Ethernet cable, commonly known as cat5e or cat 6 cable.
Cat 5e (“enhanced”), is designed to enable speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – or “Gigabit Ethernet” as it’s more commonly known.
In particular Cat5e is the most common kind of cable being sold. It is very much adequate for general use in the home.
All four pairs in the cable are used for gigabit speeds, the blue, orange, green and brown pairs.
Cat 6 can in theory handle up to 10 gigabits per section – that’s 10,000 Mbps – at a maximum of around 37 meters in length.
It is overkill for the home because you won’t find any consumer switches that support those speeds.
If you are building a new house and wanted something to connect each floor together with, perhaps consider Cat 6 for the sake
of future-proofing, but otherwise don’t go out of your way to buy Cat 6 cabling.
It is completely compatible with existing Cat 5e and Cat 5 devices.
Physically, Cat 6 cabling has more twists in each pair, and has a plastic separator spine
running through the center, reducing crosstalk and enabling the higher speeds.
Cat 6a a newer standard, designed to support 10 Gbps over the full 100 meter length – Complete overkill for domestic use
Ethernet cable Testing
For instance, the picture above shows a professional data tester, a Fluke DTX1800.
This is the respected piece of equipment by all professional installers,
you need to make sure your cabling is verified correctly.
In contrast to cheap amatuer testers, not only will this tester show the workings of the cabling,
it verifies it to the standards expected of its use.
Specifically you should always insist on your cabling being tested.
Insist on a full report to prove its good, it costs enough to get it installed.
Should you run the cable externally, use an external grade cable. The sheath of standard ethernet cable
is not designed for the harsh British weather. It will perish within a couple of years
Although amatuer installers will use something like this below, labelled as a data tester it proves nothing about your cabling.
It does not show any conditions on your cabling, no speed issues, no crosstalk problems, just flashing lights.
Flashing lights may prove continuity – pointless after what you’ve paid to get the cabling installed.
Mainly electricians and IT techs use this amateurish piece of kit, a trained professional would never rely on something so cheap.
Nor should you, if you’ve paid for a quality installation. Data installs should come with a minimum 15 year warranty.
Types of Ethernet cable
|UTP||Unshielded Twisted Pair||The UTP cable consists of pairs of wires twisted
together. This is one of the most basic methods used to
help prevent electromagnetic interference.
|STP/FTP|| Shielded Twisted or
Foiled Twisted Pair
|STP and FTP offer an additional layer of
protection with shielding (also called screening)
wrapped around the individual twisted wires.
This protects against EMI/FRI and crosstalk.
|S/UTP & F/UTP||Shielded/ Screened or
|This has an overall foil or braid screen
encasing the 4 pairs of unshielded twisted pairs.
|SFTP||Shielded and Foiled
| A combination of the two above, with foil shielding
around the individual twisted wires and an overall
screen which can sometimes be a flexible braid.This
provides the maximum level of protection from
interference and found in the highest performance cables.