With the many options available today, it can be difficult to decide on what type of cable you should use to connect to your computer network. Should you get the bulk Cat5e cable or is a Cat6 cable a better option? These tips are here to make the choice between ethernet cables a little easier.
How Fast do You Need Your Internet
Different ethernet cables, such as the bulk Cat5e cable and Cat6a cables, will allow your internet connection to work at different speeds. To choose the right cable, it’s easiest to determine how much speed matters to your internet habits.
To help you figure this out, you can use a bandwidth calculation tool like the one on BroadBandNow’s website. You can also look at their charts to see how they have broken down the download speed needed for different online activities.
For example, it takes only 1 to 5 Mbps to check your email, but over 200 Mbps to stream 4K content. Once you understand how much bandwidth you plan to use, the process of finding the right cable becomes easier.
What’s the Difference Between the Cables
Knowing what you need from your ethernet cable is only the first step. After that, understanding the differences between the cables is key to finding the right one for you. Here’s a list to help break down popular cables that are used today.
- Cat5 Cables: These cables can be a nice place to start if you are looking for a slight increase in speed, but don’t need something that is really powerful. According to Digital Trends the Cat5 cable offers a max transmission speed of 10/100 Mbps and a max bandwidth of 100MHz
- Cat5e Cables: This type of cable is a step up from the Cat5, as it offers up to 1 Gb per second and has a max bandwidth of 100MHz. Purchasing the bulk Cat5e cable is a good option for someone who needs a faster speed than the simpler option of a Cat5
- Cat6 Cables: These cables are more advanced than the previous options because the cost is more and can be more difficult to install. However, the Cat6 cable makes up for this by having a higher max bandwidth of 250MHz, according to Digital Trends
- Cat6a Cables: This type of cable is the fastest of all the options listed before, offering 10 Gb per second and having a max bandwidth of 500MHz, according to Digital Trends. As the most advanced cable out of the ones mentioned, it may not be the right fit for everyone. However, it’s a great option for those who need a large amount of speed
Now that you understand how to determine the amount of speed you need for your internet connection and the capabilities of the different cables, you are ready to find the right one for you. Whether you end up with a bulk Cat5e cable or a Cat6a cable, the most important thing is finding the right option that meets your needs.
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