A Guide to Ethernet Cables


It is normal to think of Wi-Fi when the issue is concerning home networking. But Wi-Fi is not the only way by which you can transmit data in your home or office. You can get faster, easier and even more dependable results by using Ethernet cables. Not even the best Wi-Fi routers can give you the same level of delivery as Ethernet cables. 

Types of Ethernet Cables

Ethernet cables come in different types, and one has to familiarize oneself with all of them so that it becomes easy to select the most appropriate one. Here are the various kinds of Ethernet cables in use: 

  • Category 1 Cable: The history of the Category 1 cable goes way back to the 1980s. The networkers of that era came up with using coaxial cable or what was referred to as Category 1 cable. It is also called the voice-grade cable and it was made using insulated telephone wires. These wires were twisted to form pairs and this led to a minimization of crosstalking. The cables were wrapped in plastic and could transmit a 10KHz signal and could do a delivery of as much as 1Mbps. 
  • Category 2 Cable: The limitations of the Category 1 cable paved the way for the Category 2 cable and this could transmit 4Mbps and a signal of 1MHz frequency. 
  • Category 3 Cable: This cable came to the fore in the early parts of the 1990s and it is referred to as the pioneering networking cable. Its frequency was jerked up to 16MHz and as for the Ethernet performance, it clocked in at 10Mbps. 
  • Category 4 Cable: This type of Ethernet cable was more advanced and the frequency reached 20MHz while the performance was rated at about 16Mbps. But at the time of its development, it was deployed mainly for use in Token Ring systems and not in Ethernet networks per se. 
  • Category 5 Cable: The whole trend changed in 1995 when Microsoft Windows 95 entered the scene alongside the Category 5 cable. This cable changed the game dramatically as it was able to transfer 100Mbps of data and the frequency measured in at 100MHz across a distance of 330 feet. 
  • Category 5e Cable: As expected, this was a lot more advanced and it was designed to have a data speed of an impressive 1Gbps at all levels. 
  • Category 6 Cable: The 21st century came with the Category 6 of Ethernet cable and this one is an entire class of its own. It is the preferred cable for many home networkers and other network stakeholders. It runs at an impressive 250MHz.  In some other instances, it has been utilized as a shield for the sheaths of wires transmitting data and this allows for the reduction of interference. This cable type can transmit as much as 1Gbps over a distance of 330 feet or up to 10Gbps over a distance of about 165 feet. There was an upgrade of the specification into a cable tagged Category 6A which has a frequency of 500MHz over a distance of 330 feet maintaining 1Gbps at all levels. 
  • Category 7 Cable: Even though this is not classified by the Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA), the Category 7 Ethernet cable came onto the scene in 2010. It is designed for use by server rooms and data centres where speed is very paramount. A roll of the Category 7 cable has two layers of shielding, one for the two wires and another for the wires’ bundle. The additional isolation is relevant because the frequency of 600MHz can transmit up to 10Gbps across a distance of 330 feet. The Category 7A cable has been launched recently. It has boosted the speed up to 1GHz, maintaining up to 40Gbps over a maximum distance of 165 feet. 
  • Category 8 Cable: This is the most sophisticated Ethernet cable type in use. It is also designed for server and data centers where the fastest speed is all that matters. These type of cables break the 2GHz limit and can transmit data at a fantastic rate of 40Gbps. They need double layers of shielding, connectors made from metal and cannot cover more than 100 feet at a time. 

Uses of Ethernet Cables

Ethernet cables are conventional wires that are used for the connection of computers to a network. These cables are designed with the specific intention of speeding up communication between different electronic and networking systems. 

Ethernet cables work with systems that link computers with other devices like scanners, printers, fax machines, or other computers. The facilitation of communication between personal computers and the Internet servers is done using an Ethernet cable. Ethernet cables also provide a reliable Internet connection. This implies that users can get to work at any time while downloading and uploading files without any glitches. 

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