Cat5e and Cat6 cables (also known as Category 5e and Category 6) are standardized cables used for the Ethernet. Each standard is backwards compatible with older Ethernet cabling technology. Cat6 represents the most advanced Ethernet cable to date. Read on to learn more about Cat5e vs. Cat6.
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What is the Main Differences Between Cat5e and Cat6?
The primary difference between Cat5e and Cat6 cables is transmission performance, and by extension the total bandwidth available on the cable. Cat5e is limited to 100 MHz speed while Cat6 can go up to 250 MHz.
In practical terms, this means that a Cat5e cable is only capable of adhering to the 1000BASE-T/TX standard while Cat6 can adhere to the much faster 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet). Cat6 is capable of 10x the speeds of Cat5e. Physical improvements in the hardware of the cable make this possible. A Cat6 network is fully backwards compatible with Cat5e devices.
Isn’t Gigabit Ethernet with Cat5e Fast Enough?
Will Cat6 Fully Replace Cat5e?
Analysts predict that Cat6 will replace Cat5e when it comes to new cable installations. Already 90% of all new cable installations are using the Cat6 standard. Cat6 is backwards compatible with Cat5e and Cat3 standards, so it will not cause any compatibility issues.
Should My Business Install Cat6?
It is always better to install the best available cabling. It can become very difficult to replace cabling inside walls, floors and ceilings once it has been installed. Installing Cat6 will future proof your business for years to come. If your business currently has Cat5e then you can wait a few years before upgrading, as Cat6 will not be absolutely mandatory until then. If you business is running is running an older cable tech prior to Cat5, then you should consider upgrading immediately.
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