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  1. #1
    Member bk T's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Default Cat6 vs Cat5e cables

    For ordinary home use, does it really matter whether it's Cat6 or Cat5e?

    I never used any Cat 6 so, can't comment.

    Worthwhile to upgrade to Cat6?

    Your professional views, please.

  2. #2
    Silver Surfer blanco's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Cardiff, South Wales, UK

    Default Re: Cat6 vs Cat5e cables

    Both CAT5e and CAT6 can handle speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, or a Gigabit per second.
    The main difference between CAT5e and CAT6 cable lies within the bandwidth the cable
    can support for data transfer. CAT6 cables are designed for operating frequencies up to 250 MHz,
    compared to 100 Mhz for CAT5e.

  3. #3
    Silver Surfer blanco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Cardiff, South Wales, UK

    Default Re: Cat6 vs Cat5e cables

    This may help you decide:

    Cat 5e
    The “e” in Cat 5e stands for “enhanced.” There are no physical differences between Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables.
    However, manufacturers build Cat 5e cables under more stringent testing standards to eliminate unwanted
    signal transfers between communication channels (crosstalk). Cat 5e is currently the most commonly used
    cable, mainly due to its low production cost and support for speeds faster than Cat 5 cables.

    Cat 6
    Cat 6 cables support higher bandwidths than Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables. They’re tightly wound and usually
    outfitted with foil or braided shielding. Said shielding protects the twisted pairs of wires inside the Ethernet
    cable, which helps prevent crosstalk and noise interference. Cat 6 cables technically support speeds up to
    10Gbps for up to 55 meters. That speed comes with a price, however, as Cat 6 cables are more expensive
    than Cat 5 and Cat 5e variants.

    Cat 6a
    The “a” in Cat 6a stands for “augmented.” Cables based on this standard are a step up from Cat 6 versions
    by supporting twice the maximum bandwidth. They’re also capable of maintaining higher transmission
    speeds over longer cable lengths. Cat 6a cables come shielded, and their sheathing — which is thick enough
    to eliminate crosstalk — makes for a much denser, less flexible cable than Cat 6.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: Cat6 vs Cat5e cables

    bk T

    blanco I think answered all for you so nothing I can say really, apart from when I went Fibre a few weeks ago the tech installer said Cat6 is best for Fibre.
    I'm using Cat 5e at the mo and getting DLd and ULd speeds of 104.93 Mbps and 19.64 Mbps respectively.... 10 times faster then the ADSL2 I had.
    Good luck, best wishes. Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by kiotimak; 06-01-2021 at 11:35 AM.

  5. #5
    Computer "Specialist" Agent_24's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    64 Bitville

    Default Re: Cat6 vs Cat5e cables

    In a home environment I would say it is unlikely. For long cable runs reaching the length limit, Cat6 would be advisable, however. But for a few metres from your router to your desktop PC, there's no point.
    (Unless it's in a severely (electrically) noisy environment, in which case using shielded cables would be of more importance, to obtain maximum performance.)

    I upgraded my own LAN to Gigabit Ethernet a while ago, and swapping the cables made absolutely no difference. What DID make a difference was installing better network cards in a couple of my PCs. One especially had pretty poor performance with the onboard Realtek Gigabit chip. I think I had about 400Mbit throughput with it, or less. I installed an Intel PCI-E card instead and throughput rose to over 900Mbit. That was an older socket AM2 system.

    Performance will also depend on your OS configuration, software (like firewalls), drivers, etc.
    If you are unhappy with performance, I would check all those things first.

    With exception - if you've got some old cable that's been kicking around for years, it may have internal damage or dirty contacts that could result in lowered performance. In which case, either re-terminate it, or go ahead and buy a brand new Cat6 one.
    Non-system disk or disk error. Replace and strike any key when ready.

  6. #6
    amateur expert dugimodo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Default Re: Cat6 vs Cat5e cables

    Network standards typically specify a maximum length of 100M and allow for large bundles of cables to run together in a large network without issues.
    At home though where most people typically have 1 or 2 cables running together for much shorter runs of maybe 10-20M it is a lot less important and usually doesn't matter. One exception might be if you hope to continue using the cable at a higher speed than gigabit in the future.

    The old CAT5 standard does not support GigE and isn't available to buy anymore anyway but I mention it because I have a 10M length of it under the floor of my house that's been there since my network ran at 10mb/s. Because it's such a short run it has never needed replacing as my network got faster and has been happily doing GigE for many years now.
    So no I don't think it matters. On the other hand if there's not much price difference when you are buying a new cable then why not get the better one? might just last through 1 more standard than the CAT5e would.

    To be honest the last few cables I bought I never even checked what standard they were, just bought the length I wanted.
    Ryzen 2700X, 16Gb DDR4RAM, 512GB M.2 NVME SSD, MSI GTX1070

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