Category Cable Comparison Chart



You are probably wondering...


What is the difference between Cat5 and Cat6 and Cat5e and Cat6a?

What is the best ethernet cable to use?


Choosing The Right Cable

It is important to choose the best cable for your project.  It can be a very costly mistake to purchase the wrong cable.  You don’t want to go too cheap and install an ethernet cable that doesn’t support the end usage.  On the flip side, you don’t want to over spend and install an advanced cable when the customer is going to be using it for low end tasks.


It is the installers responsibility to stop and ask the question, WHY.  Why are we installing Cat5e CCA (copper clad aluminum) when the customer is going to be using it for A/V extensions or PoE devices? Asking questions like this first will make for a happier customer.  And happier customers are what we are all about here at Faster Cables. Just for the record, we don't sell ANY CCA ethernet cable.


Don’t worry though.  If you are still unsure about which cable is right for your project, don’t hesitate to contact us and we are more than happy to walk you through it.


Below is a quick reference, in addition to the table above, for what cable to use when.


Cat5e - Starting at $73.75

Typically used in homes and offices for phone and basic internet usage.  If you are connecting to a local utility company’s modem, most likely they do not exceed Gigabit Ethernet performance and can run over Cat5e.  Providing basic internet access to devices around the home or office will be a perfect job for Cat5e.


Cat6 - Starting at $106.25

Similar to Cat5e but with slightly increased performance specs.  There may be certain cases where special devices require Cat6 and not Cat5e.  Be sure to check with the customer on what device they plan on connecting with this cable.  Many times it’s equipment like special audio and video adapters that have certain requirements.


Cat6e - Starting at $120

Again pretty much the same as Cat6, but with slightly increased performance specs.  If you know that Cat5e won’t perform optimally, but are unsure about going with Cat6, it never hurts to install Cat6e.  Many times Cat6e is not actually labeled as such, but it’s all in the specs and how it will perform.  It has much better crosstalk characteristics than average Cat6.  This is due to the use of the center spline and the twisting of the pairs.  Less interference that way.  You can actually use Cat6e and some Cat6 to run very short distances of 10gig ethernet.  So if you have a customer asking for Cat6A, but are only running short distances, you might be able to get away with installing Cat6e.  But as mentioned before, always check to see what devices are being connected because that ultimately determines what cable is required.  You are specifically looking for the speed requirements, ie. (1000Mbps, or 10,000Mbps, or 10Gbps etc.)


Cat6A - Starting at $214.99

There is a lot of misinformation about Cat6A.  The A stands for “Augmented”.  It really means that it’s designed to perform at higher standards than Cat6 or Cat6e.  Cat6A should be able to handle 10 Gig ethernet at longer distances.  It is quite expensive, but is one of the best products out there.  You do have to watch out for cable labeled as Cat6A that may not perform to the same specs as other products labeled the same.  It’s important to compare the specifications.  If you are unsure, always ask the vendor for an “Electrical Characteristics Performance Test”.  That will provide you with more information to make an educated decision.


Cat7

Don’t worry about it.  We don’t sell it because the need is not there yet.  Until people adopt and really max out Cat6A, or equipment manufacturers start making higher performing products, there is no need for Cat7 in bulk.  Now I do know that some 4K TV manufacturers state in the manual to use Cat7 to connect the TV to the processing box.  But that just requires a special patch cable that usually comes with the TV.  Now the internet access to the TV itself can just be a simple Cat5e or a Cat6 cable.  Because the modem providing the internet will not benefit from Cat7 and won’t push the data any faster than 1 gigabit.


I hope this helps to clear up some of the confusion.  There is some great additional information comparing Cat5e and Cat6 Cable Here.


If you still have questions, we are here for you.  Please call 1-866-954-8844.  Or email us at sales@fastercables.com