5 Tips for Buying Ethernet Cables and Adapters

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5 Tips for Buying Ethernet Cables and Adapters

Anyone purchasing Ethernet cables should decide which one to purchase, how much to spend, and whether or not it is worth spending more to get a slightly better cable. Other considerations including where to purchase, how to buy, and lengths to purchase can also be confusing, depending on the experience of the buyer with such purchases. There are a lot of options available so buyers should pay careful attention to their needs and the specifications of the cable.

Checking online sites is a great place to get a better deal on an Ethernet cable or adapter, especially for buyers who need very long cables for their gaming consoles. Usually, very important factors for buying an Ethernet cable include that it is long enough and that it supports the amount of data being transferred. The connector and type of cable matters as well, and buyers should be familiar with these aspects as well before making a purchase.

Tip 1: Check the Type of Cable or Adapter

There are three basic types of Ethernet cables and two types of adapters. Adapters include either USB or Ethernet connections, although the USB versions are usually more popular and affordable. Buyers should also choose the type of cable or adapter based on their needs. Typically, most video game consoles require twisted pair cables but older options include coaxial, and fibre optic cables are sometimes available as well. The majority of buyers should look for twisted pair cables with RJ-45 jacks if the game console has this jack, and if not, another type of jack.

Usually, Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapters plug in via USB but can sometimes have an RJ-45 jack as well. Buyers should check their machine to see which jacks are present and then purchase accordingly. Some adapters are made specifically for individual gaming consoles such as the Xbox, so buyers should also look to see if the adapters are console specific before purchase. Usually, any adapter with a USB works in any Wi-Fi compatible console.

Tip 2: Choose Internet Capability

The Internet capacity of the line is one of the most important options for choosing an Ethernet cable or adapter. Capacity is usually determined by the gauge and number of the wires and is measured in Cat, which ranges from three to seven, although 5E and F are also used as well. Buyers should check the speed of their Internet and then check the speed required for the games they intend to play before purchasing a cable or adapter. Category 5 and 5E are popular options. Usually, the more Internet being used, the better the online gaming experience so buyers who intend to play frequently online should consider purchasing a Cat 6, which is an excellent option for gigabit Ethernet.

Cable Cat

Use

Cat 3

Voice Cabling, 10 mb Ethernet

Cat 5

10-100 mb Ethernet

Cat 5E

10-100 mb or gigabit (1000 mb) Ethernet

Cat 6

10-100-1000 mb Ethernet, higher gauge than Cat 5E

Cat 7

Fully shielded, supports up to 600 mHz of data transfer

Most people can use a Cat 5 or 5E Ethernet cable or adapter because most do not have gigabit Internet. For those who do have gigabit Internet, Cat 6 is an excellent choice, but can be more expensive so is not always required. Usually, it is a good idea to check with the service provider to see exactly how many megabits of internet are available in the area and then purchase the adapter accordingly. Typically, buyers can also check their Internet capability in their service contract.

Tip 3: Check the Connectors

With an adapter, the connector is most likely to be a USB connector but can also be RJ-45 jack, which looks like a telephone connector only a little wider. Ethernet cables are commonly made with RJ-45 jacks and almost all of the options available for video consoles use either Ethernet or RJ-45 jacks. However, a few of the other jacks that might be available include F connectors, which are usually on coaxial cables or older gaming consoles, and SC connectors and ST connectors, which are typically found on fibre optic cables.

In general, buyers should be able to look for simple RJ-45 jacks, which are typically sold as LAN jacks or just as Ethernet cables. Anyone who does not have an Ethernet jack should look on the back of the console for an F connector or SC/ST connector. If neither of these is present, a USB connection is a good choice. Importantly, any Wi-Fi adapters for a video console should be relatively close to the Wi-Fi router in order to hold a consistent signal while gaming.

Tip 4: Choose a Quality Option

Gamers should always try to decide on quality vs. price when making a purchase. Usually, a better quality Ethernet cable or adapter is worth the extra money, although mid-range options are usually better value for the money. However, buyers can also look at how often they plan to use the Wi-Fi or Ethernet on the gaming console and use that factor to set a budget. Anyone who would like to use their Internet as frequently as possible should consider investing in a high quality Cat 5E or higher cable and good quality hardware. Anyone who plans on using their Ethernet rarely can simply purchase a cheap compatible option.

Decide on Extra Features

Some buyers might need extra features such as a Wi-Fi router for an Ethernet adapter, extension cables, splitters, and more. While not all buyers need these features, it is important to look at the Ethernet already set-up to see if a splitter is required to add another Internet port. Buyers who do not have a Wi-Fi capable router or who need a router can also purchase one at the same time as the cables and adapters.

Original Equipment Manufacturer Ethernet Cables and Adapters

One consideration for gamers is that many Ethernet cables and adapters are made by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). These are usually marked with the OEM brand such as Playstation 3 or Sony, Xbox, Microsoft, or Nintendo. Many gamers prefer to purchase OEM cables and connectors because they are guaranteed to work with the game console. However, usually, OEMs offer similar capabilities to other brands, but are constructed according to the same quality standards as the game console itself.

Choosing Ethernet Cable Length

Buyers should always pay attention to the length of the Ethernet cable when applicable. Usually, it is a good idea to measure the distance along the walls from the back of the gaming console to the plug in port on the router. It is also a good idea to slightly overestimate in order to avoid purchasing a cable that is too short. Ethernet cables are sold in metre and half metre lengths such as half to twenty metres, although longer options are also available.

Tip 5: Check for Internet Capability

Unfortunately, not every gaming console is capable of being used for Internet or for Wi-Fi. Buyers should check to make sure that their model is Internet compatible and, if not, consider purchasing a gaming Ethernet card. These are usually relatively cheap and can be self-installed, or installed by a professional, to allow the device to go online. However, if the console has not previously had an Ethernet card installed, buyers should look for an external one that plugs in via USB or via a cable on the back. If the console is too old, these will not be available.

Buying Ethernet Cables and Adapters on eBay

eBay is a great place to purchase Ethernet cables and adapters because the store offers gamers the ability to quickly and easily find the cables they are looking for. eBay features a wide variety of both cables and adapters including new, used, and OEM options. Buyers can search from the home page and specify game console, plug type, Cat number, although this is not always available in the listing, and in special cases, whether the cable is fibre optic or coaxial.

Comparing the results of your search, reading the full description given by the seller, and looking at any photos provided can help you to make a good decision. Buyers should pay attention to see if the cable or adapter is new or used, and should pay special attention to whether or not it is compatible with their gaming console. From there, it is easy to purchase the Ethernet cable or adapter using the eBay's checkout options.

Conclusion

Purchasing an Ethernet cable or adapter for a gaming console requires consideration for the type of cable and plug as well as the data transfer. A common cable used for Ethernet cables is an RJ-45 jack, although USB ports are also popular, especially for Ethernet adapters that are designed to allow the game console to pick up a Wi-Fi signal. Checking the data transfer rate, which is listed in mb is also important as most buyers need different cables depending on the amount of data transfer. Generally, buyers can purchase a Cat 5 or Cat 5E cable to handle all of their needs.

Checking for an OEM option is also possible, although these typically cost more but do offer original manufacturer guarantee. Buyers purchasing a cable should measure the distance between the router and the gaming console to decide on a length. Finally, gamers can choose to purchase their Ethernet cables or adapters at an electronics or game store or an online store like eBay.

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