Home » What is Cat5 and Cat6 and What They Are Used For?

What is Cat5 and Cat6 and What They Are Used For?

If you are looking to transmit data between network applications, the major element you would need is an Ethernet Cable. They have been called by several names, such as LAN, and/or patch cable. There are several variations in the way that these cables transmit data. 

Cat5 and Cat6 have been the most prominent and efficient technologies in use for the Ethernet Cables. The term Cat is used to denote Category, and the subsequent number is an indication of the grade and capability of the cable in transmitting the data. 

What is a Cat5 Cable?

The Cat 5 Cable is the basic category among the two. The Cat 5 cables come in two variants –  Unshielded twisted pair (UTP), which are commonly used in the United States, and Screened Twisted Pair (SCTP). 

If the data is required to be sent over a longer distance, a solid Cat 5 cable is used. It offers you a more rigid style of performance and efficiency. The stranded Cat 5 cable is used for data transfer data over smaller distances. That would be the case with nearby hubs and routers. The Cat 5 cable can support 10 or 100 Mbps Ethernet. 

In fact, there are two categories viz Cat5 and Cat5e in the case of Cat5 cables. In fact, the Cat 5 cables have become quite obsolete recently, and only Cat5e cables are prominently in use. The Cat5 cables are capable of offering performance standards such as 10/100 Mbps at a 100MHz bandwidth; it hasn’t been the efficient speed in current standards for the workstation and server applications. Of course, that was a perfect standard when the technology was initially launched. Want to know what is Cat5 used for? We will come to it later. 

What is Cat6 Cable?

The Cat 6 cables have only recently been launched. They have been in existence for the last couple of years. In fact, the Cat 6 cables have been one of the excellent options for use with workstation requirements.

The Cat 6 cables can sustain speeds up to 10 Gigabits of data, that bandwidth is limited to 164 feet. The cable has been one of the standard options for any of the Gigabit Ethernet connections. They come with backward compatibility with Cat5 and Cat5e. 

The Cat6 cables offer you four twisted pairs of copper wire construction. The best options that the Cat6 cable can offer you would include the reduction of Crosstalk. This can go a long way in promoting enhanced faster data connectivity. It provides twice the bandwidth offered by Cat5 cables. If you are looking to know what is Cat5 used for, the next section should help you find the right answers. 

So which cable among Cat 5 and Cat 6 should you prefer?

Well, the choice of ethernet cable type you would use would be dependent on the way you would use the internet for your needs. If you are looking for an enhanced internet speed, Cat6 cable would be a perfect choice. Its ability to reduce the Crosstalk is what makes it one of the most preferred options ever.

However, if you have no issues with your current internet speeds, there is no reason why you should upgrade to Cat6 cables. In fact, Cat6 cables tend to be quite expensive when compared to the Cat5 cables. 

What is Cat6 used for?

So, what is Cat6 used for? Well, we have explained it clearly in the above discussion. Cat6 cables are used extensively for applications that require speeds more than 1 Gigabit per second. They have been found to be used widely for the Network applications. If you are operating servers and ISPs, and modems, the Cat6 cable should be an excellent option.  

The Cat6 cable is extremely useful in reducing the Crosstalk. Wonder what is Crosstalk? Electronic equipment emits electromagnetic signals. If there are several cables, one beside the other, they can interfere with one another. It is this interference that we refer to as Crosstalk. Since Cat6 and Cat6A cables come with extra shielding and twisted cable design, they offer you protection against Crosstalk. 

If you are still wondering what is Cat6 used for, here is what would answer your question. The Cat6 cables are used in situations such as cabling infrastructure for 10BASE-T (Ethernet), 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet, or GbE) and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet, or 10 GbE) networks.

What is Cat5 used for?

So, what is Cat5 used for? Well, Cat5 has been as a standard until now. Of course, there has been an additional option in the form of Cat5e. This is not as advanced as Cat6 but offers a high degree of an advantage when compared to Cat5. The nomenclature e stands for the term enhanced. In fact, in the newer installations, the Cat5e has already replaced the Cat5 standard. The Cat5e standard is more suited for Gigabit Ethernet. It can handle data transfer to up to 10x more of a capacity than Cat 5 at 1000 Mbps. 

The similar question about what is Cat5 used for may not be answered that much easily. In fact, Cat5 cable has been extensively used for a wide range of purposes. You will find it for a wide range of applications such as computers, smart TVs, game machines, and home security systems. 

In Conclusion

Well, that was what you need to know about Cat5 and Cat6 cables. You would have understood what are Cat5 and Cat6 cables and how effective they can be for your requirements. W have also attempted answering your queries about what is Cat5 used for or what is Cat6 used for, and the performance enhancements that each of these cable technologies offers you.

In any case, do note that your internet speed woes you may be facing need not necessarily be related to cables alone. There can be several reasons that may be affecting your connectivity – such as bandwidth issues, ISP speeds, and the number of devices connected to your network. Analyze those factors before replacing your Ethernet cable.  

About the author


Shelly is an avid reader, and the love of reading takes her to content writing eventually. She loves writing on various topics.

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