you can connect Ethernet devices both in your home and office. It comes with a Snagless molded strain relief that protects your devices during installation.

The cable has gold plated contacts that are needed for clear data transmissions for your computing needs. If you are looking for an affordable Ethernet cable, then this could be the perfect option for you.

This is a pack of 10 Ethernet cables that comes with a lifetime warranty. It is durable and designed for high-speed data transfers.

Pros

  • Durable
  • High speed
  • Gold plated contacts
  • Clear data transmissions
  • Secure connection

Cons

  • Average performance

How to install an Ethernet cable by yourself?

To make your custom cables, you need to first arrange for a bulk of twisted-pair cables. Before you connect the RJ-45 connector, you need to wire them properly. 

Here is what you have to do:

  1. The first thing you need to do is remove the protective shielding to show the wire. This can be done easily with the help of a cable stripper. All you have to do is put the cable into the cable stripper and then remove the shielding.
  2. 2. Now you need to insert the cable into a wire crimper and connect an RJ45 connector. But before you do that make sure that the cables are arranged in the right order. The order may vary depending on the type of cable you are working with.

The two main types of wiring orders are crossover cables straight cables. 

A straight cable allows signals to pass through from one end to end another. This is mainly used for LAN networks. You should use this type of cable wiring when connecting your PC to modems, switches, or routers.

On the other hand, the wiring order of a crossover cable is not so common. But sometimes even they are used for the LAN network. In this type of cable, both ends are wired with two different standards. For instance, if one end is wired with 568B, then another end is wired with the 568A standard. These types of cables are suitable for connecting two similar devices. For example, you can use it to connect two computers.

FAQs

1. What are the different categories of Ethernet cables?

There are three main types or categories of Ethernet cables. This includes Cat5, Cat6, and Cat7. For those who don’t have an idea, Cat7 is the most advanced type, whereas Cat6 is the most commonly used and Cat5 is an outdated Ethernet cable.

2. What is a plenum Ethernet cable?

A plenum cable is the type of Ethernet cable that is covered with a fire-resistant plastic jacket. This makes them fire-resistant. This type of cables is passed through different levels of testing before they are released in the market. 

3. What is an Ethernet cable used for?

An Ethernet cable happens to be a common type of network cable. It is used on a wired network both at homes and office buildings. It helps connect devices to the local network for Internet access and even file sharing. There are different categories of Ethernet cables available including Cat5, Cat6, and Cat7.

4. How does an Ethernet cable work?

Ethernet cables are used for internet connection. They help connect wired devices to a local network. All you have to do is plug in the Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port of a device. For example, they are used to connect a modem or Wi-Fi router to the telephone line or internet entry port.

Conclusion

Ethernet cables are the most common type of network cables. Now that you know the difference between the different categories of cables, it should be easier for you to make the right choice for your network. If you are looking for a quality Ethernet cable, then you can pick any product from our list.

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