What Type of Cable?
Most computers are currently linked at Gigabit Ethernet speeds and have been for several years. IEEE 802.3, a 10GBASE-T standard, continues to drive demand for higher performance. In order to achieve 10,000 Mb/s, a higher category of cable is required. The question is, what type of cable should I use? Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6A, or Cat7?
How long will you occupy the building?
What applications and devices will you be using and what are their requirements?
Do you need a warranty to protect your investment?
Typically, network cabling represents 2-3% of the overall network budget. The infrastructure is expected to perform for 10+ years and support 2-3 generations of active electronics. Network infrastructure installation is the most difficult and labor intensive part of the network to replace. Choosing the best solution for your needs saves time and money in the long run.
Cable Types and Speeds
When selecting the appropriate category of cable to support your network, note that there are different grades within each category. A higher grade cable with the proper installation will allow for a higher margin of error, ensuring top performance today and an extra buffer to support future technology.
Properly selecting Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6A, Cat7 or Cat7A solutions will optimally support current and future network speed requirements.
Cat5 supports speeds up to 100Mb/s (100 MHz)
Cat5e supports speeds up to a Gigabit Ethernet (1,000Mb/s) (100 MHz)
Cat6 supports speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet and can be achieved with distance of 37-55 meters or less depending on the grade of the cable and quality of installation. (1,000Mb/s) (250 MHz)
Cat6A supports speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet with distance up to 100 meters (10,000 Mb/s)(500 MHz)
Cat7 & Cat7A support speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet with distance up to 100 meters (10,000 Mb/s)(1000 Mhz)
Cat5 - Cat5 cable is out dated. Do not install this.
Cat5e - Cat5e cable is suitable for Gigabit speeds and networks that change frequently. If the network changes frequently or is temporary in nature, Cat5e may be the optimal selection.
Cat6 - Cat6 cable is optimal for extra margin and higher performance. Cat6 cable will support gigabit ethernet, but will only support 10 Gigabit Ethernet if the total length and loss is low enough. If a project requires a 10 Gigabit Ethernet connection, Cat6A or higher is recommended.
Cat6A - Cat6A cable will support speeds up to 10 Gigabit. If a project requires a single installation solution to support the facility and is inteded to stand the test of time, Cat6A will protect the investment and serve as a reliable backbone for the company going into the future.
Cat7 & Cat7A - Cat7 cable will support 10 Gigabit Ethernet with plenty of margin to spare. Cat7 has pair-sharing capability, making it possible to use one cable to power several different devices at the same time utilizing each pair as needed. For the best and most versatile infrastructure Cat7 provides the solution.