Ethernet cable, commonly known as cat5e or cat 6 cable.
Cat 5e (“enhanced”), is designed enabling speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – or “Gigabit Ethernet” as it’s more commonly known.
In particular Cat 5e is the most common kind of cable you’ll find being sold. It is very much adequate for general use in the home.
All four pairs in the cable are used for gigabit speeds, blue,orange,green and brown pairs.
Cat 6 can in theory handle up to 10 gigabits per section – that’s 10,000 Mbps – at a maximum of around 37 meters in length.
It is overkill for the home because you won’t find any consumer switches that support those speeds.
Building a new house and wanted something to connect each floor together with
perhaps consider Cat 6 for the sake of future-proofing, but otherwise don’t go out of your way to buy Cat 6 cabling.
It is completely compatible with existing Cat 5e and Cat 5 devices.
Physically, Cat 6 cabling is larger, has more twists in each pair, and has a plastic separator spine
running through the center, reducing crosstalk and enabling the higher speeds.
Cat 6a is a newer standard designed to support 10 Gbps over the full 100 meter length – Complete overkill for domestic use
For instance, the picture above shows a professional data tester, a Fluke DTX1800.
Even though this is the respected piece of equipment by all professional installers, not many installers have them.
You need to make sure your cabling is verified correctly.
In contrast to cheap amatuer testers, not only will this tester show the workings of the cabling,
it verifies it to the standards expected of its use.
Specifically you should always insist on your cabling being tested by an approved tester.
Insist on a full report to prove its good, it costs enough to get it installed.
Ethernet Cable Testing
Although amatuer installers will use something like this below, labelled as a data tester it proves nothing about your cabling.
It does not show any conditions on your cabling, no speed issues, no crosstalk problems, just flashing lights.
Flashing lights may prove continuity – pointless after what you’ve paid to get the cabling installed.
Why would you accept anything but the best?
Don’t be fooled as this being a test on your ethernet cabling
Mainly electricians and IT techs use this amateurish piece of kit, a trained professional would never rely on something so cheap.
Nor should you, if you’ve paid for a quality installation.
Data installs should come with a minimum 15 year warranty in business locations.