What’s the Difference between CAT5e and CAT6?


It is essential to select the correct Ethernet cable for your home or business network. When deciding on the best cable selection, you must first understand the distinction between category cables. Because the kind and category of cable effect not only the speed and overall performance, but also the quality of the connection. Cat5e and Cat6 are the two most used Ethernet cables, but which is better?

cat5e and cat6

What is CAT5e Cable?

CAT5e is a network cable standard that was certified in 1999. It is also known as Category 5e or Category 5 Enhanced. Cat5e cable is an improved form of Cat5 cable, which is also the oldest cable category. Cat5e cables are backward compatible with Cat5, allowing you to quickly upgrade all or a portion of your network for improved performance. Cat5e cables are typically made up of 24 twisted pair wires and can offer Gigabit Ethernet up to 328 feet. A Cat5e cable has an MHz rate of 100, which indicates that the CPU can handle up to 100 million commands per second.


What is CAT6 Cable?

Cat6 cables, also known as Category 6 or Cat 6 cables, were introduced a few years after CAT5e. It offers Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters in length. CAT6 is an Ethernet twisted pair cable that is backward compatible with CAT5/5e and CAT3 cable specifications. Cat6 cables are the current high speed Ethernet cabling standard since they can provide the rates needed for 10 Gigabit networks. However, they only support a limited number of higher standards, after which the maximum speed distance of Cat6 cables is the same as that of Cat5e cables.



Both CAT5e and CAT6 can handle speeds of up to 1000 Mbps (gigabits per second). The fundamental distinction between CAT5e and CAT6 cables is bandwidth, and the cable may allow data transmission. The CAT6 cable is meant to operate at frequencies up to 250 MHz, while the CAT5e line operates at 100 MHz. This means that CAT6 cables can handle more data at the same time.


As previously indicated, CAT6 cables have a performance of up to 250 MHz, which is more than twice that of Cat5e cables (100 MHz). As a result, Cat6 cables can power 10GBASE-T or 10 Gigabit Ethernet, whereas Cat5e cables can only power 1GBASE-T or 1 Gigabit Ethernet.

Maximum Length

Cat5e and Cat6 maximum length specifications both allow for 100 meters. The maximum length of CAT6 cable when used for 10GBASE-T is 55 m. The rate reduces to 1GBASE-T beyond this distance. A Category 6a cable or an upgraded Category 6 cable is required to run 10GBASE-T for 100 meters. Repeaters or switches are required to amplify the signal if the network architecture must span a distance greater than 100 meters


The key elements influencing the cost of an Ethernet cable are manufacturer, copper content, quality, and length. Cat6 cables are typically 10%-20% more expensive than Cat5e cables.


When it comes to selecting the correct cable, there are numerous factors to consider. What is your network speed? How many people are there? Is it intended to be used indoors or outdoors? Etc. The cost difference between CAT5e and CAT6 is not significant. Whether you choose CAT5e or CAT6, a higher grade cable is usually a smart idea to prepare the network infrastructure and performance for the near future.

Baudcom offers all kinds of fiber optic cables. For more information, please feel free to contact us.

Post time: 2021-07-19


Lomoveishiy – Finland

I needed those to connect my PC on the third floor to have internet access in that room, and ISP installed their modem on the first floor only. After dropping fiber patch cables, plugged in all cables into these media converters at both sides, and link came up instantly. Was much easier than I thought!

Raymond – USA

Great experience – units worked straight out of the box – just needed plug in cables and we were done. I also like the possibility to enable jumbo frames, while we do not have a need for this feature at the current moment it’s great to have this option.

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