Top Ethernet Cables for Structured Cabling: Cat5e or Cat6 or Cat6a?

  • Last modified: December 28, 2023

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There are plenty of ethernet cables out there that you can use to establish a structured cabling network. Such as the Cat5e and Cat6, to name a few. But do you know which ones are the best? Well, we assume you do not! Even if you do, we would give you a detailed look at the best ethernet cables for structured data cabling in this blog.

A structured cabling network is a complete set of infrastructure designed with the specific intention of accommodating as many devices as possible. Structured cabling systems are also designed to be highly efficient and easy to maintain.

In simple talk, a structured cabling network is a LAN that is set up professionally with a keen eye for detail. Now, without further ado, let’s find out which Ethernet Network Cables are the best for establishing one.

Ethernet Cables for Structured Cabling

Ethernet cables for structured cabling solutions are the same as for any other purpose. However, if you use reliable and long-lasting cables, it would make the right sense. The aim of structured networks is efficiency, reliability, adaptability, and high performance.

For instance, the Cat6a Ethernet Cable. It is a high-performance cable with fairly strong resistance against EMI and crosstalk. This ethernet network cable can be used to establish a high-performance structured cabling network that is easy to maintain and long-lasting.

Similarly, there are other ethernet cables that can be regarded as ‘Top’ depending on their features such as shielding, transmission speed, bandwidth, the material used in manufacturing, etc.

We will look at various top ethernet cables later, but first, let’s briefly discuss why a structured cabling system is important and what its benefits are.

Importance and Benefits of Structured Cabling

Structured cabling networks enable businesses and other infrastructures to carry out their data communication smoothly. The primary benefit of such networks is that you have a central control system and you can look after it without any hassle.

If anything goes wrong, you can identify the problem almost instantly and fix it without too much effort.

Moreover, you can always add new devices to your network without having to rewire the entire LAN in this kind of cabling system.

For business/commercial and residential networks, a structured LAN is the most reliable and efficient in the long run.

Qualities of Top Ethernet Cables

It is important to know the qualities that the Finest Ethernet cables possess. Because the differences between different cables and their variants are very minor. And you cannot differentiate between the good and the bad without having a good understanding of the qualities.


All ethernet cables on this list are twisted-pair cables. And the difference between the good and the not-so-good twisted pair cable is the number of twists per unit length. The greater the number of twists, the better the cable’s resistance against EMI and various kinds of crosstalks.


Not all ethernet cables are shielded. Some ethernet cables come with a metal foil or a wire mesh, or both, wrapped around the cable conductors that reflects or absorbs the incoming interference from other cables in the network.
This directly results in a better quality of signals and faster transmission speeds. Also, note that not all unshielded ethernet cables are bad. Some applications do not require shielded cables and for such applications, unshielded ones are perfectly fine.


How long an ethernet cable lasts is the ultimate testimony of its quality. Although mostly, ethernet cables last for a minimum of 10 years. But depending on the quality of the product, it can vary. So, its lifespan is an important factor that tells how good or bad an ethernet cable is.

Bare Copper Conductors

The conductor is the brain of the cable. If it is made from pure/bare copper, it is a good one. And if it is made from copper-clad aluminum, that’s not so good. Bare copper is a highly ductile and flexible conductor. It has a higher bend radius and more tolerance to heat – which makes it easy to install and safe for use.

Moreover, it offers excellent signal transmission quality without losing data packets.

Plenum-rated Jacket:

The jacket of the ethernet network cables plays two important roles. One, it protects the cable from extreme weather and environmental conditions, and two, it insulates the cable conductors from the atmosphere. Both roles are important and if the jacket is made from a communication multipurpose plenum, it ensures superior safety features.

Cat5e Ethernet Cable

Cat5e is the enhanced version of the category 5 ethernet cable. It features 24 AWG twisted pair conductors at its core. These conductors are more tightly twisted as compared to the previous Cat5 cable. Consequently, it provides a 100 MBit/s data transfer speed over 350 MHz bandwidth.

This data transfer speed of the cable is supported at 100 meters, but at up to 50 meters, it can reach up to a maximum of 1 GBit/s.

Cat5e Ethernet cable comes with three different types of jackets and two conductors. The jackets are plenum, riser, and PVC; the conductors are pure copper and copper-clad aluminum. Conductors of the Cat5e are further divided into solid and stranded versions.

The conductors of the Cat5e cable can be solid or stranded. Meaning, that the solid conductors are made from a single piece of metal whereas the stranded ones are made from multiple strands.

Solid conductors are better for long distances and stranded cables are better for short distances and indoor runs.

Pros and Cons

This cable comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Its affordability is one of its most prominent benefits. But with affordability comes a rather compromise in the features. Which are the cons of the cable: it does not support 10 Gigabit ethernet and only supports the gigabit ethernet at up to 50 meters.

Cat6 Ethernet Cable

Category 6 cable is the median cable for all kinds of ethernet networking applications. For structured cabling systems, this cable offers an ideal speed and bandwidth with impressive resistance against EMI and crosstalk.

Cat6 cable has a data transfer speed of up to 1GBit/s over 100 meters with a 550 MHz bandwidth. It can also transmit signals at up to 10 GBit/s over 50 meters.

It comes with either bare copper conductors or copper-clad aluminum conductors. These conductors are more tightly twisted as compared to the Cat5e cables which translates into much better resistance against interference and external noise.

Moreover, the Cat6 cable falls in the middle range, price-wise. It is not as expensive as the Cat6a and not as inexpensive as the Cat5e. This makes the cable well balanced in terms of price and specs.

In structured cable networks, Cat6 can be used for almost all kinds of ethernet applications including but not limited to 1000BASE-T, 10BASE-T, etc.

The cable is produced in solid and stranded conductors that can be either shielded or unshielded. Shielded solid cables are ideal for outdoors and shielded stranded ones are best utilized indoors.

However, if your structured network is not crowded with too many cables, the unshielded cables are perfectly fine as well.

Pros and Cons

The only con of the Cat6 cable is that it does not support 10-gigabit speeds over 100 meters. Which sort of limits how long you can run the cable. Its pros are many.
The cable can not only provide a fast and stable connection, but it is also affordable and easy to install. Comes in many variants, plenum, riser, and PVC with shielded or unshielded conductors. These specifications make it highly desirable for an ultimate networking experience in structured cabling systems.

Cat6a Ethernet Cable

6a is the augmented Category 6 cable of ethernet cables. It is truly a top cable for structured networking systems with a data transfer speed of up to 10 Gbit/s over 100 meters and a 750 MHz bandwidth.

The cable features a special wire separator, also known as a spline in between the conductor pairs. Its job is to keep the conductor pairs separate and thereby keep the interference at a minimum.

The spline, coupled with the tightly twisted conductor pairs of the cable, ensures minimum EMI and crosstalk. Although the cable is expensive compared to the previous two cables, Cat6a is still an affordable solution compared to some of the latest ethernet cables.

Pros and Cons

Cat6a cable supports all high-speed ethernet applications and it is backward compatible. Use it indoors or outdoors, it is designed for all purposes. However, the cable comes only with a plenum and a riser jacket. The conductor of the cable is only made from pure copper. These specifications limit the choices you can have. But the options that you have are the best on the market.

In any case, the Cat6a ethernet cable is designed for high-speed ethernet applications and comes at a rather affordable price. Since the materials used in its manufacturing are only the premium ones, it is bound to last a long time.

Moreover, this Cat6a plenum cable comes with a legendary 10-Year warranty (terms and conditions apply) making it virtually undamageable.

Why NewYork Cables?

NewYork Cables is the leading brand of cutting-edge networking cables and accessories. Our products not only meet but exceed the industry standards and we are offering free deliveries on orders above $299.99. Place your order now or contact us at for more info.

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
Max Sterling

Max Sterling, our Cat5e Ethernet maestro, distills networking complexities into accessible insights. With years of expertise, his blogs ensure your wired connections are as robust as they are reliable.

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