Ethernet Cable – Simple & Easy Guide on Ethernet Cables

Ethernet Cable RJ45
Ethernet Cable RJ45

Ethernet cables are widely available for purchase.

These cables are frequently included for free with equipment that uses Ethernet connectivity in some way.

Ethernet cable comes in a variety of varieties and categories, including speed variations, crossover cables, Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7, and so on.

Normally, Ethernet cables are purchased, and there is no compelling reason to understand what is inside or on the connectors, though it can be both interesting and useful on occasion.

Nonetheless, understanding the various types of Ethernet cable and the maximum lengths that should be used are beneficial.

Ethernet cables are widely available for purchase.

These cables are frequently included for free with equipment that uses Ethernet connectivity in some way.

Ethernet cable comes in a variety of varieties and categories, including speed variations, crossover cables, Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7, and so on.

Normally, Ethernet cables are purchased, and there is no compelling reason to understand what is inside or on the connectors, though it can be both interesting and useful on occasion.

Nonetheless, understanding the various types of Ethernet cables and the maximum lengths that should be used are beneficial.

What is an Ethernet cable?

An Ethernet cable is a type of network cable that is commonly used with wired networks. Within a local area network, Ethernet cables connect devices such as PCs, routers, and switches.

The length and durability of these physical cables are limited. A network cable that is too long or of poor quality will not transmit a good network signal.

These constraints are one of the reasons why different types of Ethernet cables are designed to perform specific tasks in specific situations.

What an Ethernet Cable Looks Like

An Ethernet cable is similar to a phone cable, but it is larger and has more wires.

Although both cables have a similar shape and plug, an Ethernet cable has eight wires and a phone cable has four.

Ethernet cable connectors have also grown in size. While Ethernet cables come in a variety of colors, phone cables are typically grey.

Ethernet cables connect to larger Ethernet ports than phone cable ports. A computer’s Ethernet port is accessed via the Ethernet card on the motherboard.

This port is typically located on the back of a desktop computer or the side of a laptop computer.

Ethernet Cable Basics

Most office and home local area networks use Ethernet cables with twisted wire pairs within an overall cable – Cat 5, Cat 6, and Cat 7 all used this format.

Twisting the wires together allows the currents to balance.

This means that current flows in one direction in one wire of the pair and current flow in the other, allowing the overall fields around the twisted pair to cancel.

Data can thus be transmitted over long distances without the need for extra precautions.

Because a data network cable contains several twisted pairs.

The number of twist per unit length is set to be different for each pair, with the rate based on prime numbers so that no two twists ever align. This reduces internal cable crosstalk.

Ethernet cables are available in a variety of lengths as patch cables, or as the cable itself for integration into systems, buildings, and so on.

Using a crimp tool, the terminations can then be made to the required connector. These network cables are available in a variety of lengths, with the longest Ethernet cables reaching 75 meters.

Initially, network cables were unshielded, but later versions were shielded to improve performance.

An unshielded twisted pair, UTP, cable, for example, may be adequate for a short run between a computer and router.

But a foil shielded cable, FTP, is preferable for longer runs or where the cable passes through areas with high electrical noise.

Flat Ethernet Cable and Connector

Shielding Ethernet cables can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

The most common method is to construct a shield around each twisted pair.

This not only shields the cable from the outside but also reduces crosstalk between the internal twisted pairs.

Manufacturers can improve performance even further by wrapping shielding around all of the wires in the cable just beneath the cable sheath.

There are various codes used to indicate the various types of shielding:

  • U/UTP – unshielded cable, unshielded twisted pairs.
  • F/UTP – Foil-shielded cable, unshielded twisted pairs
  • U/FTP – Unshielded cable, foil-shielded twisted pairs
  • S/FTP – braided shielded cable and foil shielded twisted pairs.

Where TP = twisted pair, U = unshielded, F = foil shielded, and S = braided shielding.

Another distinction between Ethernet cables, whether Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6e, or Cat 7, is whether solid or stranded wires are used.

A solid cable, as the name implies, uses a single piece of copper as the electrical conductor within each wire of the cable, whereas a stranded wire uses a series of copper strands twisted together.

Although it may not be necessary to know this when purchasing a patch cable, it may be necessary when installing a long cable run because each type is slightly more suitable for different applications.

  • Stranded cable: This type of wire is more flexible and is better suited for Ethernet cables that may be moved.

For example, patch leads at desks or general connections to PCs where some movement is required and expected.

  • Solid cable: Solid cable is less flexible than stranded cable, but it is more durable. This makes it ideal for permanent installations such as cable installations under floors, embedded in walls, and so on.
Ethernet cable Types
CategoryShieldingMax transmission speedsMax bandwidth
Cat 3Unshielded10Mbps16MHz
Cat 5Unshielded10 to 100Mbps100MHz
Cat 5eUnshielded1,000Mbps to 1Gbps100MHz
Cat 6Shielded or unshielded10Gbps up to 55 meters250MHz
Cat 6aShielded10Gbps up to 55 meters500MHz
Cat 7Shielded100Gbps up to 15 meters600MHz
Cat 7aShielded100Gbps up to 15 meters1,000MHz
Cat 8Shielded40Gbps up to 30 meters2,000MHz

The capabilities of each cable type are shown below.

(Categories 1, 2, and 4 are skipped because they are not technically recognized as Ethernet standards and have no application today.)

We’re also skipping 3 and 5 because they’re obsolete, slow, and no longer available.)

Cat 5e

Cat 5e is an abbreviation for “enhanced.” Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables have no physical differences.

Manufacturers, on the other hand, build Cat 5e cables under more stringent testing standards to eliminate unwanted signal transfers between communication channels (crosstalk).

Cat 5e is the most commonly used cable today, owing to its low production cost and support for faster speeds than Cat 5 cables.

Cat 6

Cat 6 Ethernet cables have greater bandwidth than Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables. They’re tightly wound and usually have foil or braided shielding on them.

Shielding protects the twisted pairs of wires within the Ethernet cable, reducing crosstalk and noise interference.

Cat 6 cables can technically support speeds of up to 10Gbps over distances of up to 55 meters.

However, that speed comes at a cost, as Cat 6 cables are more expensive than Cat 5 and Cat 5e variants.

Cat 6a

Cat 6a’s “a” stands for “augmented.” This standard’s cables outperform Cat 6 versions by supporting twice the maximum bandwidth.

They can also maintain faster transmission speeds over longer cable lengths.

Cat 6a cables are shielded, and the sheathing is thick enough to prevent crosstalk, resulting in a much denser, less flexible cable than Cat 6.

Cat 7 and Cat 7a

Cat 7 and Cat 7a cables are high-performance but rarely used by most people. Let’s look at why:

Cat 7 cables, which use the most recent widely available Ethernet technology, support higher bandwidths and significantly faster transmission speeds than Cat 6 cables.

Cat 7 cables can transmit up to 100Gbps over a distance of 15 meters, making them one of the most capable Ethernet cable categories.

Cat 7 cables are always shielded and use a GigaGate45 connector that is backward compatible with RJ45 Ethernet ports.

However, the modified GG45 connector is a proprietary component, and while backward compatibility helps, there are still issues with adhering to previous Ethernet standards.

As a result, most manufacturers avoided the Cat 7 standard, making it quite rare today. This challenge resulted in the development of Cat 6a — and a lot of marketing.

This difficulty resulted in the development of Cat 6a, as well as a lot of marketing confusion, as some sellers began referring to Cat 6a as the new Cat 7.

Check the specifications before purchasing, and if in doubt, opt for Cat 8 instead.

Cat 7a Ethernet cables have one of the highest specifications available, but they are not widely available and only have a few supporting networking hardware options.

The 7a standard was designed to support 40 Gigabit Ethernet connections up to 50 meters and — like Cat 7, but with a 50 percent increase in overall bandwidth.

This enhancement may be useful in some cases, but Cat 7a cables are significantly more expensive than any other option.

Consider using Cat 7a only in very specific situations.

Cat 8

Although these cables are currently for sale, you may find them to be excessive and overkill for regular home use.

At 30 meters, this standard promises a maximum frequency of 2,000MHz and speeds of up to 40Gbps. Because of the high frequency, shielding is required, so you’ll never find unshielded Cat 8 cables.

Cat 8 also supports two connectors. As a result, it only supports three connected cables with a total length of 30 meters.

Cat 8 cables are more expensive than other options, but they are becoming more affordable. A 10-foot Cat 8 can be had for less than $15.

Cat 8 is also the only cable that meets the most recent IEEE standards (the aforementioned 40Gbps and 2,000MHz frequency), which is why, despite its significantly higher cost, it’s a great choice for future-proofing.

As a bonus, it avoids the Cat 7 connector mess.

Limitations of Ethernet Cables

A single Ethernet cable has a maximum distance capacity, which means it has a maximum length before a signal loss occurs (called attenuation).

This issue arises because the electrical resistance of a long cable has an impact on performance.

Both ends of the cable should be close enough to each other to receive signals quickly, but far enough apart to avoid interruptions from outside electrical interference.

This precaution, however, does not limit the size of a network because hardware such as routers or hubs can connect multiple Ethernet cables on the same network.

The network diameter is the distance between the two devices.

A CAT5 cable can be as long as 100m before attenuation occurs (328ft). CAT6 can reach heights of 700 feet.

Ethernet cables can be longer, but they may suffer from signal loss if they pass close to large electrical appliances.

Signal reflection may occur with a short cable.

However, some users have reported no issues with cable lengths as short as 4 inches.

RJ-45 connectors of various types serve various functions.

One type is incompatible with solid cables because it was designed for use with stranded cables.

Other RJ-45 connectors may be compatible with both stranded and solid cables.

How to choose the right Ethernet cable

The simplest way to choose a cable is to go with one that has the range and performance you require. But what do you require?

  1. Begin by assessing the speed of your home internet connection. An old Ethernet cord will slow you down if you have gigabit internet (1Gbps).

If you have a slower connection — perhaps 10 or 20 megabits per second — anything Cat 5 or newer will suffice.

  1. If you don’t know the actual speed of your internet subscription, connect your PC directly to the modem and run this speed test.

This will give you a good idea of what wired connectivity you’ll require.

If your subscription only allows for 50Mbps downloads, a 1Gbps Ethernet cable is simply unnecessary — at least for the time being.

  1. Next, consider the network speed required. Most home users are uninterested in this information.

Even so, if you frequently transfer large files between computers or stream extremely high-bandwidth video, a higher-quality Ethernet cable can make a significant difference.

If that is not the case, and you only use the internet for browsing, you do not require a fast in-home network.

  1. As routers become faster and more capable, allowing for faster network speeds, you will require more capable cables to take full advantage.

If you need a replacement cable, it’s best to go with a more recent model to take advantage of both speeds and future-proof your setup for years to come.

Typically, this entails selecting a Cat 6a or even a Cat 8 cable.

A fast Ethernet cable won’t make much of a difference on its own, but a good cable can work in tandem with other high-end network devices to ensure that your connection is as strong as possible.

Ethernet Cable Connection/Connectors

Ethernet connectors employ a specialized design with eight pins that must be locked into place, known as an 8P8C connector.

There are two types of 8P8C connectors on Ethernet cables, and understanding the differences will help you understand different Ethernet categories more clearly:

RJ45: The standard Registered Jack 45 connector used by Ethernet cables. Based on how the wires are colored and arranged, there are two variations:

The more widely used T568B standard and the less widely used T568A standard (not particularly important unless you are doing detailed wiring).

Almost every Ethernet category, from Cat 1 to Cat 6, as well as Cat 8, uses the RJ45 connector.

GigaGate45 (GG45): For Ethernet Cat 7 cables, standards briefly switched to a new connector known as GigaGate45 (GG45).

For some frequency versatility, the GG45 came with several additional conductors.

Although it is backward compatible with RJ45 connectors, the new connector was deemed unnecessary, which is why Cat 8 switched to RJ45.

EtherCON RJ45: RJ45 connectors are simple to use but not always long-lasting — their built-in plastic clips, for example, can break.

EtherCON is a Neutrik-made ruggedized version of the RJ45 connector that is used in situations where the traditional RJ45 connector is too fragile, such as professional A/V work.

Alternatives to Ethernet Cables for Computer Networking

Many home and business networks now use wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth instead of Ethernet. The majority of tablets and other mobile devices lack a network port. These wireless technologies are advantageous if the cable runs outside or in locations where wire damage is a concern.

How to buy Ethernet Cables: What to Look Out For

When purchasing Ethernet cables, the most important decision is selecting the best cable. Performance outweighs the cost.

Cat 5e cable is currently adequate for most domestic applications, though in the coming years, speeds may begin to be limited as they increase further.

The Internet connection is typically the bottleneck, and if you are not constantly transferring large files, using a Cat 6 or Cat 7 cable is unlikely to make a significant difference.

In any case, all Ethernet equipment must support higher speeds to function, and any transfer will default to the lowest speed element in any connection.

Cat 6 and Cat 6a cables are a good bet if you want to be sure of getting the best speeds. They are often not much more expensive than Cat 5, and they are a wise choice for future-proofing.

Also, Cat 5 is now obsolete, so avoid using it. In practice, Cat 7 cables do not provide a significant advantage over Cat 6a cables.#

However, they do provide better shielding, which can help maintain speeds when long Ethernet cables are required.

So, for cables that are being installed, for example, to wire a home, it is often best to pay the extra to ensure the best speeds and to future-proof the system for as long as possible.

For commercial systems, it is worthwhile to pay the extra money for the fastest cables available.

Small savings at the expense of performance can add up over time.

There are numerous Ethernet cables available for purchase. These cables are frequently included for free with equipment that uses Ethernet connectivity in some way.

Ethernet cable comes in a variety of varieties and categories, including speed variations, crossover cables, Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7, and so on.

Normally, Ethernet cables are purchased, and there is no compelling reason to understand what is inside or on the connectors, though it can be both interesting and useful on occasion.

Nonetheless, understanding the various types of Ethernet cables and the maximum lengths that should be used is beneficial.

Typical Ethernet cable is included with many computers, routers, and other electronic devices.

Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, and Cat7 network cables all have different levels of performance, so it is necessary to buy or select the right cable for the right application.

These network cables are used to connect a variety of network elements.

They include Ethernet switches and Ethernet routers to computers, servers, and other network items that have an Ethernet interface.

Ethernet Cable Wiring – How to wire Ethernet Patch Cables
  1. Remove approximately 2 inches of the ethernet cable sheath.
  2. Untwist the pairs – but only to the extent that you have exposed them; the more untwisted cable you have, the more problems you may encounter.
  3. Arrange the coloured wires by the wiring diagrams above.
  4. Cut all of the wires to the same length, leaving about 1/2″ to 3/4″ exposed from the sheath.
  5. Insert the wires into the RJ45 plug, making sure that each wire is fully inserted and in the correct order. The sheath of the ethernet cable should extend about 1/2″ into the plug and be held in place by the crimp.
  6. Using the crimper tool, crimp the RJ45 plug.
  7. Check that the wires are in the correct order and that they extend to the front of the RJ45 plug and make good contact with the metal contacts.
  8. Cut the ethernet cable to the appropriate length – it should be more than long enough for your needs.
  9. Repeat step 9 for the second RJ45 plug.
How to wire fixed Ethernet Cables
  1. Run the entire length of ethernet cable from endpoint to endpoint, leaving excess.
  2. Cut the wire to length at one end, leaving enough length to work with but not too much excess.
  3. Remove approximately 2 inches of the ethernet cable sheath.
  4. Align each of the coloured wires according to the jack’s layout.
  5. Insert each wire into the jack using the punch-down tool.
  6. Repeat step 6 for the second RJ45 jack.

If an ethernet cable tester is available, use it to ensure that the cable is properly connected.

If your ethernet cable doesn’t work, inspect each end carefully to see if you can find the problem.

Frequently, a wire ends up in the wrong place, or one of the wires makes no or poor contact. Check the colour coding as well to ensure it is correct.

If you notice an error or a problem, cut the end off and begin again. An ethernet cable tester is extremely useful for detecting and highlighting these issues.

When sizing Ethernet cables, keep in mind that an end-to-end connection should not exceed 100m (328ft).

Try to keep the ethernet cable length as short as possible; the longer the cable, the worse the performance. This is typically manifested as a gradual decrease in speed and an increase in latency.

Ethernet Cable Not Detected

Attempt to change the Ethernet ports.

Try putting the port that is connected to the computer into the modem, and then the port that is connected to the modem into the computer.

If possible, connect the same Ethernet cable to another computer to ensure the cable is not faulty.

Ethernet Cables Glossary

Cat: This is a shortened version of “category.”

TP (Twisted Pairs): These types of Ethernet cables are made up of wires that twist together inside.

Twisted Pairs are widely used in the industry.

In terms of maximum length and speed deceleration, these are only second to fiber-optic cables.

UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pairs): UTPs do not have any foil or an intertwined protective covering.

This type of design allows them to be more flexible and less expensive to produce.

It is important to note, however, that a UTP cable may have poor signal quality and increase the risk of crosstalk.

STP or SSTP (Shielded Twisted Pairs): The shielding on these Ethernet cables is strong and braided.

The covering on an STP cable is typically made of copper or another conductive material, which aids in noise reduction and connection quality.

FTP or SFTP (Foiled Twisted Pairs): Another type of Ethernet cable that includes a foil shield to protect the wires. Many people use these cables to reduce noise, improve connectivity, and get a better connection.

FAQs

How do I connect an Ethernet cable?

On your device, look for an Ethernet port. It has a square design that accommodates the standard RJ45 connector.

Connect one end of the cable to an open port on your computer and the other to a router or another network device.

Which type of Ethernet cable do I need? 

If your network supports Gigabit Ethernet, you should choose Cat5e or Cat6 cables over older Cat5 cables.

Can I run Ethernet cables outside?

Yes, Ethernet cables can be run outside between buildings or over exterior walls. Choose cables with a protective coating or weatherproof wires that are expressly designed to be more resistant to the elements.

Can Ethernet be hacked?

“This paper demonstrates that attackers can use Ethernet cables to exfiltrate data from air-gapped networks,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

“Malware installed on a secure workstation, laptop, or embedded device can trigger a variety of network activities that generate electromagnetic emissions from Ethernet cables.”

What is the Ethernet cable color code for?

Grey cables are used for standard ethernet connections, while green cables are used for crossover ethernet connections.

Yellow cables indicate POE (power over ethernet), whereas blue cables indicate terminal server connections.

What are the 7 different types of ethernet cable connectors?

Cables of various types are available on the market, including HDMI cable, VGA cable, DVI cable, Ethernet cable, PS/2 cable, 3.5 mm audio cable, USB cable, and computer power cord cable.

Do you need an Ethernet cable for Wi-Fi?

No, an Ethernet cable is not required to connect your device to WiFi.

The Ethernet cable connects the device to the internet via a wired connection.

WiFi, on the other hand, provides a wireless internet connection by transmitting signals over an open medium.

What is the Ethernet cable price?

₹999.00. FEDUS Cat6 Ethernet Cable, High-Speed 550MHZ / 10 Gigabit Speed UTP LAN Cable, Network Cable Internet Cable, 20 Meter Patch Computer Cord Gigabit Category 6 Wires for Modem, Router RJ45 Cable LAN Wire 5,018. ₹599.00.

CAT5 RJ45 Ethernet Patch Cord CAT5 RJ45 LAN Straight Cable Quantum (White)

Ethernet cable in computer network?

Cables with twisted pairs Twisted-pair cable was designed primarily for computer networks.

This cable is also referred to as an Ethernet cable. This cable is used in almost all modern LAN computer networks.

Conclusion

Ethernet cables serve as the foundation of any computer network. They help build a smart home/office by transferring data from one device to another.

If you are looking for Ethernet cables, go to Amazon or Jumia, both of which have a large selection of Ethernet cables for all of your networking needs.

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