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What’s the Difference Between Cat5 and Cat5e Cables?



So, you’re overseeing a network infrastructure installation. If you’ve been doing your homework, chances are you’ve come across many articles touting the power of fiber optics over copper-based twisted pair cables. And for the most part, those articles are correct - fiber optics offer faster speeds over greater distances. The catch is they accomplish this at greater prices and could be considered in some circumstances, overkill for what’s actually needed. Depending on the network speeds you are actually using and the volume of data you’re moving, you could very well consider using Cat5e data cables at certain points in your internal network, allowing you to invest your savings into other elements of your network.


Cat5 Exists, But Has Been Made Obsolete By Advances in Cabling Technology

Before Cat5e, there was the Cat5 data cable. It’s likely that if you’re replacing an older network cabling system, Cat5 cable is already in place. In older networks, Cat5 provided reliable data transfer up to 10/100 Mbps at 100MHz, sufficient for the data being moved at the time. As the need to move large amounts of data at Ethernet (1 Gbps and faster) speeds increases across every industry, network cables and components unable to support Gigabyte speeds will quickly fade into obscurity.


Cat5e Cable is A Solid Alternative to Higher Priced Premium Cables.

The enhanced version of Cat5 cable, Cat5e, supports 1 Gbps with reduced crosstalk and line noise due to increased shielding built into the wiring. In a new installation, it’s important that you are dialed in to what the needs of your network are currently, as well as what your needs will be in the future. If you are working with types and levels of data where you’re moving significant amounts of data across large distances to your central hub, you want to ensure you’re using higher rated twisted pair cabling (Cat6 and higher).


The catch is that you have to ensure all the components at your internal network level are also capable of moving data at Ethernet speed and faster. If you have hubs and switches on your internal network incapable of exceeding 1 Gbps, then Cat5e will be sufficient for your internal networking needs. Cat5e also provides Ethernet speeds at the most affordable price point and is backwards-compatible with Cat5 cabling, in the event that you’re expanding upon an existing network and unable to invest in a total retrofit across the whole system.


Reliable Path to a Reliable Storage Solution

However you decide to build out the cable of your network, you need to make sure that it can handle moving your data securely to and from your chosen form of data storage and backup. At SANDirect, we understand you have enough on your plate running your business and managing your brand, so let us handle the heavy lifting of managing your data storage solution.

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