In this article we will discuss the different types of computer and telephone cables available. The specifically cables are Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a. These cables are also referred to as category cable, DATA cable, network cable, computer cable & structured cables.
Cat5e is an enhanced version of the obsolete Cat5. Like Cat5 , Cat5e is rated at the same 100 Mhz (up to 100 meters) & is backwards compatible. The Cat5e standard incorporates more stringent testing standards for crosstalk. In all, Cat5e has the same basic construction as Cat5, but because of the added crosstalk standards is able to support gigabit ethernet.
Cat6 performs better than Cat5e. This cable supports Gigabit Ethernet speed with a bandwidth of 250 Mhz. The general difference between Cat5e & Cat6 is in the transmission performance. Cat6 is also backward compatible with the slower data rates.
Cat6a is an augmented version of Cat6. It has a bandwidth of 500 Mhz and supports 10Gb ethernet up to 100 meters. The Cat6a standard incorporates alien cross talk (cross talk between cables) but this is generally warranted by the manufacturer and does not require field verification. When designing or installation a Cat6a system, you should choose a proven installer or contractor who has experience in designing the appropriately sized pathways due to the drastic increase is size and weight. Also, Cat6a should not be mixed with Cat6 or Cat5e in cable trays or pathways due to alien cross talk concerns.
If you’re a new customer and trying to decide which system you should have installed, you should consider things such as life-expectancy of the system (do you own or lease the space), bandwidth requirements for your applications, growth expectancy over the life of the system, and budget.