CAT5 or Category 5 is a copper cable used in computer networks and cable TV. It is popularly used in Computer Network start Ethernet which is very popular in LAN computer networks. Cable standards like CAT5 are defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association simple EIA\TIA. The naming of the CAT5 comes from Category 5 because it is the 5th generation cable standard which is superior to previous generations and versions like CAT3, CAT4, etc.
CAT5 cables contain four copper pairs to transmit signals. Fast Ethernet is an Ethernet standard which is designed to provide 100 Mbps network speed in 100 meters. But the Fast Ethernet standard only uses two copper wire and other two copper wire is not used theoretically. In order to use free two copper wires and provides Gigabit Ethernet standard named CAT5e is created.
CAT5 cables can provide network speeds up to 1Gbps with the enhanced CAT5e standard cables. But in common CAT5 cable is designed to support Fast Ethernet or 100 Mbps transfer rates. 1Gbps can be calculated as 120 MBps or 120 Megabyte per second. On the other hand, 100 Mbps can be calculated as 12 MBps or 12 Megabyte per second theoretically.
Ethernet cables designed to work maximum at 100 meters range. CAT5 cable also provides the same range where the range is designed to 90 meters between the patch panel and wall jack and 10 meters between each jack and the attached device. Actually, longer ranges than 100 meters can work but it is not guaranteed to work properly. 100 meters range limit is designed to work properly but you can try a bit longer distances if you do not need a high level of reliability.
CAT5 cable has mainly two main types. These two types are named as
- `Solid CAT5` cable type is designed to support longer lengths and works better for fixed wired configurations like office buildings, data centers, etc.
- `Stranded CAT5` cable is designed to support short distance ranges and moving cables where the path of the cable can be changed over time regularly.
Alternatively, CAT5 has a subversion named CAT5e which is explained below in detail.
In order to connect CAT5 cables to the end and intermediate devices like computer, laptop, server, patch panel, switch, router, etc. we need connectors. Connectors are used to end a CAT5 cable two ends. CAT5 cable generally used in computer networks where
RJ45 is a very popular type of connector used with CAT5 cables.
CAT5e is updated standard for the CAT5.
e in CAT5e stands for enhanced where some usage and capability of the cable is enhanced without a major change. CAT5e is designed to support Gigabit Ethernet speed which is 1 Gbps for the same range which is 100 meters. In standard CAT5 there are 4 copper lines where only 2 of them is used. With CAT5e the 2 free copper lines also used to increase the bandwidth and performance of the cable. Because of the CAT5e uses more copper lines which means more signal in the same lines the tests of the CAT5e is stricter then CAT5 cables.
CAT5 vs CAT6
CAT5 is used for a lot of different installations but after some time with the advance of the computer networks and equipment, it became insufficient. CAT6 is designed to be superior to CAT5 in speed, range, consistency, etc. Here we will compare both cabling standards CAT5 vs CAT6 in general.
- CAT5 can supports 100Mbps by default but with the CAT5e standard, it can support 1 Gbps network speeds.
- CAT6 can support 10 Gbps network speeds by default without any extension.
- CAT5 cables work with a range of 100 meters for all speeds
- CAT6 cables can work in 55 meters for the 10Gbps speed
- CAT5 have a very little problem with signal interference and crosstalk
- CAT6 is superior to CAT5 with lesser signal interference and crosstalk
Both CAT5 and CAT6 provides excellent backward compatibility with older cable standards to work together
- CAT5 cables are priced very fairly or cheap
- CAT6 cables also priced fairly but %20 expensive then CAT5 cables