How to Choose Between Cat 5, Cat 5e and Cat 6 Cables

Cat 5 vs Cat 5e and Cat 6 – The Need For Speed

As the world of digital networks expands into a seemingly near-infinite size, more and more questions arise over how data is transmitted.  People often hear terms such as Cat 5 and Cat 5e and wonder, is there any difference between the two besides just a letter?

There is a difference but to explain it requires us to look back and with technology, it’s imperative to look forward.  It is much more important to understand the difference between Cat 5e and Cat 6.

Speed has always been and will probably always be the most important characteristic of a network.  As users and technology generate more data more quickly, it will continue to become increasingly necessary to push that data through a physical pipeline like a network cable.  A single second in time is no different today than at any point in history so it is more important to make each one count.  Time is a limited resource so pushing as much data as possible during that given second is essential to keep up with data generation.

Network cabling serves as the physical transmission mechanism of the ones-and-zeros that make up computer binary logic.  These are transmitting electrical pulses at a mind-boggling rate of speed.  Cat 5 can send 100 million of these signals in a single second.  This is where the terms 100 Mbps and 100MHz come into play.  Each bit (electrical pulse) is transmitted down the cable and the cables are designed to allow 100,000,000 of these each second.  For many, this speed has been adequate for quite some time.   The expansion to Cat 5e increased the speed to a billion bits per second (gigabit), thereby extending the useful life of this technology.

Technology does not slow down and the growth of content transmission (think YouTube, 4K television, online video games, etc.) requires tremendous amounts of data to be transmitted.  In an office or in a factory, terabytes of information can be generated in a short period of time.  To ensure fast, real-time transmission one must pack more on-off signals into that same second of time in the same type of cable as before.  This is where Cat 6 becomes critical to the growing infrastructure of data transmission.

Cat 6 is designed to allow many more on-off signals to transmit over the same period.  In fact, it can handle up to 10 billion bits per second – 100 times more than Cat 5.  One way to think of this difference is that, if running at top speed, a file that would take 100 seconds to transfer over Cat 5 cable would only take 1 second over a Cat 6.  More data over the same period creates an efficiency that can handle the requirements of the most advanced technologies.

MISUMI is the leader in Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling.  We offer cables that can withstand nearly any environment.  If you need cabling that goes into an air-conditioned office or in the hot dirty manufacturing environment, we have you covered with all the best brands and features to help you build your network.  Check out our website to find the cable that meets your needs.

Share this Story
Load More Related Articles
Load More By Carlicia Layosa
Load More In Featured Articles

4 Comments


  1. CATHERINE ZALDIVAR

    August 8, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    THANK YOU FOR THESE INFORMATION UPDATES, THEY ARE CONCISE, AND THE PERFECT LENGTH.

    Reply

  2. Luke

    August 15, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Interesting article, but in this day and age talking about Cat 6 seems a little bit old news. What about Cat 6a and Cat 7? They’ve been out for years.

    Cat 5 and 5e should really be retired tech as Cat 6 is so much better and only nominally more expensive. The discussion should be around Cat 6 vs the newer standards.

    Reply

    • Carlicia Layosa

      August 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Luke,

      Thanks for the feedback! We will definitely consider discussing Cat 6 in a future post!
      -Carlicia

      Reply

  3. Jennifer Truong

    December 3, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Such a great and perfect information provide about cat5 and cat6. Easily understandable with image.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Luke Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Check Also

How the Right Rollers Ensure a Better End Product

Welcome Meridian Laboratory to the MISUMI Mech Lab! ...

Get articles like this sent to your inbox every week:

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter @usa_misumi

Subscribe to our Channel

Follow @misumiusa on Instagram

  • We crushed it at ATX West! Thanks to everyone who stopped by the MISUMI booth and crushed a can in the Bev-Bot 🔥. Let’s continue the conversation, find out how you can configure to save time. Link in bio. #atxwest #80sextillion #configuredtosavetime
  • MISUMI is excited to be at #slas2020 in San Diego. Are you attending? Stop by for a quick Rapid Design demo, and learn how you can save 30% design time! @slas_org #80sextillion
  • Head instructor John explains the different methods of proper installation for accuracy in linear guides during Master Class in Chicago. #80Sextillion #configuredtohavefun
  • Excited to be at #Engineer3D! in MKE. We started the day by kicking off the keynote presentation (swipe for the boomerang). We’re enjoying talking to and getting to know all the Engineers! Are you in attendance? Stop by the MISUMI booth to learn more about Rapid Design and get some swag #EnginerdOnBoard #gsc3d #80Sextillion #solidworks
  • We got spirit! Excited for football this Sunday 🏈 #configuredtohavefun #80Sextillion
  • Excited for the new graphics #Timelapse #ConfiguredToSaveTime #80Sextillion
  • We are celebrating 10,000 YouTube subscribers! Want to join in? Subscribe and enjoy a great library of videos including Mech Minutes, the Engineer to Engineer technical series and more. Link in bio #80sextillion
  • The 2nd Annual MISUMI vs. MISUMI softball game was a success! Congrats to the Gold team for defending their title 🏆 #ConfiguredToHaveFun #80sextillion