What’s the Difference Between Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat7 Cables?

Ever wonder what the difference is with computer cable standards when you hear people talk about Cat5e or Cat6? The difference in cable standards determines the speed and amount of crosstalk which affects the quality of the signal.

When compared at lengths of 100 meters, the following numbers show the difference in Ethernet cable categories:

  • Cat5 Ethernet cable is typically too slow for business networks, as it only allows connections up to 100Mbps at 100 MHz
  • Cat5e Ethernet cable allows up to 1Gbps internet speed with 100 MHz
  • Cat6 Ethernet cable allows up to 1Gbps up to 328 feet, however shorter runs of up to 180 feet can get internet speeds of 10 Gb/s at 250 MHz
  • Cat6a Ethernet cable can get speeds up to 10Gbps, even at 328 feet of cable length, operating at 500 MHz
  • Cat7 Ethernet cable is the newest cable category, operating at speeds of 10Gbps at 328 feet of cable and transmitting frequencies up to 600 Mhz

The advantage of Cat7 cable is the shielding of its twisted pairs, which significantly improves noise resistance.While it is more expensive, Cat7 is considered the most durable and has a longer lifespan than the CAT5 and CAT6 standards.

If you have short runs of up to 150 feet, Cat6 is the most cost effective cable to use, especially if it is only being run to a single device. But if you are wiring your home and want the cable that you won’t have to replace, choose Cat7. This improves your overall return on investment, and is the best choice for wiring with the future in mind.

Your cable installers should not be using Cat5 or Cat5e anymore as it is outdated and the cost for Cat6 is worth the improved signal quality.

If you would like advice on what cable is best for your upcoming project, contact Advanced Systems Solutions and we can help to make sure you make the best choice.


Disclaimer: The above information is not intended as technical advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an IT Professional before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.