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CAT5, CAT5E, CAT6

What is CAT (category) cable?

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CAT cable, short for Category cable, is a type of multi conductor cable. It contains twisted pairs of wires that are used for carrying signals. Most often, you will find these cables are used in data transmission or computer networks. If you have ever looked at the back of your modem or handled an ethernet cable, then you know what CAT cable is. CAT cable is the most ubiquitous networking cable on the entire planet. It is known for its flexibility, durability, and longevity. One question we often hear from our customers is about the differences between CAT5, CAT5e, and CAT6.

"CAT cable is the most ubiquitous networking cable on the entire planet."

Should I use 5, 5E, or 6 CAT cables?

When considering using CAT5, 5E, or 6, the biggest consideration is the application where the cable will be installed. CAT5 cable plays many roles. It's used on computer networks such as ethernet. This cable provides performance up to 10/100 Mbps speeds at up to 100 MHz. This makes it suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T, and 2.5GBASE-T. Also, it's used to carry telephony and video signals. If you're looking for something a little more powerful, check out CAT5E (E = enhanced) cable which is the next step up from CAT5. This cable can handle 1000Mbps speeds (gigabit ethernet) at 100 MHz. For the highest performance available, CAT6 is the right choice. This cable can handle up to 10-gigabit ethernet at 250 MHz. CAT6 is also specifically designed to reduce "crosstalk" better than CAT5 or CAT5E.

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CAT5

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CAT5e

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CAT6

What is crosstalk and how does CAT cable handle it?

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Crosstalk is the term to describe any phenomenon that disrupts the normal flow of data in a cable due to electrical interference. That is to say that when different current-carrying cables are in close proximity to one another, they can have an effect on each other. CAT cable handles crosstalk through several factors including the rate of twist in the twisted pairs of wires and the higher frequencies that are used. This may seem confusing, and to some degree it is, but all you need to know is that CAT cable is specifically designed to help reduce or even eliminate crosstalk.

What connectors can I use with CAT cable?

CAT cables are connected using modular connectors and even punch-down blocks. We currently offer two types of modular connectors, the RJ45 8 position modular plug, and the RJ25 6 position modular plug. We have a free handy installation guide on either of the products pages to make the installation process easier for you. Both the RJ45 and the RJ25 modular plugs are available to be used with CAT5, 5E, and 6 cables. It is important to note that in order to properly install either the RJ45 or the RJ25 modular plug, you will need to use the proper tool.

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RJ45

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RJ25

What tools work with CAT cable?

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To get the most out of your CAT cable, they must be installed properly and that requires the Ideal Telemaster Crimp Tool. This tool is specifically designed to be used with the RJ45 8 position modular plugs. This multi-function tool allows the operator to cut and strip the CAT cable before crimping which makes this tool the ideal choice for field service. Having an all-in-one tool not only makes the installation process simpler but also reduces the number of tools required which saves time and money. This is one of the many reasons that you will find CAT cable in so many different industries.

What industries use CAT cable?

CAT cable can be found in a wide range of industries such as the automation industry, the communication industry, the database industry, and even the solar power industry. It is trusted for its consistent data transmission in tough environments which is why this type of multiconductor cable is so common. With its durability, flexibility, and longevity, it is a smart choice for long-term installations where data transmission is a necessity. Choosing the correct type of CAT cable is not always an easy task. Contact a Pacer expert with any questions that you may have.

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