Ethernet cables are used to connect computers and create a network within a home or office. They are also used to connect PCs and laptops to peripheral devices such as scanners and printers and also to hook up computers and games consoles to the internet to allow for internet browsing, downloading and streaming.
By transferring data at very high speeds, Network cables allow the sending of information between hardware so they can share files and software quickly. They are incredibly durable and ensure no information is lost, even with high levels of bandwidth passing through them.
There are different types of Network cable in different lengths and it is important to consider the options and how each one can meet your needs before settling on which one to buy.
Types of Ethernet cable
The different types of Network cables are known as categories, often shortened to cat.
Cat 3 Ethernet cables are used for voice communications and up to 10Mb transfer speeds and are at the bottom-end of the range.
They were replaced by cat 5, which can handle around 100Mbps, are thinner, and became the most common Ethernet cable in home and small office networks.
Cat 5e Ethernet cables are more likely to be used in telecommunications industry applications and are a simplified improvement on the earlier versions. They can handle a gigabit of data and are one of the most widely-used options today.
At the top end of the market are cat 6 Ethernet cables, which are ideal for networks running close to capacity and in need of higher data transfer speeds. These cables are thicker than earlier categories and only really required in speed-dependent, high transfer industry applications.
As well as considering the category of Ethernet cable, there are options in terms of how the cable is made.
There are solid core and stranded cables, with solid core being the preferred option for longer lengths. This type of Ethernet cable is less flexible and so is considerably stronger than stranded cables and less likely to suffer information loss if bent or twisted.
Solid core Ethernet cables are also cheaper because they are easier to manufacture, although consumers must ensure the right connector jacks are used.
Ethernet cable lengths
Ethernet cables are available in different lengths, so there is always one to suit requirements without leaving excess wire hanging around.
The longest Ethernet cables are 100ft, allowing connections between computers, modems and other equipment in different rooms.
The author has experience in Ethernet Cables and Ethernet Cable and Network Cable