Is there a noticeable diff. between CAT5 / CAT5e?

Discussion in 'Networking and Internet' started by SwordWielder, Jul 22, 2003.

  1. SwordWielder

    SwordWielder Master of Swords VIP Member

    Feb 8, 2003
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    Just wondering if there is a noticeable difference between CAT5 and CAT5e cables if your on a 100Mb switch? UTP cables that is.
    SwordWielder, Jul 22, 2003
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  2. SwordWielder

    James Photojournalist

    Dec 24, 2002
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    Well CAT5e with 350Mhz can handle 1000 Megabits of data throughput, it is also a little bit better when it comes to protecting the the actual wires from harmful interference.

    Cat5e seems to be available in the two flavors, though there is only one Cat5e standard. The Cat5e 100 MHz is often referred to as 'minimumly compliant' Cat5e. That is, it meets the minimum specifications involved for Category 5 Enhanced. Early on, many cable manufactures saw the potential for selling Cat5e with a higher bandwidth in anticipation that it would be approved later for Cat6 use. Many of us bought it and put it in, and still are. I currently pay $30 a box for Cat5, about $52 for Cat5e minimumly compliant, and about $82 for Cat5e 250-350 Mhz. The price is not that much greater for the higher bandwidth product.

    However, take note that when you test or scan the wire for compliance with Cat5e standards, you are only testing it at 100 MHz. Is that hardware for Cat5e designed to be tested at 350Mhz? Certainly not, so you are buying wire with some headroom built into it, which is probably not a bad idea (at least I hope not because it is almost all we use), but the Cat5e hardware and the Cat5e standards are only going to get you 100 Mhz of bandwidth.

    Also, many of us thought we might just be able to slip back in later and upgrade the hardware and end up with a Cat6 system. However to make the Cat6 products actually work as planned, the standards committee had to approve a larger gage wire (23 gage) for this standard. I have not tried it, but I find it quite unlikely that just adding Cat6 compliant jacks on the Cat5e 350Mhz cable will give you a solid Cat6 solution.

    It is my opinion that one should buy the best quality wire on the market (that you can afford) for the installation, and plan on making that last as long as possible before having to jump to the next level of solution.

    I prefer to only use CAT5e 350Mhz. My house is wired with CAT5e 350Mhz. As for performance, I don't think you would see much of an increase unless you have the hardware to support it also... But I may be wrong too. Good question.
    James, Jul 22, 2003
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