Ethernet cables are used to connect home networking devices to your laptop or personal computer. They transmit data through twisted pairs of solid core or copper wires in RJ-45 connectors. Wired connections are often considered more reliable and stable than wireless ones. The type of cable you are going to use is dependent on the types of applications and difference in distance. Most ethernet cables lose signal the further you go with your device. The cable you opt to go for will be decisive in the network’s speed and connectivity, therefore, it’s crucial that you pick the right one for the right applications. Ethernet cables are divided into categories according to their performances, network frequency and the speed they support.
The most commonly used types are the cat5 cable, cat5e cable and cat6 cable. Cat5 cable is compatible with older applications and supports 100 MHz bandwidth and 10/10 megabits per second ethernet connections. The cat 5e is the improved version of the cat 5 and is the most common budget option due to the constantly increasing internet speeds. It can support ethernet connections of 10/100/1000 mbps, and a 100 to 400 MHz bandwidth. All four wire pairs in the cable are used.
Ethernet cables come with a plug at each end. The type of the connection or plug determines the cable’s use. The most common cable is known as the straight-through cable. If you hold the ends of each side you can see that the smaller wires are aligned with the same colours from left to right. These plugs are used to connect two different devices. A cable with different plugs at each end is called a crossover cable and is used to connect one PC to another, or one switch to another.
Solid vs. Stranded
This refers to the copper conductor within the cable. The solid cable uses a single piece of copper, while the stranded cable uses a series of cables twisted together.
Solid cables are not as flexible as the stranded ones but are more durable which makes them more suitable for permanent installations. If you intend to move the cable around a lot, go for the stranded type.
Finding the appropriate cable when setting up your connection is essential. Picking the correct cable can make a huge difference. The cable length and type as well as network speed are the largest factors to consider when buying a cable. If you’re thinking about upgrading your cable, look to upgrade it into cat 6, since the speeds increase constantly and cat 6 can support ethernet speeds of up to 10 gbps. Also, make sure to buy from a known and reputable seller that can guide you to the correct choice.