Multiple conductor cable ratings - CAT5, CAT5e and CAT6


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When loooking for a multiple conductor cable, you will find many different types - CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6 and etc. So how do you choose one suitable for your design?

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In general, CAT5 cable can support up to 100Mbps. CAT5e cable is an enhanced version of CAT5 and transmits data up to 1000Mbps. CAT6 cable can transmit at a faster speed (up to 10Gbps) and provides lower crosstalk and better signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).

Below is a general comparsion for reference.

  • CAT5 cable
    Data rate: Up to 100Mbps
    Frequency: Up to 100MHz
    Crosstalk performance: Potential risk in crosstalk
    Network application: 10Base-T, 100Base-T

  • CAT5e cable
    Enhanced version of CAT5 cable
    Data rate: Up to 1000Mbps
    Frequency: Up to 100MHz
    Crosstalk performance: Less crosstalk than CAT5
    Network application: 1000Base-T

  • CAT6 cable
    Data rate: Up to 10Gbps
    Frequency: Up to 250MHz
    Crosstalk performance: Better SNR
    Network application: 10GBASE-T