Cat - Cat5e - Cat6 - Whats the difference?


Will cat 5 run a Gigabit connection?

Is there any harm using a Cat 5 / e / 6 cable in a port that was intended for a differnet cat if you know what I mean?
 
fcekAsked:
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dpbohrCommented:
You need  CAT 5e or CAT 6 to run Gigabit ethernet.  You can use either, but just strait CAT 5 does not support Gigabit
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pnormsCommented:
The simple answer is max cable length (which you need not worry about as if you are asking this question im sure your not running a 100 meter plus cable which is which cat5 - the lowest will handle.
Cat5 was not designed for gig connections it does handle it, the standard is actually 1000BASE-T which requires Cat5 Min. You would be hard press to find cat5 cable anyway 5e cat 6 and cat6e is more common in stores now a days - unless to have it laying around.
But yes to can use Cat5, Cat6 and Cat7 cable interchangably for shortruns.
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pnormsCommented:
Cat5 is supported: take a look at this for all the info you need:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabit_Ethernet
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lewisgCommented:
It depends on what you mean by a "port".

If a "port" is a jack on a router/switch/hub/computer then it may limit speed but it's not a show stopper.

If a "port" is a the back of a jack where you are attempting to terminate cable then the wire gauge is different for cat5(e) and cat6. For good performance you need to use the same "cat" of cable and connectors within a system.
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fcekAuthor Commented:

Difference in cats - is it he amount of copper thats used in each?
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dpbohrCommented:
CAT 1 - 2 Twisted wire pairs - POTS Line (1 Mhz Frequency Limitation)
CAT 2 - 4 Twisted wire pairs - 4 Mbps (10 Mhz Frequency Limitation)
CAT 3 - 4 Twisted wire paris - 10 Mbps (16 Mhz Frequency Limitation)
CAT 4 - 4 Twisted wire pairs - Rated at 20 Mhz
CAT 5 - 4 Twisted wire paris - 100 Mbps  - Rated at 100 Mhz
CAT 5e - 4 Twisted wire pairs - 1000 Mbps, rated at 100 Mhz, capable of handling the disturbance on each pair that's caused by transmitting on all four pairs at the same time.
CAT 6 - 4 Twisted wire pairs - 1000 Mbps, Rated for 250 Mhz

Hope that helps
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pnormsCommented:
Difference in cats - is it he amount of copper thats used in each?

Yes, the size of the wire and quality of copper used which in turn allows for less resistance and thus longer runs / higher transmission rates.

For example:
Cat5e has a guage of 24 where as Cat6 has a guage of 23 which is LARGER, less the lower the guage number the larger the diameter. The thicker your wire the less resistence, additionally there is better sheilding the prevent interference on Cat6 and 5e as opposed to Cat5.
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fcekAuthor Commented:


Thanks for all the info.

So cat5e will do gigabit over say 30 meters?
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CompProbSolvCommented:
Just a minor correction to pnorms comment.

I believe that most Cat 5/5e/6 cables are unshielded.  Cat 6 has more twists per foot, providing less interaction between wires.
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pnormsCommented:
So cat5e will do gigabit over say 30 meters?

No problem as long as you have Gig devices on either end.
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fcekAuthor Commented:

Thanks everyone.

Last related question.  I ended up with a box of Cat5 :-(  

Should I use it on a 10/100 network that will only ever be a 10/100 and never giga.
No lenght will be greater than 20 Meters.
Will be approx 4 runs of <  20 Meters connected to a 10/100 router.
Thanks!


CAT 5 - 4 Twisted wire paris - 100 Mbps  - Rated at 100 Mhz
CAT 5e - 4 Twisted wire pairs - 1000 Mbps, rated at 100 Mhz, capable of handling the disturbance on each pair that's caused by transmitting on all four pairs at the same time.

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fcekAuthor Commented:

Hi can someone please call this .........

So Cat5 is the dog of the cats.

But.  I ended up with a box of Cat5 :-(  

Should I use it on a 10/100 network that will only ever be a 10/100 and never giga.
No lenght will be greater than 20 Meters.
Will be approx 4 runs of <  20 Meters connected to a 10/100 router.
Place has no great speed requirement.  Small emails. Few word / excel docs (but has slow wireless and it drops too often - owners dont want wireless anymore)
 

OR - Should I drop the CAT5 off at the local recycle centre and get CAT5e.  
The company has very little money and if I can use CAT5 it would be good.  


Thanks!
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pnormsCommented:
Cat 5 will do gig with your cable lengths nothing more to say, if you put 100m devices in they will operate at 100mps if you put gig devices in they will operate at 1 gig.
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fcekAuthor Commented:


Thanks everyone.  Thats crystal clear and I have a good understanding of CAT
Will award points now.
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fcekAuthor Commented:
Thanks again everyone.
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