Tuesday, July 13, 2010

CAT3 vs CAT4 vs CAT5 vs CAT5e vs CAT6

CAT3- contains 4 pairs of wires and can carry up to 10Mbps with a possible bandwidth of 16MHz. (UTP)

CAT4- contains 4 pairs of wires and can carry up to 16Mbps with a possible bandwidth of 20MHz. (UTP)

CAT5- contains 4 pairs of wires and cancarry up to 100Mbps with a possible bandwidth of100MHz. However there is more than one variety. There is also FastCAT which has a possible bandwidth of up to 350MHz. (UTP)

CAT5e- a higher grade of CAT5 that contains high-quality copper, offers a higher twist ratio (to eliminate cross-talk) and can support a bandwidth of 200MHz (2x that of REGULAR CAT5) (UTP)

CAT6- a twisted pair cable that contains 4 wire pairs each wrapped in foil insulation (to eliminate cross-talk). Additional foil covers the bundle of wires (to eliminate cross-talk further, and shield it from other interference ie. EMF from flourescent lights) and a fire-resistant plastic sheath covers the second foil layer. CAT6 supports at least six times the throughput of regular CAT5, but it is also 3-4x the price of CAT5. (STP)

UTP=Unshielded Twisted Pair
STP=Shielded Twisted Pair

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