Tag Archives: Ethernet cable

Cat5e VS Cat6 VS Cat7 VS Cat6a: Which One to Choose?

In the era of information explosion, almost everyone can get access to the Internet, and almost everywhere is loaded with network and Ethernet cable. But you may be unaware of the fact that Ethernet cables, though look like the same, actually have different categories. Here, this post will focus on Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat6a vs Cat7. May it help with your choice in selecting the appropriate category of cable to support your network.

Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat7

Cat5e VS Cat6

As regard with Cat5e vs Vat6, both of them are twisted pair cables, performing the same job. They all have the same style RJ-45 plug, and it is capable of plugging into any Ethernet jack on a computer, router, or other similar devices. Despite all the similarities, they do have some differences as shown in the following chart:

Features/Categories Cat5e Cat6
Speed 1000Mbps 10 Gbps over 37-55 meters  of cable
Frequency 100MHz 250 MHz
Maximum Cable Length 100 meters 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short distances. For Gigabit Ethernet, 55 meters max
Standard Gauges in Conductors 24-26 AWG wire 22-24 AWG wire
Performance Cat6<Cat5e (interference or crosstalk) <Cat5 Lower crosstalk, return loss and insertion loss, higher signal-to-noise ratio

As we can see from the chart, Cat5e cable (Cat5 Enhanced) offers gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters, and can support 1000Mbps speeds at 100MHz. Cat6 can provide up to 10 gigabit speeds at 250MHz. Both Cat5e and Cat6 cable allow lengths up to 100 meters, but Cat6 has a lower max length (55 meters) when used for 10GBASE-T. The main difference between Cat5e vs Cat6 lies in the transmission performance. Cat6 has an internal separator that lowers interference or near end crosstalk (NEXT). It also improves equal level far end crosstalk (ELFEXT), return loss and insertion loss compared with Cat5e. As a result, Cat6 has a higher signal-to-noise ratio than Cat5e.

Cat6 VS Cat6a VS Cat7

Features/Categories

Cat6

Cat6a

Cat7

Speed

10 Gbps with a distance of 37-55 meters

10 Gigabit Ethernet with distance up to 100 meters

10 Gbps with distance up to 100 meters

Connector Type

RJ45

RJ45

GG45

Frequency

250 MHz

500 MHz

600 MHz

Performance

Cat6 (crosstalk) >Cat6a

Cat6>Cat6a (crosstalk) >Cat7

least amount of crosstalk

Standard

TIA/EIA recognition and standards

TIA/EIA recognition and standards

No TIA/EIA recognition

Best Use

households

households

multiple applications or offices

As is shown in this chart, Cat6 supports speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet and frequencies of up to 250 MHz, and can be achieved with the distance of 33-55 meters. Cat6a can support bandwidth frequencies of up to 500 MHz, twice the amount of Cat6 cable, and can also support 10Gbps like its predecessor. While Cat7 supports bandwidth frequencies of up to 600 MHz. It also supports 10GBASE-T Ethernet over the full 100 meters like Cat6a. Besides, it features improved crosstalk noise reduction compared to Cat6 and Cat6a. Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a are all equipped with RJ45 connectors but Cat7 requires special GigaGate45 (CG45) connectors. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) have set standards for wires and cabling, which help standardize installation and performance. At this time, Cat6 and Cat6a are recognized by TIA/EIA standards, but Cat7 is not. With respect to best application, Cat6 and Cat6a are suitable for home use. On the contrary, if you’re running multiple applications, or using it in a business environment, you’d better choose Cat7 cables because these can support multiple applications with fewer errors and less crosstalk.

Conclusion

This article reveals some comparisons between Cat5e vs Cat6, Cat6a vs Cat7, covering speed, frequency, performance, etc. They all have different features, performances and applications. So if you are considering installing Ether cable, be sure to take these factors into consideration, and opt for the one suited to your need most.

Related Article:  Running 10GBASE-T Over Cat6 vs Cat6a vs Cat7 Cabling?

Things You Should Know About Wireless Access Point

A wireless network access point (WAP or AP) is a hardware device or configured node on a local area network (LAN) that allows wireless capable devices and wired networks to connect through a wireless standard, including Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. A wireless access point acts as a hub of the traditional wired network, and a bridge connecting wired and wireless network. A network access point connects to a wired router, switch, or hub via an Ethernet cable, and projects a Wi-Fi signal to a designated area. Wireless access points may be used to provide network connectivity in office or family environments, covering dozens of meters to hundreds of meters. Most APs use IEEE 802.11 standards.

wireless-routers-function

Types of Network Access Point

Wireless access points can be divided into two types: Simplex AP and Extended AP.

A simplex AP functions as a wireless switch, only transmitting radio signal. When a simplex AP works, it transmits network signal through twisted-pair and converts electrical signal into radio signal after compiling, forming the coverage of Wi-Fi shared Internet access.

An extended AP, commonly known as a wireless router, is mainly applied to Internet access and wireless coverage. Through a wireless router, the share of Internet connection in home Wi-Fi sharing network, as well as wireless shared access of ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Loop) and community broadband can be realized. From security, an network access point is different from a wireless router, in that it does not have firewall functions, and will not protect your local network against threats from the Internet.

Difference Between Network Access Point and Wireless Router

From the appearance, they look almost the same and hard to tell, but they do have subtle differences. A simplex wireless AP usually has a wired RJ45 network port, a power interface, configuration port (USB port or configuration via WEB interface), and fewer indicator lights; while a wireless router has four more cable front-end ports. In addition to a WAN port for connecting higher-up network equipment, four LAN ports can be wired in the internal network, and a router has more indicator lights than AP.

wifi-router-vs-access-point

Functions of Network Access Point

AP plays the important role of relay, which amplifies the wireless signal between two wireless points, and enables remote clients to receive stronger wireless signal. For example, if an AP is put in place A, and there is a client in place C which is 120 meters away from place A, it can be seen that the signal from A to C has been weakened a lot. If an AP is put in place B (60 meters between A and C) as a relay, the signal of client in C will be effectively enhanced, and the transmission speed and stability can be ensured.

wireless network access point function

Another important function of AP is bridging, which is to connect two endpoints and achieve data transmission between two wireless AP. AP is also bridged to connect two wired LANs. For example, there is a wired LAN made up of 15 computers in place A, and wired LAN made up of 25 computers in place B, but the distance between A and B is very far, over 100 meters, and there is no possibility through wired connection, then how to connect the two LANs? AP is needed in both places a and place b to bridge them so that data transmission can be achieved.

The last function is “master-slave mode”, which can achieve one point to multipoint connection. “Master-slave mode” is widely used in the connection between wireless LAN and wired LAN. For example, place A is a wired LAN made up of 20 computers, place B is a wireless LAN made up of 15 computers, and B has a wireless router. If A wants to be connected to B, an AP is needed in A. Initiate the “master-slave mode” and connect AP to the router in A, so that all the computers in A can connect to B.

Summary

Most businesses and homes today rely greatly on the wireless access point (WAP) for data transmission and communication. Wireless access point does make our life more convenient. These devices avoid a mess of wired Ethernet cables like CAT5e, Cat6, etc. Besides, a company, family or school often have to install wired cables through walls and ceilings, while wireless network needs no cables, which contributes great mobility to users.

Related Article: Select Best Ethernet Cable (Cat5/5e/6/6a) for Your Network

Which Ethernet Cable Should You Choose?

Ethernet cable is one of the media transmitting signals to a home or business network place. Although the world is going wireless today, Ethernet cable is still used in many situations due to its advantages of fast speed, high reliability and security. But when you decide to buy the Ethernet cables, you will get confused about which category to choose. This article will discuss how to make your decision among these Ethernet cables like Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat7.

Ethernet Cables Types
Cat5 Cable

Cat5 cable can handle 10/100 Mbps speed (Fast Ethernet) at the bandwidth up to 100 MHz. Cat5 cable is the oldest of these three kinds of cables. Over the years, Cat5 cable was used majorly in networking especially when pairing older routers, switches and other myriad networking devices. Nowadays it’s not used for too many installations. But it can support gigabit speeds if the cable is shorter sometimes.

cat-5-cable

The letter “e” means “enhanced”. As the name says, Cat5e is an improvement on Cat5 cable. Currently it’s the most popular cable used in new installations. It’s designed to support 1000 Mbps or gigabit speed. It can also greatly reduce the crosstalk. The crosstalk is the interference existing sometimes between wires that are sealed inside a cable. With this feature, Cat5e can better keep signals on different circuits or channels from interfering with each other. In a word, Cat5e cable can provide a faster, more reliable and steady network than Cat5. And Cat5e is also compatible with Cat5 cable.

cat5e-cable

Cat6 is an improvement over Cat5e. It has more sophisticated constructure and can support the speed up to 10 gigabit and the bandwidth up to 550 MHz over long distances. Cat6 is a good choice for those who want to install future-proof network. But Cat6 cable is not very good for the applications at home. This kind of cable is recommended for large organizations which deal with pretty bulk files.

cat6

Cat7 cable is designed to be used in Gigabit Ethernet and can support bandwidth up to 600 MHz. It greatly improves the capacity and reliability of Cat6. Another big advantage of Cat7 is the shielding of its twisted pairs, which significantly improves noise resistance. Cat7 is thought as the most durable and has a longer lifespan than Cat 5 and Cat 6. It’s the best choice for future use. But it’s comparatively expensive.

cat7-cable

Which One Should You Choose?

First, you need to think about the question seriously how you like your current network speed. If you are satisfied with the current network speed, you don’t need to upgrade it. But if your hardware can handle 1 Gigabit and you are still using Cat5 cable, then you should better upgrade your Ethernet cables. You may choose Cat5e cable which is enough for your network needs. Or you can select Cat6 cable.

Second, you should know that network speed is not the same to internet speed. There is a chance that even though you upgrade your Ethernet cable, your internet speed won’t change too much. As it’s affected by many other factors. However, upgrading networking cables have a tremendous effect on file transfer speeds between computers. So to emphasize, when buying Ethernet cable, you should also consider your hardware compatibility.

Conclusion

From this article, you can find it’s not very hard to decide which kind of Ethernet cable to use. To make the right decision, it depends on your situations. Usually Cat5 or Cat5e cable is enough for home network use. If you transfer lots of data over your network, then you can upgrade your network cables from Cat5 to Cat5e or Cat6 to guarantee your network speed. But if you are satisfied with your current network speed, you don’t need to replace Cat5 with other cables. Of course, the cost is also an important factor. So if budget allows, Cat7 is a nice choice. At last, no matter what kind of cable, please notice that the Ethernet cable should be less than 100 meters in length to achieve higher efficiency.

How to Make Your Own Ethernet Cables?

Ethernet patch cables are indispensable for network. However, Ethernet patch cables are more expensive than bulk cables and the pre-terminated lengths are not always that you need. So it’s quite necessary to know how to wire Ethernet cable by yourself. This article will show you detailed steps of making your own Ethernet patch cable.

Materials You Need
Bulk Ethernet cable

Usually people will choose Cat5e cable. Cat5e cable is a little different from Cat5. It can handle data rate up to 1000Mbps. Cat5e is suitable for Gigabit Ethernet and experiences much lower levels of near-end crosstalk (NEXT) than Cat5. So in most applications, Cat5 has been superseded by Cat5e. Except Cat5e, you may also choose Cat6 cables which have better performance. Cat6 cable has twice the bandwidth of Cat5. It’s ideal for supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Select the cable type and then buy the lengths of the cable you need.

RJ45 Connectors for Cat5e or for Cat6

RJ45 connectors are often used for telephone and network. RJ45 connectors include a variety of types for Cat 5e or Cat6, such as shielded, strain relief boots, 2 prong or 3 prong, etc. Whatever, you need to select the one suitable for your application. FS.COM provides plenty of RJ45 connectors meeting a high standard of safety quality.

rj45-connectors

RJ-45 Crimping Tool

RJ45 crimping tool is designed to quickly, strip, crimp and cut the wires in an easy operation. FS.COM supplies various types of high quality crimping tools. With this kind of tool, you can get precise and reliable terminations every time.

fs-crimping-tool

Steps for Wiring Ethernet Cable
Step 1. Strip Outer Sheath

Use your stripper on your crimping tool to strip 1 inch (2.5 cm) sheath from the end of the cable. Insert the cable into the stripper portion of the crimping tool and squeeze it tight. When squeezed, rotate the crimping tool around the cable a full 360°. At last, pull away and the sheath will be stripped. If you break the internal twisted wires by accident, just cut the broken wire and strip again. So when you measure the cable length, you should better leave spare inches in case things happen like this.

Step 2. Untwist and Arrange Wire

After stripping the sheath, you can find 8 color-coded wires inside. Then you need to untwist the internal wires and arrange them into a proper wiring scheme for RJ45 connector. There are two kinds of color codes standards: T568A and T568B. The color order is important to get correct. No matter which standards you choose, you should arrange the color-coded wires in the same order on both sides. Here recommend you T568B color-coded wiring. The following are about pins and colors used in T568B standards.

Pin1—White/Orange
Pin2—Orange
Pin3—White/Green
Pin4—Blue.
Pin5—White/Blue
Pin6—Green.
Pin7—White/Brown
Pin8—Brown

Step 3. Insert the wire into RJ45 connector

Before insert the wire into RJ45 connector, you need to cut down the wire to fit in the connector. Bring the wires together and cut them down in an even line with the cutting tool on the crimping tool. Then insert the wires into the connector in the right order. Ensure each wire fits into each groove in the connector. The wires should be inserted until the sheathing is inside the connector, just beyond the crimp portion of the connector.

insert-wire-into-rj45

Step 4. Crimp

Put the connector into the crimping tool carefully until the connector can’t go in any further. Squeeze the crimping tool very tightly and release. Then squeeze the the crimping tool again to make sure that all of the pins are pushed down on the connector. When finishing crimping, check that if all pins are all crimped down. If the pins are all down, tug the connector slightly to make sure that it is securely attached to the wire.

crimp-rj45

Step 5. Test

Before installing the cable, you should better take a test with an Ethernet cable tester. If the Ethernet cable doesn’t work, look closely at each end and see if you can find the problem. Usually the problem is caused because a wire ends up in the wrong place or one of the wires makes no contact or poor contact. You should also check if the color is in the right order. If the color order is wrong, then cut the end off and start again.

Summary

Sure, you can buy Ethernet cables from the store directly. But if you need to make your own cable with special lengths, then you are lucky to read this article. Remember that the Ethernet cable should be no more than 100 meters or 328 feet. Because the cable performance will be influenced by the over length. For bulk cables, RJ45 connectors, crimping tools, and network testers, etc., you can get all from FS.COM. Hope you can make your own Ethernet cable successfully.

How to Distinguish T568A and T568B of RJ45 Ethernet Cable Wiring?

Ethernet cable can be easily found in our daily life. Ethernet cable is color-coded if you look at it carefully. Color-coded wiring sequences exist as a cabling industry standard. Thus, cabling technicians can save a lot of time of doing cable termination on both ends by following others’ work without guessing or deciphering the function and connections of each wire pair. This article will tell the T568A and T568B standards that the Ethernet cable jack wiring follows.

What Are T568A and T568B Standards?

RJ45 conductor data cable contains 4 pairs of wires. Each one consists of a solid colored wire and a strip of the same color. There are two wiring standards for RJ45 wiring: T568A and T568B. T568A and T568B are the two wiring standards for RJ45 connector data cable. T568A was specified by TIA/EIA-568-A wiring standards in 1995. Later it was replaced by the TIA/EIA 568-B standard in 2002 and has been updated since. Both standards define the T568A and T568B pin-outs for using unshielded twisted pair cable and RJ45 connectors for Ethernet connectivity. These two standards and pin-out specification appear to be related and interchangeable. But they still have differences and should not be used interchangeably.

t568a-and-t568b

RJ45 Color-Coded Scheme

RJ45 cables have 8 color-coded wires and the plugs have 8 pins and conductors. Eight wires are used as 4 pairs, each representing positive and negative polarity. The following figure shows pin and colors used in the T568A and T568B standards.

rj45

Straight-through and Cross-over Connections

The wiring standards T568A and T568B are used to create a cross-over cable (T568A on one end, and T568B on the other end), or a straight-through cable (T568B or T568A on both ends).

Straight-through cables are used to connect computers to a Ethernet switch. The RJ45 cable uses only 2-pairs of wires: orange (pins 1, 2) and green (pins 3, 6). Pins 4, 5 (blue) and 7, 8 (brown) are not used. Straight-through cable connects pin 1 to pin 1, pin 2 to pin 2, pin 3 to pin 3, and pin 6 to pin 6.

straight-through-cable

Cross-over cable is used to network two computers without a Ethernet switch (hub). Cross-over cable connects pin 1 to pin 3, pin 2 to pin 6, pin 3 to pin 1 and pin 6 to pin 2. This kind of cable is used to connect TX+ (transmit) to RX+ (receive), and TX- to RX-. The unused pins are generally connected straight-through in both straight-through and cross-over cables.

cross-over-cable

Which Standard Should You Choose?

Actually there is no electrical difference between the T568A and T568B wire sequences. So it’s hard to tell which one is inherently better. The difference between the two is the position of the orange and green wire pairs. It is preferable to wire to T568B standards if there is no pre-existing pattern used within a building.

In fact, both standards are acceptable in most cases. You can use either one as long as you’re consistent. T568B is the standard followed by the majority of Ethernet installations in the United States for RJ45 color code. It is the more common standard used when cabling for businesses. While T568A is the majority standard followed by European and Pacific countries. It is also used in all United States government installations. So when you face the selection, you may make the decision on the country you work in and what types of organizations you install for.

Conclusion

T568A and T568B are the two wiring standards for RJ45 connector data cable specified by TIA/EIA-568-A wiring standards document. Color-coding is part of the standards. If modifying the Ethernet cables improperly, signal loss of network connectivity can be caused. So please insure all connectors and cables are modified in accordance with standards when you do cable terminations.

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