Difference Between Cat6 and Cat7

Since the Ethernet cable is characterized with the advantages, such as affordable price, fast transmission speed and good reliability, it becomes more and more popular with people. As technology continues to progress, Ethernet cable also has been improved over time to meet the increasing demand of bandwidth. Cat6 and Cat7 are two kinds of Ethernet cables for 10G Ethernet applications. Do you know the differences between them? Now, this passage will focus on the comparison between Cat6 and Cat7 from five aspects: frequency, transmission distance, wiring, cost and lifespan. First, let’s go to the overview of Cat6 and Cat7.

Overview of Cat6 and Cat7

As the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet cable, Cat6 contains four pairs of copper wire and utilizes all of these pairs for signaling in order to obtain the higher level of performance—supporting 10G Ethernet. In addition, it is backward compatible with the Cat3, Cat5 and Cat5e cable standards. With even more stricter specifications for crosstalk and system noise, Cat7 is designed to allow 10G Ethernet over longer distance. It also contains four twisted copper wire pairs, just like the earlier standards. And Cat7 is backward compatible with Cat5e and Cat6. Here is a figure of Cat6 cable reel and Cat7 cable reel.

Cat6 cable reel and Cat7 cable reel

Difference Between Cat6 and Cat7

It is obvious that Cat7 greatly improves the capacity and reliability of Cat6. So what is the difference between Cat6 and Cat7? This part will focus on five aspects—frequency, transmission distance, wiring, cost and lifespan.

Frequency

Cat6 can perform at a frequency of up to 250 MHz and works fine for normal speeds—10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T, and 10GBASE-T standards. While the frequency of Cat7 is higher and up to 600 MHz, which is 2.4 times as fast as Cat6. And this makes Cat7 suitable for high-speed data rate transmission.

Transmission Distance

Cat6 can reach 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short transmission distance—it can achieve only 55 meters at the speed of 10 Gbps and 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions. While Cat7 can operate at the speed of 10 Gbps with transmission distance up to 100 meters.

Wiring

Cat6 is available in both STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) forms and UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) forms. While Cat7 uses Screen Shielded twisted wire that not only reduces the chances of crosstalk, but also reduces the noise and enhances performance.

Cost

Cat7 costs more than Cat6. Take Fiberstore’s cables as an example, 100m Cat6 cable is 54.00 US$, while 100m Cat7 cable is 200.00 US$. The more cables you purchase, the bigger the price difference will be. Therefore, if your network needs 10 Gbps, maybe Cat6 is a more cost-effective choice.

Lifespan

Cat6 has an estimated lifespan of ten years. While for Cat7, shielding has been added for individual wire pairs and the cable as a whole. Because of this shielding, Cat7 is thicker, more bulky, and more difficult to bend. Cat7 is regarded as the most durable cable and has a longer lifespan of fifteen years than Cat 6.

Conclusion

Careful planning and product selection will be the key to a successful installation. Transmission speed, distance, cost and lifespan are the important factors that you should consider when choosing a transmission media. For 10G Ethernet applications, both Cat6 and Cat7 can be used. However, Cat7 is really high in cost when providing wider bandwidth with longer transmission distance. So you have to think carefully before making a decision. When it comes to make a choice between Cat6 and Cat7, I hope this passage can be helpful for you.

What Is The Difference Between Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6 Cable?

00ftWhen it comes to network cabling, there are always a variety of choices. And there is no doubt that people prefer the cable with high performance and low price. In this article, we will discuss three different copper cable options—Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6. After reading, you will be much more acquainted with these cable specifications and have a better idea of what you would like to use in your network.

Overview of Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6

First, let’s come to the overview of Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 cables. Cat5, or Category 5, is an Ethernet network cable standard defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (commonly known as EIA/TIA). Cat5 cable uses the fifth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology and contains four pairs of copper wire supporting Fast Ethernet. Cat5e, or Cat5 enhanced, is designed to better support Gigabit Ethernet by utilizing all four wire pairs. And Cat5e cable additionally preserves backward compatibility with Fast Ethernet equipment. As the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet cable, Cat6 contains four pairs of copper wire and utilizes all of these pairs for signaling in order to obtain the higher level of performance—supporting 10G Ethernet. Here is a figure of the inner structure of Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6.

Inner Structure of Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6

Differences Between Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6

This part will discuss the differences between Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 from four aspects: speed, length, cost and application.

Speed

Data speed is important for cable selections. You have to choose the cable that is equivalent to what is running on it. As for Cat5 cable, it can handle 10/100 Mbps speed (Fast Ethernet) with bandwidth up to 100 MHz; for Cat5e cable, it can support 1 Gigabit Ethernet with bandwidth up to 100MHz; while Cat6 can support higher data rate of 10 Gigabit Ethernet with bandwidth up to 250 MHz.

Length

The common ground for Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 cable is that they are all designed for short distance data transmission, because they are made of copper wires. Their cable runs are limited to a maximum recommended length of 100 meters (328 feet) for their nominal connection speeds—Fast Ethernet speed for Cat5, 1 Gigabit Ethernet speed for Cat5e and Cat6. At present, Cat5 cable 1000ft (305m), Cat5e cable 1000ft (305m) and Cat6 cable 1000ft (305m) are available on the market, and both of them can support 1000Mbps maximum data rate with 100MHz bandwidth.

Cost

Compared with Cat5e cables, the cost of Cat6 cables is typically 10 to 20% more expensive because of higher transmission speed. However, the cost of these cables are comparatively low, which only takes up a very small portion of the total budget once you consider all the other equipment (racks, servers, switches, routers, etc). For the consideration of your application, Cat6 might be a better choice if higher data rate is required. The additional cost can save you more money in the long run.

Application

Cat5 is often connected to patch panels, switches, routers, desktops, IP phones and many other networks and network devices that utilize the internet. And traditionally, Cat 5e cable is run for the business telephones. Cat 6 is suited for broadband video and digital video applications because of the lower signal losses and better transmission performance at higher frequency.

Conclusion

Be sure to make clear of these three types of Ethernet cables and select the suitable one for your home or business project. I hope the information in this article could be helpful or a guide for you when you are confused about which Ethernet cable to choose.