Definition of Ethernet Cable and Types

Ethernet cable

An ethernet cable is a common sort of network cable which is used with wired networks. Ethernet cables connect devices like PCs, routers, and switches within an area network. These physical cables are limited by length and sturdiness.

If a network cable is just too long or of poor quality, it won’t carry an honest network signal. These limits are one reason there are different types of Ethernet cables that are optimized to perform certain tasks in specific situations.

Definition of Ethernet Cable and Types

A coaxial cable resembles a phone cable, but is larger and has more wires. Both cables share an identical shape and plug, but a coaxial cable has eight wires, while phone cables have four. Ethernet cable connectors are also larger. Ethernet cables are available in different colors, but phone cables are usually grey.

Ethernet cables are plugged into the Ethernet ports, which are a bit larger than phone cable ports.

Types of Ethernet Cables

Ethernet cables do support some industry standards including Category 5 and Category 6. Most technicians refer to these standards as CAT5 and CAT6, respectively. Because of this, many online stores that sell network cables use this abbreviated language as well.

Ethernet cables are manufactured in two basic forms:
Solid Ethernet cables offer slightly better performance. They’re also commonly used on business networks, wiring inside office walls, or under lab floors to fixed locations.
Stranded Ethernet cables are less susceptible to physical cracks and breaks, making them more suitable for travelers or in-home network setups.

Definition of Ethernet Cable and Types

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Categories and performance

A variety of various cables are available for Ethernet and other telecommunications and networking applications. e.g. Cat 5 cables, Cat-6 cables, etc, which are often recognized by the TIA (Telecommunications Industries Association) and that they are summarised below:

Cat-1: This is not recognized by the TIA/EIA. It is the shape of wiring that’s used for normal telephone (POTS) wiring, or for ISDN.

Cat-2: This is not recognized by theTIA/EIA. It was the shape of wiring that was used for 4Mbit/s token ring networks.

Cat-3: This cable is defined in TIA/EIA-568-B. It was popular to be used with 10 Mbps Ethernet networks (100Base-T) but has now been superseded by Cat-5 cable.

Cat-4: This cable isn’t recognized by the TIA/EIA. However, it is often used for networks carrying frequencies up to twenty MHz.

Cat-5: This is not recognized by the TIA/EIA. This is the network cable that’s widely used for 100Base-T and 1000Base-T networks because it provides performance to allow data at 100 Mbps and slightly more (125 MHz for 1000Base-T) Ethernet.

The Cat 5 cable superseded the Cat 3 version and for a variety of years, it became the quality for Ethernet cabling. Cat 5 cable is now obsolete and thus it’s not recommended for brand spanking new installations.

Cat 5 cable uses twisted pairs to stop internal crosstalk, XT, and also crosstalk to external wires, AXT.

Although not standardized, the Cat 5 cable normally uses 1.5 – 2 twists per centimeter.

Definition of Ethernet Cable and Types


Cat-5e: this type of cable is recognized by the TIA/EIA and is defined in TIA/EIA-568, being last revised in 2001. It has a rather higher frequency specification that Cat-5 cable because the performance extends up to 125 Mbps.

Cat-5e is often used for 100Base-T and 1000Base-t (Gigabit Ethernet). Cat 5e standard for Cat 5 enhanced and it’s a sort of Cat 5 cable manufactured to higher specifications although physically an equivalent as Cat 5.

It is tested to a better specification to make sure it can perform at the upper data speeds. The twisted pairs within the network cables tend to possess an equivalent level of twisting because of the Cat 5 cables.


Cat-6: This cable is defined in TIA/EIA-568-B provides a big improvement in performance over Cat5 and Cat 5e. During manufacture Cat 6 cables are more tightly wound than either Cat 5 or Cat 5e and that they often have an outer foil or braided shielding.

The shielding protects the twisted pairs of wires inside the coaxial cable, helping to stop crosstalk and noise interference. Cat-6 cables can technically support accelerates to 10 Gbps, but can only do so for up to 55 meters – this makes them relatively long Ethernet cables.

The Cat 6 Ethernet cables generally have 2+ twists per cm and a few may include a nylon spline to scale back crosstalk, although this is often not actually required by the quality.

Cat-6a: The “a” in Cat 6a stands for “Augmented” and therefore the standard was revised in 2008.

The Cat 6a cables are ready to support twice the utmost bandwidth and are capable of maintaining higher transmission speeds over longer network cable lengths. Cat 6a cables utilize shielded which is sufficient to all or any but eliminate crosstalk. Hence, this makes them less flexible than Cat 6 cable.


Cat-7: This is often an off-the-cuff number for ISO/IEC 11801 Class F cabling. It is aimed toward applications where transmission of frequencies up to 600 Mbps is required.


Cat-8: These cables are still in development, but are going to be released within the foreseeable future to supply further improvements in speed and general performance.

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Ethernet cable pinout

Although the wiring and therefore the cable manufacture details may vary between the various cable categories, the essential connectivity remains an equivalent. In this way, Ethernet cables are often used reliably to form connections between items of kit, etc.

Author: srishti

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