Collection: Cat Cable

Commonly referred to as an ethernet, LAN, and/or patch cable, there are several variations of twisted-pair copper cable used to transmit data in network applications. The prefix “Cat” is shorthand for Category and the subsequent number designates the grade and capabilities of the cable. A general rule of thumb is that higher numbers represent faster speeds and higher frequencies, measured in megahertz (MHz).

A Cat patch lead or cable, also known as a straight-through cable, is used for connecting devices of different types, like a computer to a switch or hub. Ethernet crossover cable on the other hand is used for connecting two types of the same device together e.g. two computers.

A single run of Ethernet cable is designed to work at a maximum of 328 feet or 100 meters. It's entirely possible to exceed the manufacturer's specification and still maintain network connectivity. However, this greatly increases the chances of connectivity issues, reduced speeds, and lower reliability.

CAT 5 is 100 MHz with data transfer at speeds up to 1000 Mbps. CAT 6 is 250 MHz and can get up to 1 Gbps. Cat7 ups the ante substantially with 600 MHz and 10 Gbps rates.

Cat6 is what we typically recommend home user go with for a gigabit network. It advances on Cat5e and will give you the ability for double the frequency. It also improves on crosstalk performance which will reduce signal inference between your wires. Cat6 cables come in many different versions such as riser.

Another drawback is the interference. Cat 5e cables are more susceptible to noise and crosstalk than Cat 6 cables, which can degrade the signal quality and cause errors or interruptions. This can be a problem if you have a lot of electrical devices or wires nearby that can interfere with the cable.

Cat8 cables support PoE technology, which means they're able to save space in server rooms by simplifying installation. For home equipment, Cat6a is more than sufficient, even for gaming, and Cat8 cable can be difficult to install and overkill for most home applications.

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