A Brief Introduction to Cat5e / Cat6 Data Cable Technology

Cat5e or Cat6? Click to choose...

Copper data cable contains 4 pairs of twisted copper cores along which digital signals are sent. The rate of turns in each twisted pair is carefully calculated and implemented in such a way as to minimalise interference between the pairs and to enable noise elimination - i.e. improve signal-to-noise ratio.

Categories - Industry Standards


The category system for cable describes the industry established standards as they have changed over the years. Cat5e (Category 5 Enhanced) is the current standard. Cat6 will soon become standard. Cat7 is in the pipeline but fibre may be a better option for the future.

Differences Between Cat5e Cat6

The main difference between Cat5e and Cat6 is in performance. Many Cat5e installations will not run 100Mbit networks, whereas Cat6 will support Gigabit networks. The signal-to-noise ratio of Cat6 cable is also far superior - calculated at roughly 12 times better. Cat6 cable also usually includes a separtor to keep the pairs apart and provide rigidity to prevent cable damage in bending.

Find out more about Copper Structured Cable Installations - See our Structured Cabling Guides.