One of the more common questions concerning video surveillance is what’s the difference between CAT5 and CAT6 cables. It is one of the most common questions we receive as a security camera company.
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What’s The Difference Between CAT5 And CAT6 Cables?
Both CAT5 and CAT6 are networking cables, commonly referred to as Ethernet. Both cables are terminated at the end with the same head. We refer to this as an RJ45 connector.
Both cables can be used in any kind of network to connect devices, such as routers, computers, or POV cameras together so we can access and power them.
There are, however, some key differences between the two cable types. First, let’s take a look at what makes CAT5 unique.
When CAT5 first came out, it was originally limited to a maximum network speed of 100 megabits. However, with the advent of CAT5e in 2001, regular CAT5 was put aside as CAT5e is now capable of up to 2.5 gigabits up to 100 meters and one gigabit when pushed further than that.
However, when there are a lot of CAT5e Ethernet cables in close proximity, the electromagnetic interference produced by them can actually cause issues with each other, leading to packet or data loss.
This circumstance is referred to as crosstalk. Crosstalk is where CAT6 comes into play.
CAT6 was developed to eliminate crosstalk and increased bandwidth. CAT6 cables use a spline that runs down the center of the cable, separating the wire in such a way that it reduces the electromagnetic interference they’d otherwise produce.
Additionally, CAT6 cables are usually designed with thicker shielding to handle harsher conditions. With these factors together, this can greatly reduce the errors caused by crosstalk.
CAT6 is also capable of up to 10 gigabits at 55 meters or less.
Should I Use CAT5 Or CAT6 Cables?
So, which should you use? Well, there are some things to consider. In an area where you have several cables in close proximity, like a server rack or a network closet, it’s best to use CAT6 as this will eliminate the issues potentially caused by crosstalk.
CAT6 also has the ability to transfer up to 10 gigabits of data per second. However, this quickly reduces to the 1 gigabit speed of CAT5e past 100 meters.
This means that for shorter runs, like in the server closet instance mentioned before, CAT6 is probably the better option.
This is because the more demanding network hardware will have the highest bandwidth cabling and the least interference. However, when running cables for workstations or other end-user equipment, it’s a good idea to consider CAT5 for a substantially smaller expense.
Both cable types serve a purpose in the IT world and are used regularly in just about any network application you can imagine.
Thanks for reading our guide on the differences between CAT5 and CAT6 Ethernet cables. We hope it was informative and helped you better understand how to address your needs.