Differences Between CAT5E And CAT6 Ethernet Cables

Photo by Leon Sokoletski

Few know, but ethernet from digital factory is an interconnection architecture for local area networks based on sending packets. The cabling and the electrical signals sent in the form of packets and protocols to the media access control sublayer (Media Access Control – MAC) are defined. But, for the signal to be sent efficiently, with stability, and with good transfer capacity, it is necessary to use a suitable cable.

The cables used to transmit the internet in our homes or companies are called ethernet cables, and there are different categories of cables. However, this is not visible to the layman. With each generation that appears, there is an increase in data transmission speed and the cancellation of electromagnetic noise.

Although there are categories below the CAT5E ethernet cable, only categories will be described, as the other classes are no longer used today.

Category 5E (CAT 5E)

The CAT5E category cable appeared in 2001 and improved the CAT5 category, where less interference was achieved between the wires, obtaining a better-quality signal. This cable category is the most common and the most used in installations due to its low cost and malleability.

Although it has the theoretical capacity to reach up to 1000Mbps at a frequency of 100MHz over a distance of 100 meters, it is something complicated to happen due to its structure that is very vulnerable to electromagnetic interference. It has only four pairs of twisted wires without any shielding and no spacing between them.

Category 6 (CAT6)

The CAT6 ethernet cable in iiot can support up to 1Gbps at a frequency of 250Mhz at a distance of 100m. While the Category 5E cable has one and a half turns at two turns per cm, the Category 6 cables are wound more tightly and have two or more turns per cm (the number of twists varies according to the cable manufacturer).

CAT6 cables have a greater thickness than CAT5E because, in addition to the four twisted pairs of wires, there is a plastic structure in the form of “X” that divides the pairs of wires. This cable dividing structure is responsible for giving the cable more excellent durability, preventing the wires from bending too much, and providing less interference between the wires. However, this comes at a cost, an inevitable loss of flexibility compared to CAT5E cables.

The differentiated structure of the CAT6 cable contributes to a more stable data transmission, especially when using streaming services (Example: Netflix), games (games), and audio and video calls (Example: Skype).

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