If you would like to show your kid just how hip you still are by playing with him on one of those new gaming consoles, or if you would like to hook up to the Interweb.net like all of the kids are doing these days, you are going to need some type of cable. If you think you can just grab the keys, jump in the car and head to the local hardware store to pick up any old cable, you’ll be in for a bit of a surprise.
First of all, don’t go to the hardware store. That’s not the place to start. When you finally get to a store that sells the cables you want, you will likely encounter various types of what might seem to be the same type of cable. The Cat5 cables, cat5e cables, and cat6 cables might look the same, but they function quite differently.
Cat5 cables are the slowest of the family. The cat5 cables handle about 10/100 Mbps speed, which is a fast ethernet, at up to roughly 100 MHz bandwidth. It might sound relatively impressive, but it is rather slow when compared to what else is coming out these days. Cat5 cables are constructed of top grade materials so they can be expected to last anywhere between five to ten years.
The cat5e ethernet cable is the most commonly used cable in newer installations. Perhaps its chief design attribute is that it is made to reduce crosstalk, meaning it is better than cat5 cables at keeping signals on different circuits or channels from interfering with one another. This cable is a step above the cat5 cables and can handle speeds of 1000 Mbps at 100MHz.
When you step up to the cat6 ethernet cable, you are really stepping up to a major improvement over the cat5s. It has an even better capability to prohibit crosstalk with an internal separator that isolates pairs for each other. If you want to install something that will be good for years to come, the cat6 is the way to go.
When it comes to the length of a cable, it doesn’t matter how long it is. The cable is manufactured to perform the same way whether it is going the length of a wall or the length of the entire room.
If you think about the latest ethernet cables, they function in much the same way as an iPhone charger and an iPad charger. An iPhone 6 takes about one hour and fifty minutes to charge using a 12-watt USB power adapter that comes with an iPad. That is half the time it takes to charge an iPhone 6 with the 5-watt charger that is shipped with the phone by default.
As technology develops, the capability of cables increase. Soon, cat5 cables will go by the way of the dinosaur. But until they do, these are the cables that keep us connected. From our computers to our telephone systems to our cable television systems.