Structured Cabling, Progressive Office Cabling
Written by Stu Kushner

Comparing the Cats From 5e to 8 – Part 1

Ethernet cables are an essential component of LAN networks. They link the devices utilized by a network. Within a network. There are several categories of Ethernet cables. Each class has features concerning the speed and distance they can effectively transmit signals. The following will compare the Ethernet cables, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat7, and Cat8.



An upgrade of the Cat5 standard, the “e” of Cat5e stands for “enhanced.” Both can transmit data over networks, but Cat5e’s advancements gave it better technical capabilities for handling EMI (electromagnetic interference) and crosstalk.


Cat5e cables contain twisted pair cables featuring a maximum frequency of 100MHz. Cat5e lines can be utilized for transmitting video signals and telephony.


A Cat5e cable is capable of transmitting 100 Mbps over 100 meters. It is the least costly of the modern lines. However, Cat6’s pricing is falling, and the decreased savings may not be worth the slower performance of Cat5e.


Cat6 & Cat6a


The sixth generation of Ethernet cabling, Cat6, is used by home and business networks. It has become the typical cabling installed in offices.


Cat6 cables are backward compatible with the Cat5e and Cat5 standards that preceded this category. Supporting Ethernet data rates ranging to one gigabit per second, Cat6 lines can accommodate 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections for approximately 180 feet, a limited distance.


An upgrade of the Cat6 standard, the “a” of Cat6a stands for “augmented.” Cat6a can support data transmission rates of 10 Gigabit for 328 feet. Thicker and more robust, Cat6a costs more than Cat6. For new installations, the TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) standards recommend Cat6a cable for commercial buildings, education facilities, healthcare, and intelligent buildings.


The chief difference between Cat5e and Cat6 cables is their respective transmission performance. With a tighter twist and thicker gauge, Cat6 can better reduce electronic interference, such as crosstalk and EMI, than Cat5e, resulting in a superior signal-to-noise ratio.


Part 2 will discuss Cat7, Cat8, and Factors to Consider When Selecting Ethernet Cabling.


Progressive Office Cabling


Founded in 1986, Progressive Office’s success has resulted directly from years of commitment to seeking cost-effective solutions. Progressive teams are committed to installing and operating your data cabling, access control, and telecom systems while minimizing disruption and downtime. Call our toll-free number (800) 614-4560 today.

About Stu Kushner

Stu Kushner earned an Engineering Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. From there he worked at Boeing Commercial Aircraft, Hexcel Corporation and Case-Rixon as a computer design engineer and systems manager. He now works as the marketing director and project manager here at Progressive Office since its founding in 1986.