Different Ethernet Cables



Ethernet cables are not all created equal. You must choose the PoE cabling for your workplace or a client with great thought for the finest results. 

Choosing the right PoE cabling is crucial for performance, safety, and financial responsibility. You should not take this assignment lightly.

Don’t worry about choosing something without doing your research. To help you choose the best cabling for the task, we have all the information you need set out for you.

Ethernet Cables and Cable Type Differences

Category 3

Although Cat3 cable is an older type of Ethernet, it is still used in certain older installations. This kind of Ethernet can still be utilized with two-line telephone systems and 10BASE-T networks since it can handle a maximum frequency of 16 MHz. CAT3 cable can also be utilized in similar situations, such as installing alarm systems. There are three or four copper pairs in CAT3 cable (though uncommon). However, because it can accommodate greater speeds and frequencies, category 5e cable has become the preferred Ethernet category.

Category 5

Cat5 Ethernet, often known as Fast Ethernet, introduced 10/100 Mbps Ethernet at lengths of up to 100 meters. While some older deployments still utilize CAT5 cable, it has since been superseded by Cat5e and is now regarded as outdated.

100 Mbps/100 m.

Category 5e

Despite the physical similarities between Cat5 and Cat5e cables, Category 5e Ethernet complies to stricter IEEE regulations. The letter “E” stands for enhanced, which refers to a version with less noise and less chance of crosstalk. Interference that spreads from nearby cables is referred to as crosstalk.

Category 6

Up to 10 Gbps and frequencies of up to 250 MHz can be supported with cat6 wire. Cat6 cables are more tightly wrapped and have two or more twists per centimeter, compared to Cat5e cables, which have 1.5–2 twists per cm. (The twists per centimeter vary depending on the cable manufacturer.)

Sheaths on Cat6 cables are likewise thicker than on Cat5e wires. While CAT6 cable can transport data at 10 Gbps rates over distances of up to 55 meters (depending on crosstalk), conventional Ethernet can transmit data over distances of up to 100 meters. Its thicker sheath guards against alien crosstalk and near end crosstalk (NEXT) (AXT).

Despite the greater performance rates offered by Cat6 and Cat6a cable, many LANs continue to use CAT5e due to its affordability and ability to sustain Gigabit speeds.

Category 6A

Cat6a can support 10Gbps like its predecessor and has twice the bandwidth frequencies (500 MHz) of Cat6 cable. However, Cat6a cable can enable 10 Gigabit Ethernet at 100 meters, unlike Cat6 cabling. Contrarily, cat6 cabling can send data at the same speeds up to 37 meters away.

Additionally, Cat6a has more durable sheathing that reduces alien crosstalk (AXT) and increases the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). “A” stands for enhanced. Because of the stronger sheathing,

Cat6a cabling is significantly thicker than Cat6 and less flexible to work with, making it more appropriate for industrial settings at a cheaper cost.

NOTE: 10 Gbps/100m at 250-500 MHz.

Category 7

Although lab tests have successfully demonstrated Cat7’s capacity to transmit up to 40 Gbps at 50 meters and even 100 Gbps at 15 meters, it can also support 10 Gbps. Frequencies up to 600 Mhz can be supported using the more recent “Class F” cabling. Nevertheless, the Cat7 cable standard for telecommunications has not received approval.

Compared to earlier generations of cable, Cat7 is relatively strong and features considerable shielding to prevent signal loss. With an extra layer of shielding covering the whole wire, each pair is protected separately. To fully utilize Cat7’s higher performance characteristics, the shielding must be grounded and special GigaGate45 (GG45) connections are necessary.

Overall, Cat6a may perform almost as well as Cat7 while costing less. Both Cat6a STP and Cat6a FTP offer protection against foreign crosstalk and interference around high voltage lines, and most of our AV and IP surveillance clients choose them.

Large business networks and data centers can both benefit from the deployment of Cat7.

Note: 40Gbps at 50m/100Gbps at 15m (600Mhz/10Gbps/100M).

Category 8

Cat8 cable is still in development and has not yet received approval. It will be able to support 25GB and 40Gb Ethernet, per the 2016 Ethernet Alliance Roadmap. Cat8 will support even faster transmission rates at up to 30 meter distances.

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Why are copper pair twists intentional?

Alexander Graham Bell, a.k.a. the father of the telephone, was the first to twist copper pairs to lessen crosstalk between the lines when telephone cables were originally installed next to power lines. The copper wire was twisted every three to four utility poles, which helped to extend its range and lessen electromagnetic interference. The similar method was used with Ethernet copper cables to lessen crosstalk (XT) between internal and exterior wires (AXT).

Unshielded (UTP) vs. Shielded (FTP)

Both shielded and unshielded variants of twisted pair copper are available. To lessen noise interference, shielded copper cable has a protective conductive coating made of copper tape, braided copper strands, or conductive polymer. Unshielded Twisted Pair, also known as UTP, has no shielding and is the best option for most LAN environments. Twisted copper pairs with shielding are only used in high-frequency networking situations.

Shielded copper pairs come in a variety of varieties. All four data pairings may potentially be enveloped by sheathing. The sheathing can wrap around twisted pairs. A shielded “code” has two parts. The first letter designates the kind of shield used to encase each of an Ethernet cable’s four twisted pairs. Unshielded cables are identified with a (U), foil-shielded cables with a (F), and braided-shielded cables with a (S). The second part of the code indicates whether or not a twisted pair has been foiled (F) or unfoiled (U). Twisted Pair is the abbreviation.

Types of Shielded Ethernet Cables

1. Foiled/Unshielded Twisted Pair (F/UTP)

This cable, which is frequently used in Fast Ethernet deployments, has an unshielded twisted pair core and a foil shield wrapped around it.

2. Braided shielding/unshielded twisted pair, or S/UTP

Unshielded twisted pairs will be encased in a braided shield by this cable.

3. Braided Shielding + Foil + Unshielded Twisted Pairs (SF/UTP)

This cable encloses unshielded twisted pairs by braiding a shield around a foil wrap.

4. Braided Shielding/Foiled Twisted Pair, or S/FTP

A braided shield encircles the four copper pairs in this cable. Each twisted pair is also foil-wrapped.

5. Pair of F/FTP-Foiled Twisted Foils

All copper pairs in this cable are covered with foil. Each twisted pair is also foil-wrapped.

6. Unshielded/Foiled Twisted Pairs (U/FTP)

This cable merely uses foil to cover the twisted pairs.

7. Unshielded/unshielded-twisted pair (U/UTP)

The sheathing is not applied. U/UTP cables include common Cat5e cables.

Cable Styles

Ultra-Slim and Thin Cables

A regular Cat6 cable has a diameter of 30–50% larger than that of slim and ultra-slim cables. The four-pair stranded cable, made of thin gauge copper wire and, improves airflow in packed equipment racks keeps components cool and in good working order. Thanks to the thin form, the cable is lighter and simpler to install in ducts, cable trays, and high-density racks.

Flat Cables

Flat cables are an uncommon option, but they have a few unique qualities that make them useful in specific situations. Flat cables more uniformly distribute physical stresses on the cable and offer efficient heat dissipation. Additionally, they only bend across the wide faces, as opposed to a traditional circular wire that bends in all directions.

A flat cable is a great solution if you need to transport an Ethernet patch connection in your laptop bag. It is sturdy, lightweight, and difficult to tangle. Its flat design makes it perfect for cable runs under baseboards and beneath the carpet.

Spiral Cables

Both stranded and solid wire forms for network cables are available. A 4-pair cable will contain a total of 8 solid copper wires because, as the name implies, solid core cables employ one solid copper wire for each conductor. Solid conductor wire is simple to punch down, making it perfect for structured wiring applications.

Choose stranded cable if a cable will frequently be bent or connected and disconnected. Use solid core cable for Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) and outdoor applications or horizontal cable lines that aren’t prone to frequent movement.

Solid Core Cables

Both stranded and solid wire network cables are readily accessible. As a solid core cable uses one solid copper wire for each conductor, as the name suggests, a 4-pair cable will contain a total of 8 solid copper wires. The simplicity of punching down solid conductor wire makes it perfect for structured wiring applications.

Select stranded cable when a cable is frequently bent or connected and detached. Use solid core cable for horizontal cable lines that won’t move often, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), and outdoor applications.

Armored Cable

Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a kind of polyurethane renowned for its strength, flexibility (even in low temperatures), and cut/abrasion resistance, is used to create the outer jacket of an armored cable. Armored cable is advised for outdoor applications and any situation where the wire could be cut or crushed.

Crossover Cable

T568A and T568B are two wiring standards used with RJ45 connectors. The pin distribution for the green and orange combinations differs.T568A pin-outs are the most often used however, any will work so long as both ends of the cable are identically connected. The T568A standard must be used for networks established under a federal contract, according to the US government.

“Crossover” cables have T568A wiring on one end and T568B wire on the other. A crossover cable may be distinguished by examining the placement of the wires on either end. It is a “straight-through” cable if the wires are the same on both ends (independent of the pin design). It is a crossover cable if they vary.

Nowadays, most Ethernet switches and routers include a function called auto-MDIX that can determine if a port or cable is connected in a crossover or straight-through fashion and swap the transmit and receive pins appropriately, eliminating the need for crossover wiring.

The Best Methods for Choosing PoE Cabling

We’ll start by outlining 5 methods you may be sure you’re spending money on for the best ethernet cables.

1. Check the Casing for UL Markings

One of the things you should look for as a quality indicator is the typical UL markings.

A multinational, independent safety science firm is called Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Testing, inspection, certification, auditing, and validation are their main areas of interest as a non-profit. The general welfare is their aim. They collaborate with a variety of businesses to create standards that guarantee suppliers follow industry best practices.

How can you determine if their standards have been strictly adhered to then? To find the following badges, look.

The buyer is informed by the UL mark that the product has gone through the required testing and passed them. Testing is conducted across all of Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.Consider and memorize them carefully since some pirates could try to imitate the mark. To examine valid versions of the badges, visit the UL website.

2. Verify if it is Plenum-Rated.

Plenum-rating is another aspect to look for in a cable.

It shouldn’t be surprising that oxygen may make fires more dangerous. Any cable put in air handling areas must follow a particular low-flame, low-smoke insulating method, as indicated by Plenum-Rated Ethernet Cables.

It effectively acts as a fire-retardant coating that significantly lowers risks by preventing air from coming into touch with a cable’s heated inside and igniting it.

Additionally, when burned, the plenum-rated wires will produce far less harmful smoke. A plenum will thus be required if your installation is in a place where there is a significant concentration of human employees and there is an emergency.

3. Make sure it’s pure copper or aluminum with a copper coating.

It’s crucial to thoroughly consider the costs and advantages before making a decision, as is the case with many cost-saving strategies.

Using copper-clad (or dipped) aluminum wires rather than pure copper wires is one-way manufacturers frequently reduce costs when making the cable. This results in a decrease in quality, as you could anticipate.

You might not anticipate the extent of that loss. According to one source, transmissions carried over copper-clad aluminum are only 60–68% as efficient as those sent through copper cables.

Even worse, the less expensive wires may overheat when carrying a heavy load. This issue could emerge from something as straightforward as a number of LED lights connected to a main wire.

Lastly, aluminum wires need to be changed more frequently than their pure copper counterparts since they are more likely to break down over time.

4. Inquire about TIA and IEC Standards.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has released a set of guidelines for telecom goods and services in commercial buildings.

These standards, which are developed through committee collaboration, ensure that any new product development follows the most recent research. Engineers that participate extensively in this project concentrate on structured cabling.

Structured cabling standards, as you might have guessed, are specifications for how a building should be wired.

Most of these structure recommendations use 100-ohm twisted-pair cabling (Cat5e and Cat6); hence, the cable must be strong and of good quality.

By the way, the average cabling system lasts for around 16 years. Investing in high-quality cabling can help your clients save a lot of money over time.

The IEC has proposed another significant standard to consider (International Electrotechnical Commission). The ISO/IEC/IEEE 8802-3:2014 joint effort to safeguard consumers includes the IEC.

These specifications aim to enable network functioning at speeds between 1 Mbps and 100 Gbps. When developing a product, look for manufacturer literature that supports these criteria.

5. Watch where you buy.

With one exception, you can get cables almost everywhere once you know what to look for. Always keep the manufacturer’s name in mind.

Although UL provides service to Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, you should use caution when purchasing. Something is likely to be real if it seems iffy or too good to be true.

Spending more money upfront on high-quality cable is preferable to paying more money later to repair unnecessary fire damage.

Everything must be done the first time correctly because of the financial expenditures your clients have made and the time and effort it takes to build Ethernet Cable networks.

It’s never a smart idea to skimp on cable installs since, despite your best efforts, things might still go wrong.

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More sophisticated wires are required to take control when our home networks go from Mbps ethernet to Gbps, enabling greater network speed. To maximize network performance, it is advised that you utilize the most modern Ethernet cable types. To make sure that the connection is well understood, perhaps there is an Ethernet cable guide accessible.

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