The Ultimate Guide on How to Choose an Ethernet Cable

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Ethernet cables are so widely spread in our surroundings that we don’t know much about their variety and features that they offer. For instance, cat5e cables offer excellent value and are one of the most used network cables. But do you know what is the real bandwidth speed of this cable? Probably no, this is why you should get an in-depth idea about cat6 cables. What are their main salient features and how do they differ from each other? These are the most common question that comes in the mind of a common man. Unfortunately, not many people know much about bulk ethernet cables. if you are one of them then this article is for you. 

What Are Ethernet Cables? 

Ethernet cables as the name indicates are the network cables that are used to form a local area network within a specific premise such as a home or workplace. The cat6 cables follow the same old ethernet network standard and are used to carry data signals from one point to another. Back in the days, there were no such cables available for businesses to reach maximum speeds. 

As these cables were quite new and were also very expensive. With time, the wide availability of these network cables made them this popular. Today, almost every office and even residential property has some kind of ethernet cables installed. Apart from typical networking, cat5e cables are also used in the installation of the surveillance camera. Again, this shows how widely these cables are now being used.           

The Structure Of Ethernet Cables

Regardless of the type of cable, its structure has specific importance. It helps us ensure that we’ll be getting the promising speeds. Now coming back to the bulk ethernet cables, these cables have a simple and easy-to-understand structure. The outer part of these cables known as jackets is made out of PVC (for the most part). The PVC or polyvinyl chloride here is the material of the cat6 cable’s jacket. There are other jacketing options too that mainly include plenum and riser.

 These two names might sound a bit complicated to some but in reality, it’s not at all complicated. Let’s start with the plenum, it is designed for plenum spaces. Now, these are the spaces in commercial and residential buildings where the airflow usually remains high. Similarly, the riser is referred to as the rising space between two buildings. In such spaces, the riser jacketed cables are used.

The jacket of cat6a cables such as the ethernet ones only represents the outer structure of these cables. What about the internals? Well, the internals is also quite simple yet interesting. There are a total of four twisted pairs and eight wires. There is a separator in between these pairs that keeps the pairs at a certain distance from each other. It is known as a spline. Ripcord is an all-in-one coating on all pairs. It is removed to unhide all the four twisted pairs. All these pairs are tightly twisted so that they can offer stable performance. 

Common Terms You Should Know About Ethernet Cables:

Here are some of the common terms related to ethernet cables that you should know.

UTP

When you search for cat6a cables on the web, you’ll come across the term “UTP”. It stands for unshielded twisted pair. Now as discussed above, an ethernet cable has four twisted pairs. So, the cables which have these pairs in an unshielded form are known as UTP cables. It represents how the twisted cables are included inside the cable. 

F/UTP

The twisted pairs present inside every single Ethernet standard network cable reflect the performance of that particular cable. Initially, the UTP cables went quite good but not all businesses were happy with it. They wanted a more reliable cable option in terms of speed and efficiency. Then F/UTP cables were introduced. These cables had all the twisted cables foiled meaning that they had an additional protective layer on top of them. So, the term F/UTP means Foiled Unshielded Twisted Pair. 

AWG

AWG or American Wire Gauge, both terms represent the quality of the wire’s conductor. In simple words, we can say that the AWG is one defined standard that determines the quality of a particular ethernet wire. The lesser the wire gauge, the more enhanced would be the quality of the wire’s conductor. 

Gigabit Ethernet & Fast Ethernet 

These are two network application standards that are commonly referred to when we talk about the applications of network cables. The Gigabit Ethernet standard means the network wires that support data transfer speeds up to 1Gbps. Similarly, fast ethernet applications support transfer speeds up to 100 Mbps. 

Conclusion:

So, the bulk Ethernet cables have a ton of specifications that they offer. By going through even some of those technical aspects, you can get an idea about how these cat5e cables work in real life. In short, all the basic elements of these network cables have been briefly explained for the ease of everyone. 

Specification Cat5e Cat6 Cat6a
Cable Jacket Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum, Riser & PVC Plenum & Riser
Wire Gauge 24-AWG 23-AWG 23-AWG Highly Twisted
Frequencies 350 MHZ 550 MHZ 750 MHZ
Installation Temp 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C 0°C to 60°C
Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs 4 Twisted Pairs
Package Easy Pull Box Easy Pull Box Wood Spool
Colors Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow Black, Blue, White, Red, Green, Yellow
Standard Compliance ETL, FCC, CE, CSA, ISO/IES, RoHS FCC, CE, CSA, ISO/IES, RoHS ETL, FCC, CE, CSA, ISO/IES, RoHS

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