Your Guide to Ethernet Cables

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Your Guide to Ethernet Cables

Wired internet connections require Ethernet cables. These cables connect computers to modems, video game consoles to televisions, and routers to modems. When you are browsing for Ethernet cables, you may notice there are different types and categories of cables. Figure out which Ethernet cables suit your purposes before you purchase.


Ethernet Cable Categories

Categorised by numbers, Ethernet cables can be confusing. However, each category contains cables perfect for a specific use, and each category offers cables of different speeds and lengths. There are five commonly used types of Ethernet cables. Category 5 cables are useful for computers and telephones, and offer speeds of 10/100 Mbps. Since Category 5 cables are a bit outdated, most consumers use their successors, which are Category 5e cables. These cables use four different twisted cables to optimise speed, and they support 100 MHz bandwidth. Category 6 cables work much the same, but are even faster, with 250 MHz capabilities. These thinner cables reduce electromagnetic interference. Category 6a cables come in STP format, and they offer 500 MHz. The most extensive Ethernet cables which offer maximum speed are Category 7 cables, which support 10,000 Mbps and 600 MHz. They are thicker and more insulated than other cables. Purchase shorter cables for a stronger signal, such as 10 m cables; the longer the cable is, the more the signal degrades.


Solid or Stranded Ethernet Cables

There are two cable categories: solid cables, which are thick and made up of one solid product, and stranded cables, which use twisted strands of cord to create flexible cables suited to areas where the wires need to have some give. Solid cables are good for wall installation and spots where you do not have to move them. Each type of cable requires a special connector for proper and safe installation.


Ethernet Cable Connectors

Connecting Ethernet cables is not difficult, but it helps to have the proper connectors on hand. When you purchase your Ethernet cables, buy the corresponding connectors. Some cables come with connectors and some do not. Check to see which connectors you need, such as modular connectors or RJ-45 connectors, which are common. There are different connectors for home and business applications, and the Category 7 cables have their own connectors, which are different from other Ethernet cables.


Specialised Ethernet Cables

Not only will you see the categorised cables while you are browsing Ethernet cables, but you may see cables with other names, such as patch cables. Patch cables are special cables you use to connect different devices to each other, and another type of cable called a crossover cable connects similar devices. Crossover cables do not replace standard Ethernet cables, but you can use them to connect devices directly without the aid of a router.

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