What is an ethernet cable?

Ethernet is one of the most prevalent types of computer networks in the real world. If you’ve ever purchased a home network, then you’ve most likely heard of Ethernet cables. But what is Ethernet? How many types does it come in, and which one is best? This article will explain in detail.

Ethernet cable
Ethernet cable

What is an Ethernet Network?

Ethernet (Ethernet) is a type of local area network (LAN) that uses the Carrier-Detect Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CDMA/CD) method of medium access control.

1, Ethernet refers mainly to the physical cables through which data is transmitted, while Wi-Fi refers to a network of wirelessly connected interconnected devices.

Ethernet is a cable used for connecting a computer to the internet via either a USB or Ethernet cable. It is a wired connection. On the other hand, Wi-Fi is a networking technology that allows mobile devices to connect to the internet wirelessly. The topology used by Ethernet is a bus type, where a single cable trunk connects all the computers in the network directly to the shared bus via appropriate hardware interfaces and cables. It is crucial to avoid conflicts in data transmission in the bus topology.

What types of Ethernet cables are there?

Just like any other technology, not all Ethernet cables are created equal. Instead, there are different categories, each with different levels of transmission rate, distance, and frequency bandwidth. Here are the different Ethernet categories.

Ethernet Cable TypesTransmission RateFrequency BandwidthTransmission Distance# of twisted pairsShielding
Cat-5e1000Mbps100MHz100M4Shielded/Unshielded
Cat-61000Mbps250MHz100M4Shielded/Unshielded
Category-6a10Gbps500MHz100M4Shielded/Unshielded
Cat-710Gbps600MHz100M4Double Shielded
Cat-840Gbps2000MHz30M4Double Shielded

Cat-5: It can support data transfer speeds up to 100Mbps and bandwidths up to 100MHz, but they do not have any shielding. The shielding helps protect the cable from electromagnetic interference from external sources.

Cat-5e: It is an improved version of Cat-5. It is not an officially designated category, but Cat-5e cables can support speeds up to 1Gbps, 100MHz bandwidth, and have better crosstalk immunity. cat-5e is the most common Ethernet cable on the consumer market today.

Cat-6: Cat-6 cables are a big step up from Cat-5e. While they are only rated at 1Gbps over long distances, they can achieve 10Gbps over short distances up to 37 meters (121 feet) due to the better shielding and higher 250MHz bandwidth of Cat-6 cables.

Category 6a: It is a more advanced version of the Cat-6 specification, offering higher performance and speeds. cat-6a delivers twice the bandwidth of Cat-6 at 500MHz and supports transmission speeds of up to 10Gbps. In addition, Cat-6a has a transmission range of up to 100 meters.

Cat-7: It was approved as a standard before Cat-6a, but although it supports 10Gbps speeds at up to 100 meters and 600MHz bandwidth, it has not been widely adopted, in part because of its proprietary nature. A group of companies developed Cat-7 which does not conform to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standards. It is also not approved by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). In addition, Cat-7 cables use proprietary connectors.

Cat-8: It comes after Cat-6a in the list of TIA and IEEE-approved standards.Cat-8 cables support bandwidths up to 2000MHz, are rated at 25Gbps or 40Gbps, and can be up to 30 meters long. This is an improvement, but Cat-8 cables are usually more expensive than lower categories!

Which Ethernet cable is the best?

Among Ethernet cables, Cat6 is the most used one for home networking. It has higher bandwidth and better performance to support higher data transfer speeds and longer distances, while also reducing electromagnetic interference.Cat6 is more than adequate for high-speed networking, fast Internet connections, and low-latency tasks such as gaming.

If you are an advanced user, it is recommended that you use at least Cat7 cables, which not only provide excellent speeds but are also S/FTP type and therefore offer maximum protection.

If you are a very advanced user who regularly tests switches and NAS servers to check the speed of your local network and want to troubleshoot cable performance issues, then purchasing a high-performance Cat8 cable is a good choice. Of course, logically, this cable is more expensive than previous cables.

However, for most home users, Cat 6 cables are sufficient for their needs. Therefore, the type of Ethernet cable you choose depends on your usage needs and budget.

Need to know more about Ethernet cables?

At Romtronic, we hold relevant certifications such as MFi, CE, and UL, and have a highly specialized team of electrical engineers and manufacturing technicians to produce a wide range of standards-compliant Ethernet cable assemblies. So if you’re not sure which Ethernet cable is right for your application, ask us.

Romtronic International Co., Limited.
Romtronic