Cat5E Ethernet cables are one of the most popular types of network cable for connecting computers, modems, routers and other wired internet capable devices. Cat5E cable (Cat5 Enhanced) offers significant performance improvements over standard Cat5 Cable, including up to 10 times faster speeds.
Cat5e cables are made of 4 pairs of twisted wire (8 total wires) that have a copper core with a colour coded insulation. The cores of Cat5e cable can be solid or stranded wire, solid core cables have a single copper core and are designed for use in permanent and semi-permanent installations over long distances. Stranded core cables have multiple strands of copper conductors twisted together, typically designed for patch cords to connect PC's and internet equipment over shorter distances.
Cat5e network cables are available with various types of shielding that suit many different installations. The shielding type is identified by specific abbreviations. These abbreviations are used to create an acronym of the shielding type a specific cable has. Below are the most common shielding types:
- UTP or U/UTP Unshielded Twisted Pair
- F/UTP Overall Foil Shield + Unshielded Twisted Pair
- U/FTP No Overall Shield + Each Pair Foil Shielded
- S/FTP Overall Braided Shield + Each Pair Foil Shielded
- SF/UTP Overall Foil and Braid Shield + Unshielded Twisted Pair
- F/FTP Overall Foil Shield + Each Pair Foil Shielded
What's the difference between Cat5 and Cat5e cable?
Cat5 cable and Cat5e cable have several differences, the most important are as follows:
- Network support - Cat5 cable will support 10/100 Ethernet. That is, Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. Cat5e cable will support 10/100/1000 Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet. Cat5e cable can be used in any application in which you would normally use Cat5 cable.
- Less crosstalk – Crosstalk is the electrical interference that results when one wire's signal affects another wire's signal. Cat5e cable has been improved over Cat5 cable in this respect, and crosstalk has been greatly reduced.
- Bandwidth - This is directly related to network support, in the sense that the bandwidth is the information-carrying capacity of a system. The greater the bandwidth, the greater the data carrying capacity in a given period of time. Cat5e cable is rated at 350 megahertz, and it is this increased bandwidth (compared to Cat5 cable) that allows it to support Gigabit Ethernet.