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Evolution Of Ethernet Cables: Cat5e vs Cat6

Posted : 4-March-2024

Today’s world extensively uses Ethernet as the most prevalent local area network (LAN) technology. Ethernet cables are ubiquitous and can be found almost anywhere. The backbone of wired networks, these cables are essential for setting up a home or business network or connecting to the internet.

Cables in the technology sector have evolved tremendously over time, just like anything else. These cables are most typically used as network cables, even though they can be utilized for a variety of reasons.

In wired networks, people commonly use Plenum Ethernet cables like Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6 Ethernet cables to connect devices such as Ethernet switches, routers, and PCs in local area networks. The type of cord you can use makes a significant difference and it’s essential to choose the right one. Category 5e and category 6 both types are twisted pair cables.

Even though category 5e and category 6 cables look the same, they differ in many ways. This article examines these differences in detail, as well as everything else you need to know about these cables.

Category 5e Cable

The next generation of high-speed transmission is the Enhanced Cat 5e cable, often known as Category 5e cable. In 2001, the industry introduced an enhanced version of Category 5 cable known as Category 5e cable. It is now considered a standard requirement for any network as it represents the first cable to support data rates of 1 Gbps. These cables consist of 24-gauge twisted pair wires capable of carrying gigabit Ethernet for up to 328 feet.

Category 5e cables, rated at 100 MHz and tested at that frequency, indicate that the CPU can process up to 100 million commands per second. Category 5e is a high-speed upgrade to the legacy Category 5e cables that have been in operation for over two decades.

Cat 5e cable meets the requirements of various electronic devices used in homes, such as printers, PCs, smart TVs, and many others, which rely on network cables for their operation.

Specifications of Category 5e Cable

They are reasonably priced. A frequency of up to 100 MHz is possible. In contrast to Category 6, Category 5e does not use a “spline.” Cat 5e experiences less interference than Category 5, allowing a maximum cable length of 100 meters and supporting a top speed of 1000 Mbps.

Category 6 Cable

Category 6 Cable was introduced just a few years following the release of Category 5e. It is an Ethernet-specific twisted pair cable, backward compatible with Category 5e. Category 6 surpasses Category 5e in terms of performance, cross-talk, and interference. It can support Gigabit networks up to 55 meters and has a maximum length of 100 meters.

The theoretical Data Transfer Speed is 10 Gigabits per second (up to 55 meters). The purpose of the Cat6 bulk cable was to give end users a high-performance experience with a low signal-to-noise ratio. The best way to ensure that your wired network can seamlessly adapt to the future of networking is to use Category 6.

In recent years, remote working has grown in popularity, and the systems that enable it necessitate high internet speeds. These speeds are best achieved with Category 6 Ethernet cables. Category 6 is the ideal option if your company requires high-speed data transit.

Specifications of Cat 6 Cable:

They are reasonably priced. A frequency of up to 100 MHz is possible. In contrast to Category 6, Category 5 does not use a “spline.” Category 5 experiences less interference than Category 5e, allowing for a top speed of 1000 Mbps with a maximum cable length of 100 meters.

Difference Between Category 5e and Category 6 Cable

  • There are numerous distinctions between CAT5e and CAT6 cables, including performance, cable type, jacket type, and cost, to name a few.
  • Category 5 cables typically twist one and a half to two times per centimeter, whereas CAT6 cables have two or more twists per centimeter, making them more tightly wound.
  • Category 5 cables range in price from $0.20 to $0.30, depending on the manufacturer, however, category 6 cables are typically 20% more expensive than CAT5e cables, depending on the brand.
  • Category 6 cables are 10 percent to 20% more expensive than CAT5e cables in general.4. In general, CAT6 cables are 10% to 20% more expensive than CAT5e cables.5. Cat 6 cables have a tighter twist, allowing two-way communication on each pair of wires, but Cat5e does not.

Which Ethernet Cable is Best to Use and Where?

All the qualities and sizes of Ethernet cables are accessible for household and commercial use, whether it’s Category 5e or Category 6. If cost is the most important factor, and you don’t plan to run 10 Gigabit speeds, Category 5e is the way to go. Category 5E will be more than capable of satisfying any requirement you may have. In fact, for the next few years, the speeds provided by this type of cable are likely to be faster than those provided by your Internet connection. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Category 6 is the superior option for optimal performance.

Category 6 cable is the better option for PoE (Power over Ethernet), especially at longer distances. Category 6 is perfect for transferring large amounts of data, editing video, music, and pictures, displaying AutoCAD files in 3D, and other similar tasks. CAT6 will transport large amounts of data quickly and give more bandwidth.


Nowadays, a wide variety of high-speed data cables are available from many manufacturers due to the increasing demand; however, you must ensure that these will be helpful in your application. To connect to a modem or patch panel, Category 5e and Category 6 cables use the same connector. The cables use an RJ-45 plug.

In today’s market, both of these cables are popular choices. They both used eight wire conductors, twisted into four color-coded twisted pairs. Under ideal conditions, Cat6 cable can even provide some future proofing at shorter distances.

Cat5e cable has a somewhat longer transmission delay and bias than Cat6 and Cat6a bulk cables. As a result, Cat5e can give the impression of being slow. So, if you’re deciding between Cat5e and Cat6, Cat6 is the preferable option, especially if you want your network to be future-proof. Category 6 is the best option.