In this article we will show you the differences between the network cables CAT 5, CAT 6, CAT 7 and CAT 8. In general, these terms describe the performance classes of network cables. But the differences are not only in the transmission rate.
Ethernet cable differences: Overview
CAT 5: The most common Ethernet cable
CAT-5 cables are found in the vast majority of installations and are therefore considered standard.
- CAT-5 cables achieve signal rates of up to 100 MHz and are therefore suitable for gigabit operation.
- They are still laid in professional environments, although not as frequently as CAT 6 or CAT 7.
- For home users, CAT-5 cables are completely sufficient in most situations.
CAT 6: The all-rounder
CAT-6 category cables are often used in the professional sector.
- CAT-6 cables reach operating frequencies of up to 250 MHz. However, their transmission speed decreases the longer the cable is.
- CAT-6 category cables are used throughout the public network infrastructure.
- The CAT-6a standard even reaches operating frequencies of up to 500 MHz and is therefore suitable for 10 Gigabit Ethernet.
- To comply with the standard, the cable must be specially protected against external influences such as secondary signals or noise.
CAT 7: The ultimate solution for your home
The CAT-7 standard is the fastest and best shielded standard among network cables.
- CAT-7 cables achieve an operating frequency of up to 600 MHz. The subcategory CAT-7a even manages up to 1,000 MHz.
- All cables of the CAT-7 category have 4 separately shielded wire pairs in a complete shielding. This means that almost no secondary signals can reach the cable.
- For network cables of the CAT-7 category there are exactly 2 different standardized connector types.
CAT 8: For professional use
CAT-8 cables are used almost exclusively in the professional sector. For home users they are too expensive and not really worth it.
- CAT 8 achieves twice the operating frequencies of CAT 7, but the cables can also be used for short distances only.
- The standard is a twisted pair cable, which is completely shielded. Interference has no chance here.
- There are two subcategories of CAT 8 cables, namely 8.1 and 8.2. CAT 8.1 is compatible with the normal Ethernet plugs. CAT 8.2 uses a plug that has been specially designed for professional use.