If you are considering using the different twisted-pair copper cables to transmit data in the networks or other applications, it is more or less that you will repeatedly come across terms like Category 5, Category 5e, Category 6, or even Category 6e, the network Ethernet cable standard defined by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association
(TIA). Cat5 and Cat5e are two of the most popular network cables for most wired local area networks (LANs) today. Just in case you are not too familiar with this two copper wiring technology, I here would like to provide you with a few knowledge and tips in the way each media handled, network support, crosstalk and bandwidth of Cat5 network cables and Cat5e network cables, hope it will help you make better decision when choose the right one for you critical applications.
Cat5 is the fifth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology and the most commonly used network cables than any other category twisted pair cables. Cat5 cable contains four pairs of copper wires, just the same as Cat5e cables. Cat5 cable can support 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T network standards. Cat5 cable is available into two sub-types: unshielded twisted pair (UTP) and shielded twisted pair (S/FTP) measure of extra protection against interference, which is widely used in Europe.
Category 5 cable can be either solid type or stranded type: Solid cat5 cable is more rigid and supports longer length runs, the solid Cat5 cable is more used for fixed wiring configurations such as office buildings. While stranded Cat5 cable due to its flexible and pliable features, is most likely to be used as patch cables for shorter distance applications.
Cat5e stands for Category 5, enhanced cable which developed on the base of Cat5. Except that it fulfills higher standards of data transmission, it almost goes the same line with the basic Cat5. Cat5e supports networking at Gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-T), network running speed up to 1000 Mbps, Cat5e cable is completely backwards compatible with Cat5, and can be used in any
application in which you would normally use Cat5 cable. Category 5e is indeed improved the specifications of Category 5 by reducing some crosstalk from one cable to anther cables.
As with all other types of twisted pair EIA/TIA cabling, Cat5e cable runs are limited to a maximum recommended run length of 100m (328 feet). In normal practice it is limited to 90 m to allow for up to 5 m of Cat5e patch cable at each end.
As all the comparisons above, Cat5e runs a faster pushing data across network with the 350Mhz versus 100Mhz of Cat5, coupled with other more stringent specifications, Cat5e is ideal for networks which plan to operate at Gigabit Ethernet speeds. If you are creating a new network or upgrading an existing one, it is recommended that you go with Cat5e network cable, or newer cable technologies like CAT6 and CAT7, because although Cat5 is falling further and further behind ever-advancing cabling performance standards, while the small increase in price of Cat5e over Cat5 is more than made up for by “future proofing” your network’s cabling infrastructure.