Key Factors to Differentiate Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8

  • Bandwidth: Normally, if a cable has a higher frequency of MHz, the transmission speed is more efficient.
  • Speed: The speed of transmission changes according to the category, which determines the effectiveness of the cable.
  • Crosstalk: The "bleeding" of signals between one cable into another due to "induction" will result in slow network transfer speeds, and even block the transfer of signals over the cable.
Category Max Transmission Speed (At 100 Meters) Max Bandwidth
Cat 5
10/100 Mbps
100 MHz
Cat 5e
1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps
100 MHz
Cat 6
1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps
250 MHz
Cat 6a
10000 Mbps / 10 Gbps
500 MHz
Cat 7
10000 Mbps / 10 Gbps
600 MHz
Cat 8
25 Gbps or 40Gbps
2000 MHz at 30 meters

Shielding Type of Ethernet Cables Plus Their Applications

Before knowing the shielding type of Ethernet cables, it is suggested to be familiar with the shielding code in advance.
"TP" stands for "Twisted Pair"
"U" stands for "Unshielded or Unscreened"
"F" stands for "Foil Shielding"
"S" stands for "Braided Shielding"
"A" stands for "Armour"
The shielding type of Ethernet cables and their applications are as follows:


Shielding Type
Suitable for high-speed network and high security transmission.
The low attenuation of internal signal making it nice for special environment of professional wiring.
Suited for network applications with transmission bandwidth less than 250MHz and no special performance requirements.
Designed to provide the assembly with greater protection from crosstalk from adjacent pairs and other cables, RFI and EMI.
Perfect opt for preventing rodent damage, also nice for explosion-proof wiring system.


Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8 Cable: Which to choose?

How to choose Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8 cable? The above focuses on the main factors that you need to consider when choosing the right Ethernet cable.

In terms of speed and bandwidth, the later version of network cable performs better than the former one, but one more important point you should keep in mind is that network cables support different speeds over different distances. Take Cat6 cable for example, the max transmission speed is 1 Gbps at 100 meters, while 10 Gbps at 37-55 meters. Cat6a Ethernet cable can reach 10 Gbps over a distance of up to 100 meters. So you can choose the suitable network cable according to the cabling length and network speed you need.

After taking these key factors into consideration, then you can pay more attention to the shielding type of Ethernet cables as well as their applications. In addition, the price might be a factor that you need to consider when choosing the right Ethernet cable. Cat6a can perform just about the same as Cat7 but at a lower price point, and Cat 8 cable is generally more expensive than the older versions like Cat 6, or even Cat 7.

How to Choose the Best Ethernet Cable?

When you are choosing the best Ethernet cables, you'll find buying an Ethernet cable isn't as easy as it used to be. The network cables may look the same but have major differences from categories to categories, cables to cables, and don't forget, from vendors to vendors. Rather than Cat5e cable being top of the line, you now have more options like Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat8 Ethernet cables.

How to choose the right Ethernet network cable can be a confusing feat, that is why we are here to help you. This article will offer you an Ethernet cable buying guide. Now, let's focus on some considerations on how to choose the best Ethernet cable.

How to Choose the Best Ethernet Cables: What to Look for?

Appropriate Ethernet cables will help to realize better connections. Aspects like network cable types, quality, performance, Ethernet cable price, and more will all affect the choice. The following are the main aspects that should be considered before buying your Ethernet cables.

Consider Ethernet Cable Speed and Compatibility — First & Foremost

To find the best LAN cable, you have to know the specs of what the cable is intended for. The network cable types you need are mostly determined by the speed of the Internet you are using. It would be a waste to purchase a 10Gbps Cat6a cable if you are not gonna use 10Gbps speed of the Internet to match it and take advantage of its full potential.

Check the table below to know the performance of these different network cable categories from Cat5 to Cat8 at a glance.

Good Ethernet Cable Craftsmanship Matters
Copper Conductor

Ethernet cable material, especially the copper conductor, will not only directly affect the Ethernet cable price, but also essentially influence the performance of the cable. Copper-clad aluminum wires & copper wires (including pure copper wire, oxygen-free copper wire, and bare copper wire) are available in the market.

Their biggest difference lies in the purity of copper, which determines the Ethernet cable quality. The purer the copper is, the less signal loss you will suffer. For less signal loss, you'd better choose oxygen-free copper wire with copper purity up to 99.95%. However, if you just wanna cost-saving wires, go with copper-clad aluminum wires.

The purity order of copper, also the order of the cable price, in descending is: oxygen-free copper wire > pure copper wire > bare copper wire > copper clad aluminum wire.

Copper Clad Aluminum Wire vs Oxygen-Free Copper Wire