Various Network Cables

Network Cable Basics - Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat7, UTP, STP, FTP

Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat7 network cable: which should you use to build a reliable IP CCTV video surveillance system? The differences are small but impacts are very huge. Typically, network cabling represents 2-3% of the overall network budget. The infrastructure is expected to perform for 10+ years and support 2-3 generations of active electronics. Network infrastructure installation is the most difficult and labor intensive part of the network to replace. Choosing the best solution for your needs saves time and money in the long run.

This Comparison between Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat7 is In the context of the 100-ohm UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) type of cable used for Ethernet wiring. CATx is an abbreviation for the category number that defines the performance of building telecommunications cabling as outlined by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) standards.

Category 5 or Cat5 are the twisted pair cables used for carrying the signals. This is an oldest standard of cabling suitable for low bandwidth networks usually for 10BaseT i.e. 10MBPS & 100BaseT i.e. 100MBPS, used for transmission of Video or Telephony and with we can often find them in olden modems & telephony systems. Such cables are unshielded & often RJ45 connectors are used for such cables as per TIA/EIA-568 & such cables are terminated in either the T568A scheme or the T568B scheme. Such cables are prone to cross-talk due to interference between the wire pairs.

Category 5e or Cat5e is an enhanced version of CAT 5 that uses all the twisted pairs & the cross talk is reduced to a very large extent. The bandwidth is same as CAT 5 as well as the maximum length for the transmission is also same.

Category 6 or Cat6 is designed for the Gigabyte Ethernet & all other physical layers that are backward compatible with CAT 5 or CAT 5e or Voice Grade Cables. CAT 6 cables have very strict specifications to reduce the cross talk & other noises as well as interferences. The bandwidth for such cables is unto 250MHz & is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet), and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet). The maximum length for the transmission for such cables remains same as CAT 5 & CAT 5e. CAT 6A & CAT 6e are same but with reduced noise & cross-talk.

Category 7 or Cat7 (ISO/IEC 11801:2002 category 7/class F), is a cable standard for Ethernet and other interconnect technologies. CAT 7 is backwards compatible with traditional Cat5 and Cat6 Ethernet. Cat7 features even more strict specifications for crosstalk and system noise than Cat6. Shielding has been added for individual wire pairs on the Category 7 cable.

Cat7 has been designed as a standard for Gigabit Ethernet over 100m of copper cabling The cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs, just like the earlier standards. Cat7 can be terminated either with 8P8C compatible GG45 electrical connectors which incorporate the 8P8C standard or with TERA connectors. When combined with GG45 or TERA connectors, Cat7 cable is rated for transmission frequencies of up to 600 MHz. Xmultiple's UltraJAX connectors are designed specifically for these high speeds with not contact pins and a printed circuit board with contact pads integrated into the RJ45 style housing.

Category 7a or Cat7a, which is also commonly referred to as Augmented Category 7, operates at frequencies up to 1000 MHz. CAT7a is designed for multiple applications in a single cable including 40 Gigabit Ethernet, 100 Gigabit Ethernet, and CATV (862 MHz).[1][2][3). Test results have shown 40 Gigabit Ethernet will work up to 50 meters and 100 Gigabit Ethernet is possible up to 15 meters. Small form factor pluggable products are available by Xmultiple in both copper and fiber optics for the 40GB and 100 GB applications.

  • Cat5
    Cat5 supports speeds up to 100Mb/s (100 MHz)
  • Cat5e
    Cat5e supports speeds up to a Gigabit Ethernet (1,000Mb/s) (100 MHz)
  • Cat6
    Cat6 supports speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet and can be achieved with distance of 37-55 meters or less depending on the grade of the cable and quality of installation. (1,000Mb/s) (250 MHz)
  • Cat6A
    Cat6A supports speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet with distance up to 100 meters (10,000 Mb/s)(500 MHz)
  • Cat7 & Cat7A
    Cat7 & Cat7A support speeds up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet with distance up to 100 meters (10,000 Mb/s)(600 Mhz)

 

 

CAT5

CAT5e

CAT6

   CAT6a  

CAT7 (Proposed)

Frequency

100 MHz

100 MHz

250 MHz

500 MHz

600 MHz

Attenuation (min. at 100 MHz)

22 dB

22 dB

19.8 dB

--

20.8 dB

Characteristic Impedance

100 ohms = 15%

100 ohms = 15%

100 ohms = 15%

--

100 ohms = 15%

NEXT (min. at 100 MHz)

32.3 dB

35.3 dB

44.3 dB

27.9 dB

62.1 dB

PS-NEXT (min. at 100 MHz)

NA

32.3 dB

42.3 dB

--

59.1 dB

EL-FEXT (min. at 100 MHz)

NA

23.8 dB

27.8 dB

9.3 dB

(not yet specified)

PS-ELFEXT (min. at 100 MHz)

NA

20.8 dB

24.8 dB

--

(not yet specified)

PS-ANEXT (min. at 500 MHz)

--

--

--

49.5 dB

--

PS-AELFEXT (min. at 500 MHz)

16 dB

20.1 dB

20.1 dB

23.0 dB

14.1 dB

Return Loss (min. at 100 MHz)

16 dB

20.1 dB

20.1 dB

8.0 dB

14.1 dB

Delay Skew (max. per 100m)

NA

45 ns

45 ns

--

20 ns

Networks Supported

100BASE-T

1000BASE-T

1000BASE-TX

10GBASE

40 / 100 Gigabit Ethernet

 

Why are copper pairs twisted?

When telephone lines were first deployed alongside power lines, Alexander Graham Bell, popularly known as the inventor of the telephones, was the first person to twist copper pairs to reduce crosstalk between the lines. Twisting the copper cable every 3-4 utility poles allowed for the reduction of electromagnetic interference and an increase in range. Ethernet copper cables adopted the same technique to reduce crosstalk between internal wires (XT) and external wires (AXT).

Shielded (FTP) vs. Unshielded (UTP)

Twisted pair copper comes in shielded an unshielded forms. Shielded copper cable includes protective conductive coating such as braided strands of copper, copper tape or conductive polymer to reduce noise interference. Unshielded Twisted Pair, or UTP, includes no shielding and is ideal for most common LAN environments. Shielded twisted copper pairs, are reserved for networking environments with higher frequencies.

There are many types of shielded copper pairs. Sheathing can also envelop all four data pairs. Sheathing can wrap around twisted pairs.There are two sections to a shielded “code”. The first letter signifies the type of shield used to enclose all four twisted pairs of an Ethernet cable. An Unshielded cable is marked with a (U), a cable with Foil Shielding is marked with an (F), and a cable with Braided Shielding is marked with an (S). The second portion of the code, describes if a twisted pair is foiled (F) or Unfoiled (U). TP stands for Twisted Pair.

Types of Shielded Ethernet Cables

F/UTP– Foiled/Unshielded Twisted Pair
Common in Fast Ethernet deployments, this cable will have a foil shield that wraps around unshielded twisted pairs.

S/UTP– Braided Shielding/ Unshielded Twisted Pair
This cable will wrap a braided shield around unshielded twisted pairs.

SF/UTP– Braided Shielding + Foil/Unshielded Twisted Pairs
This cable braids a shield around a foil wrap to enclose unshielded twisted pairs.

S/FTP– Braided Shielding/Foiled Twisted Pair
This cable wraps a braided shield around all four copper pairs. Additionally, each twisted pair is enveloped in foil.

F/FTP-Foiled/Foiled Twisted Pair
This cable encloses all copper pairs in foil. Additionally, each twisted pair is enveloped in foil.

U/FTP-Unshielded/Foiled Twisted Pairs
This cable only envelopes the twisted pairs in foil.

U/UTP-Unshielded/Unshielded Twisted Pair
No sheathing is used. Standard Cat5e cable are examples of U/UTP cables.

Solid vs. Stranded Ethernet

These terms refer to Ethernet conductors. Stranded copper cables comprise of several thin copper cables. Solid cable conductors comprise of a single, thick copper cable conductor.

Solid vs. Stranded Ethernet

These terms refer to Ethernet conductors. Stranded copper cables comprise of several thin copper cables. Solid cable conductors comprise of a single, thick copper cable conductor.

Ethernet Nomenclatures 2016

RJ45 Plug & 4 Wire Cable

2016 Ethernet Alliance Roadmap

Sources:
http://blog.planetechusa.com/2016/02/ethernet-different-ethernet-categories-cat3-vs-cat5e-vs-cat6-vs-cat6a-vs-cat7-vs-cat8/
http://blog.planetechusa.com/2016/02/ethernet-different-ethernet-categories-cat3-vs-cat5e-vs-cat6-vs-cat6a-vs-cat7-vs-cat8/
http://www.datatechprofessionals.com/cabletypes.html
http://www.cablek.com/technical-reference/cat-5---5e--6--6a---7--standards
http://www.ethernetalliance.org/roadmap/