When you are looking to get a new Ethernet cable, you must have noticed a variety of standards of Ethernet cables. you must have come across some terms which you do not understand what it means. these standards include cat5, cat6, cat7, and their multiple sub-categories.
The latest one is cat 7, which is priced slightly higher than the older ones. Here I shall discuss the difference between Cat6 and Cat7, and what Ethernet cable should you use in your home.
Cat6 Vs Cat7
There are many different varieties of Ethernet cables. As of writing, you will be able to find Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat7 cables when you look for Ethernet cables online or in your local shops. But how do these differ, and what cables should you buy?
What Does Cat Mean?
Cat is an abbreviation for Category. The Category of a cable is an indication of its specifications, with each category having different stats and speeds. However, each higher category is backward compatible, meaning Cat7 cables are compatible with Cat6 and Cat 5e.
The a in Cat6a and Cat7a stands for augmented, which denotes the higher standard or improvement over the previous generations.
What Is The Difference Between Cat6 And Cat7?
The primary difference between the two categories is the speed of transmission and the distance at which the cable can transmit. Cat5e was a minor upgrade over Cat5, while Cat6a overcame the bandwidth allocation cap and transmission distance cap that came with the Cat6 cables.
Cat7 is the latest standard, which is a minor upgrade over the cat6a. The transmission distance at full speed is 15 meters, which makes it especially useful in office and home set up for running multiple devices in proximity.
Cat8 and Cat8.1 are not widely popular, mainly due to the fact that it is not backward compatible with Cat7 and Cat7a. Therefore, it is mainly reserved for testing standards at data rates higher than 10 GBPS.
Here is a tabulated comparison of all the different categories of Ethernet cables available:
|Categories||Maximum Speed||Maximum Bandwidth||Transmission Distance|
|1 GBPS||100 MHz||100 metres|
|Cat5e||1 GBPS||100 MHz||100 metres|
|Cat6||10 GBPS||250 MHz||55 meters, after which speed drops to 1 GBPS|
|Cat6a||10 GBPS||500 MHz||100 metres|
|Cat7||100 GBPS||1000 MHz||15 meters, after which speed drops to 10 GBPS|
|Cat7a||100 GBPS||1000 MHz||50 meters, after which speed drops to 10 GBPS|
Each newer category comes with a price bump over the previous generation. cat7 is the costliest Ethernet cable that you can buy right now, however, it’s not a huge bump over Cat6a cables. make sure to check the specification and the concurrent price before buying.
What Ethernet Cable Should I Use?
if you are looking to upgrade your home or office setup, future-proofing yourself might be a smart idea. Although, do keep in mind the specifications of your network setup and make sure to tally it with the tabulated information presented above, before you go out to buy cables. comment below if you found this useful, and to discuss further the same.