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Four types of Ethernet data cables that you can use for your network

If you have happened to connect your computer to an Internet connection using cable, then there is a high probability you used one type of an Ethernet cable. These are standardised cables and ones that are uniquely designed to connect a device to a network or a router, as well as connecting a router to network interface card located inside a computer. Ethernet cables are mostly used to connect stationary computers to a local area network (LAN).

To an untrained individual, Ethernet cables may appear identical, but they are all different as they have different specifications. This article highlights the various categories of Ethernet cables to assist you in identifying which Ethernet cable is best for your cabling needs. 

Category 3

Ethernet cables that are categorised in this category are referred to as station wire or Cat3. Although this category of cables was developed many years ago, it is still today in various networks all over the world. It entails the use of UTP or unshielded twisted pair cables and has a capacity of transmitting 10 megabytes of voice or data per second. Additionally, it has a maximum bandwidth of 16 megahertz. It was mostly used to set up computer networks in the 1990s, but with the unveiling of the category 5 cables, it was rarely used in new networks.  

Category 5

Category 5 or Cat5 cables employed the use of UTP cables that had higher data transmission rate than the Cat3 cables. These cables can support data transmission speeds of up to 100 megabytes of voice or data per second, which is referred to as fast Ethernet. They are commonly used to transmit Ethernet data, video and signals. 

Category 6

Ethernet cables that are categorised here are significantly different from those in Cat5 due to transmission performance. This category employs technically enhanced Cat5 cables that have a high data transmission rate of 1 Gigabyte of data per second. It can also support a 250 megahertz bandwidth. They contain thinner transmission wires that are properly insulated to eliminate instances of crosstalk. These cables can employ the use of both UPT and shielded twisted pair forms of cables. It is best applied in environments that experience high electromagnetic noise. 

Category 7

Ethernet cables categorised in this group employ screened and shielded twisted pair cables. This provides an advanced level of noise cancellation in the cables, thus better data transmission. This category of Ethernet cables can support high data transmission rate of up to 10 Gigabytes of data per second as well as support a maximum bandwidth of approximately 600 megahertz. To improve its efficiency and performance, each shielded layer must be grounded, and the correct connectors used at both ends of the cable.