Types of Ethernet Cables The Typology Of Choosing The Right LAN Cable

Ethernet Cables: The Typology Of Choosing The Right LAN Cable

With growing internet speed demands ethernet cables are becoming the first top priority for networking devices. But which cable serves the best as there are vast numbers of Networking cables? This scenario makes it even more difficult to buy ethernet cables.

Some techniques may be necessary to understand while buying ethernet cables for office, home, commercial, or industrial setups. So here we are going to talk about the unsung heroes of networking — The Ethernet Cables. First start with the ethernet cable types and a brief introduction to twisted pair cables. 

Ethernet Cables and Types

Starting with the category 1 cable to category 5 cable all these were made for different perspectives and are wired cables. But they all are obsolete with the modern ethernet cables having the high speed, bandwidth, and rigid internal structure.

The following types of LAN cables are as follows.

      • Bulk Cat5e riser cable
      • Cat5e plenum cable
      • Cat 6 riser cable
      • Cat6 plenum ethernet cable
    • Cat6a riser cable
    • Cat 6a plenum cable

It is important to know all these cables have their specific jackets that need to be discussed to understand the installation location to avoid cable mishaps.

These are the most common types of LAN cables but beneficial for networking while each possesses its capabilities and perks for servers. There are also Category 7 and 8 cables that are totally for industrial and commercial use due to their intense shielded nature. 

Conductor Types of Ethernet Cables

This one is a debatable topic regarding the conductors’ behavior. When to use solid copper or CCA conductor. Three main types of conductors are present in an ethernet cable which are

  • Solid Copper or Bare Copper Conductor 
  • Stranded Copper Conductor
  • Copper-Clad Aluminum (CCA)

So starting with Solid Copper or bare copper, both are solidly constructed, have no mixing, and are performance-oriented. Copper cables are used when there is a need for high-density applications. Copper is also known as a premium conductor due to its enhanced conductivity.

Stranded conductors are also pure forms of conductors but in thin copper strands. Multiple strands of copper become the 8 twisted pairs. They are quite flexible and after crimping with the RJ45 connector, it gets fixed and breaking the bond is not easy.

Last but not least, CCA conductors are a mixture of two components — Copper and Aluminum. The ratio of both these components is 30% copper and 70% Aluminum. Such types of conductors are only for shorter lengths and are not made for high ethernet applications. CCA conductors are also not good for PoE applications. 

Ethernet Cables — Explanation

All ethernet cables though have the same internal structure but still, there are major differences in each category of cable so starting with the Cat5e Ethernet Cable. 

Category 5 Enhanced Cable (Cat5e)

The enhanced category 5 cable (CAT 5E) is the first cable to deliver the gigabit speed at shorter distances (164ft). It has two ratings in its conductor types — Pure Copper and CCA. The Cat5e plenum copper cable is the best combination for high speed and ultimate resistance for the flames. The 24 AWG diameter size of the cable makes it a viable option for major applications. Buying ethernet cables is consumers’ choice but still, cat5e riser copper 1000ft cables are preferred for their cost-effectiveness. The Cat5e riser cable has an improved bandwidth of 350 MHz to work for Fast Ethernet Applications.

Two main jackets entertain ethernet cables — plenum and riser to protect the cable from external environments. Where the plenum is made up of FEP-rated material and used for Horizontal runs. Contrary to the plenum, the riser is a PVC cable and it only entertains vertical spaces of the buildings. 

Category 6 Ethernet Cable

The next advanced ethernet cable with gigabit speed at longer runs 328ft and at shorter distances the cable delivers 10 Gbps speed. The main reason to use this cable is the ideal conductor size — 23 AWG diameter. This is ideal for bulk transmission and sending and receiving bulk information.

Similarly, there are two jackets — Cat 6 riser cable and Cat6 plenum ethernet cable. Both jackets are needed for horizontal or vertical. Where one is premium for fire retardant and the other is a bit less fire resistant if compared with plenum.

Cat 6 riser cable is a cost-effective choice for stringent applications and it is also for residential, commercial, and industrial setups. The 550 MHz bandwidth of Ca6 ethernet cable makes it the best choice for gigabit servers. 

Cat6a Ethernet Cable

The hardcore and kind of expensive network cable for your gigabit server needs is ideal for transferring bulk data in very little time. There are two jackets Cat 6a plenum jacket and Cat6a riser serve the best possible installation locations.

The cat6a is a gigabit-rated cable that has a constant speed over longer and shorter lengths — 10 Gbps. The 23 AWG diameter size identifies the conductor thickness so that you may idealize the potential of the ethernet cable.

This marks the best and the highest bandwidth so far if compared with the older category ethernet cables. The cat 6a plenum cable is used for commercial and industrial applications. Though it can be used for residential use, the server should meet 10 Gbps speed ratings to get the maximum benefit of Cat6a riser cable. 

How To Choose Network Cable?

Choosing ethernet cable will become much easier if you consider some factors before going to purchase ethernet cables. Most server speeds offered by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) reside between 20, 50, 100, and 1000 Mbps. There you should concentrate on your server speed.

The main factors that will guide you to buy the best ethernet cable for your desire are as follows.

  • Check the server speed of your ISP. If it is not gigabit cat5e ethernet cable is best for you.
  • What is the required length you want for your installation? If unaware of the length specs go for bulk Cat5e riser cable.
  • The environment is an important factor in installing cable. Cross-check the environment if it’s preoccupied with power and ethernet cables. 
  • For installing LAN cables to specific destinations there must be two types of cables — plenum and riser. These are indoor jackets and should be used for indoor installation purposes. 
  • PoE Applications — for such activities or applications only solid copper or bare copper conductors are recommended. For PoE, Cat5e riser copper 1000ft cable is the best. 
    • PoE+ Cat6 plenum ethernet cable is the best
    • PoE++ (Type 4) Cat6a riser solid copper delivers the best results.
  • Category cable — Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat6a is better for you. Choose wisely.

There are other factors that you need to know to idealize the best combination of ethernet cables. Which cable specs meet the best demanding applications and installation needs?

  • Cat5e Riser Cable pure copper — Cost-effective choice for fire safety and also the copper conductor will maintain the data flow intact. 
  • Cat5e Plenum Copper 1000ft cable — An expensive option for cabling but it will provide you maximum safety and the copper conductor will stabilize the signal integrity.
  • Cat6 Riser Cable — A cost-effective solution for indoor cabling the riser will provide maximum security and the copper conductor will deliver the best results up to 1000 Mbps. 
  • Cat6 Plenum Ethernet Cable — A highly fire-resistive jacket to protect the conductors and futureproof the cabling infrastructure. 
  • Cat6a Riser Solid Copper — best for 10 Gbps demanding applications it can only be deployed in vertical spaces of the buildings. Best for longer data transmission. 
  • Cat 6a Plenum Cable — This combination is the tough one as the plenum jacket is more expensive than the riser jacket. The cable is fire-proof and also you will get futureproofing after installing the network cable.

Important Note: Plenum is highly fire resistant and is a bit more expensive than the riser jacket. So, for better fire safety regulations you should buy plenum-rated cables. 

Final Thought

Twisted pair cables are needed to get fast data transmission and also copper conductors are involved in providing the best results regarding the Fast Ethernet Applications. The PoE applications are one of the main sources to utilize these Network Cables for their functionality.

Cat5e plenum Copper cable, Cat6 plenum ethernet cable, and Cat 6a plenum solid copper are the expensive options for buying ethernet cables. Cat5e riser cable, Cat6 riser cable, and Cat6a riser cable are less expensive. You must adhere to your demanding cable.

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