Cat 5 Cabling
CAT 5e with RJ 45 connectors Network Cable
Network cables, also known as Cat 5e twisted pair, connect PCs in a local area network, so they can share data and resources like printers, Internet access, file servers etc.
Cat 6 Cabling
Cat 6 (Category - 6 ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1) is a cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet and other network protocols, that is backward compatible with the Category 5e cable.
Cat 6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. The cable standard is suitable for 10BASE-T / 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet) and is expected to suit the 10000BASE-T (10Gigabit Ethernet) standards.
Cat 6 provides performance of up to 250 MHz. The cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs with a divide between them.
CAT 5e, CAT 6 & Cat 6a Compared
Cat 5e and Cat 6 are now here as ratified standards. We now recommend that where the budget is available a Cat 6 cabling system should be installed.
Cat 5e cable has a bandwidth capablee of 100 MHz Cat 5e cable can support transmissions up to Gigabit Ethernet using all four pairs of the cable. Traditionally network systems, with few notable exceptions, have been carried on only two of the available pairs. Cat 6 systems have a bandwidth of up to 250 MHz.
Why Cat 6?
With the fastest technology currently available on Copper systems being Gigabit Ethernet then with Cat 5e providing support for Gigabit Ethernet the question is often asked - "Why do we need Cat 6 then?"
The answer is that the improved performance of a Cat 6 system could support Gigabit Ethernet transmission using only 2 pairs of the cable. This is likely to may make Gigabit interfaces cheaper when running on Cat 6 systems although the cost of Gigabit Ethernet interfaces to run on Cat 5e has already reduced considerably.
If you are looking for the ultimate solution then new to the market is Cat 6a or copper 10 as it is sometimes called which can riveal fibre solutions. This can support up to 10 gigabit Ethernet. This is a costly option but may be considered for linking switches which when compared to fiber networks may prove a more cost effective solution.