Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and Cat6e Cabling

Information from different websites put together to make sense of the different cables.


* Cat5e was defined in 2001 in TIA/EIA-568-B standard
* Cat6 was defined in June 1, 2002 as defined in TIA-568-B.2-1 standard addendum.
* Cat6a was defined in February 2008 in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2-10.

Info about Cat6a:

* Cat6a cables operate at 500Mhz, twice that of 250Mhz Cat6 cable.

* Cat6a can run at 10Gbps up to 100m.

* Cat6a cables have improved shielding and protection against alien crosstalk. Crosstalk occurs when signal from one cable leaks to another.

* Cat6a cable is thicker then Cat6. It is harder to work with using cable management.

* Cat6a cables costs a lot more then previous types.

* Cat6a requires new Cat6a patch panels

* Cat6a is harder to run through walls. This will mean the installer may take more time and cost more.

Info about Cat6e:

Category 6 Enhanced (6e) is an augmented specification designed to double transmission frequency to 500 MHz. By wrapping Category 6e in grounded foil shielding, full 10-Gigabit Ethernet speeds can be reached of lengths up to 100m.

Cat6e is not a standard, and is frequently misused because category 5 followed with 5e as an enhancement on category 5. Soon after the ratification of Cat 6, a number of manufacturers began offering cable labeled as “Category 6e”. Their intent was to suggest their offering was an upgrade to the Category 6 standard, presumably naming it after Category 5e. However, no legitimate Category 6e standard exists and Cat 6e is not a recognized standard by the Telecommunications Industry Association.

Difference between Cat5e and Cat6:

The general difference between category 5e and category 6 is in the transmission performance, and extension of the available bandwidth from 100 MHz for category 5e to 250 MHz for category 6. This includes better insertion loss, near end crosstalk (NEXT), return loss, and equal level far end crosstalk (ELFEXT). These improvements provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio, allowing higher reliability for current applications and higher data rates for future applications.

* Cat6 is certified to run at 1Gbps speeds. Cat5e can run at 1Gbps but is not certified.

* Cat5e cannot run at 10Gbps speeds.

* Cat6 can run at 10Gbps up to 55 metres in a favorable alien crosstalk environment, but only 37 meters in a hostile alien crosstalk environment such as when many cables are bundled together

* Cat5e is rated at 100Mhz, while Cat6 is 250Mhz and Cat6a is 500Mhz.

More info