Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat6a

Even though Wi-Fi is all the rage these days, we still cannot deny the importance of ethernet cables. They are the backbone of any network. These cables offer consistent output with less interference. There are many ethernet cables available in the market these days and getting the right cable can be an overwhelming experience.


In this article, we talk about the progress of ethernet cables over the years and how each of the categories differs from others.


Category 5 Cables


Cat5 cable introduced Fast Ethernet. This was a common ethernet cable but now it has become outdated. These cables came with a decent speed of 100Mbps at a distance of up to 100 meters. No one uses these cables in this modern age but they were the star for quite some time in the past. They have become obsolete now.


Cat5e Cables


This is a modern version of category 5 cables.  The "e" stands for enhanced in its name. This cable has enhanced properties as compared to its predecessor cable. This cable was manufactured according to the latest standards. It has a design that reduces crosstalk. Cat5e comes with 1000Mbps speed. This cable is ideal for residential purposes and small businesses. It is good for Gigabit Ethernet applications.


Category 6 Cables


Category 6 cables have a sophisticated design and speed. Their internal structure consists of premium-quality wire and tightly twisted pairs that reduce crosstalk and interferences. Speed is one of the major benefits that come with Cat6 Cable. This cable offers 10 Gbps up to the 55-meter distance. These cables are ideal for shorter distances. The only drawback of this cable is that the internal wiring is tick. This feature makes the bending of the cable more difficult.


Cat6a Cables


This is one of the latest cables available in the market these days. Cat6a cable has ridiculous features and speed. The "a" stands for augmented in its name. Cat6a cable is similar to cat6 cable in most of the feature but some properties supersede the cat6. The speed of this cable is 10 Gbps over 100 meters. The transmission is also doubled as compared to the cat6. Since this cable is shielded most of the time, this is ideal for industrial usage.




Ethernet cables come in various jackets. Plenum, Riser, and PVC are some of them. All the ethernet cables are available in these jackets. Each of these jackets have their benefits and installation places.


Plenum – if an ethernet cable has a plenum-rated jacket, you can install it in the plenum spaces of your building. These places have regular air circulation that makes them dangerous in the event of a fire. Plenum jackets have a fire-retardant coating that burns slowly.


Riser – riser-rated cables are ideal for non-plenum places. For example, if you are using Cat6a Riser in your building, you can install it in an elevator and between the walls. This jacket is ideal for vertical installation.


PVC – polyvinyl chloride jackets are ideal for outdoor installations. It is because PVC jackets can survive in extreme weather and temperatures.


If you are looking to buy a premium-quality ethernet cable of any category, you can order them from NewYork Cables. We carry a wide range of cables like Cat6, Cat6a Plenum, and Cat6a Riser. With market competitive pricing, you’ll also get free shipping.