Top 5 Raw State Ethernet Cables

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Although wireless networks are increasingly common, many local area network (LAN) connections still rely on raw state Ethernet cables for fast data transmission. These cables come in two varieties: unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (STP). UTP cables feature pairs of insulated twisted copper wires in one sheath. STP cables feature shielding that prevents electromagnetic interference and includes screened shielded twisted pair (S-STP) cables. Cables come in categories that conform to varying data transfer standards. Before buying Ethernet cables from computer shops or marketplaces such as eBay, buyers should understand the differences between the top products available.
1 Cat 3 Cable
Cat 3 Cable

The category 3 standard or Cat 3 cable featured in home and office wiring in the 1990s. Technological advances have rendered Cat 3 cables obsolete in modern wired networks. However, they still feature in two-line phone configurations and users should keep at least one if the network includes older devices. Although Cat 3 is theoretically limited to 10BASE-T Ethernet, a cable with four wires instead of two supports 100BASE-T4 speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps). A standard Cat 3 cable is a UTP product that handles data speeds of up to 10 Mbps and has a maximum frequency of 16 Megahertz (MHz).


2 Cat 5 Cable
Cat 5 Cable

Cat 5 became the UTP cable of choice for wired networks in the early 2000s. It supports both 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T standards for data transmission, which means it can support either 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps speeds. It has a 100 MHz maximum frequency and is effective in lengths of up to 100 metres. It was the first Fast Ethernet-capable cable available and is suitable for carrying video and telephone signals. Cat 5e cables largely replace Cat 5.


3 Cat 5e Cable
Cat 5e Cable

Cat 5e is an enhanced version of the Cat 5 cable. It features four pairs of copper wire instead of Cat 5's two pairs. These tightly twisted wires have heavy-duty shielding to prevent crosstalk or interference. Cat 5e supports 1000BASE-T data transfer speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) at distances of up to 100 metres and has a 100 Hz maximum frequency. It is backwards compatible and works with 10/100 Mbps Ethernet. It is the most common type of cable found in wired networks.


4 Cat 6 Cable
Cat 6 Cable

The Cat 6 cable is suitable for high-capacity networks and supports Gigabit Ethernet requirements. It can handle frequencies of up to 250 MHz and 10/100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, and 10 Gbps data transfer rates. It comes in UTP and STP forms. Improved insulation reduces crosstalk even more than in Cat 5e cables. The maximum recommended cable length is 100 metres when used for data transfer rates of up to 1 Gbps, but this drops to 55 metres for 10 Gbps. Users may find it difficult to install this type of cable as it requires adapter pieces for optimum performance.Cat 6e cables perform better than standard Cat 6 in environments with high radio frequency interference or noise. Cat 6a cables can operate at frequencies of up to 750 MHz, are less susceptible to interference and crosstalk, and may replace HDMI in audio/video applications. Although Cat 6a cables are the preferred standard for 10 Gbps Ethernet applications, they are more expensive than Cat 5e, and most users do not need to use this type of cable for standard networks.


5 Cat 7 Cable
Cat 7 Cable

The Cat 7, or Class F, cable supports frequencies of up to 600 MHz and 10 Gbps data transfer rates over a full 100 metres. It has better crosstalk noise reduction in comparison to Cat 6. It is the largest and most expensive cable option available, but can handle all network traffic, as well as large local area networks. It is an S-STP cable that contains additional layers of insulation and shielding, making it thick, bulky, and difficult to bend. Users must ground the shielding layers for the cable to provide the expected level of performance, so they must employ the correct adapters during installation.

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