The Cat5 ethernet cables came into existence in the 1990s and remain one of the most popular of all twisted pair cable types among homeowners, mainly due to performance and cost. The Cat5 has been around for 15 years, with the Cat5e (the ‘e’ stands for enhanced) introduced approximately six years later. Is the difference worth the higher Cat5e cable cost? Let’s compare the two.

How to Tell the Difference

It can be difficult and unreliable to tell cable categories apart simply by the coloring or thickness; and since all ethernet cables use the same RJ45 connector plug, that’s not a viable option. The most reliable way is to check the printed information on the cable itself.

Are They the Same Speeds?

Ethernet cables send and receive data at the speeds designated by your internet provider or from computer to computer in a network, and hardware can make a difference. Cat5 cables work for network connections under 100Mbps but are also susceptible to interference issues. A Cat5e cable provides for a faster and smoother experience while working up to 1000Mbps.

What’s the Preferred Length?

Cat5 and Cat5e cables can be purchased in a variety of lengths, but to avoid internet “drop out” or slower transmission of data, the cables should not exceed 328 feet. By using a switch or hub as a repeater to amplify signals, you will be able to transmit data up to 590 feet.

Types of Wiring

There are two main types of Cat5 and Cat5 wiring, and that is solid and stranded. Solid cables are best used in walls as they can easily break or be bent. Stranded cables are composed of many thin strands of copper wiring, so they are more flexible and can withstand being bent without breaking. Stranded cables are the less expensive of the two.

Difference Between Cat5 and Cat5e Cable Costs

The Cat5e cable costs vary based on length, manufacturer, and seller, and generally sell for $.20 to $.30 per foot. Cat5 cables are harder to find and for the added performance boost, it’s recommended to go with the Cat5e cable.

We offer a lifetime warranty on our cables and our tech support is eager to help through every phase of the buying transaction.

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