How to Choose an Ethernet Cable for Your Wired Connection

Ethernet cables usually are not created equal. As such, you need to take into account varied issues to make sure that you’ve gotten the suitable Ethernet cable that fits your particular wants.

This text will present you the best way to choose the suitable Ethernet cable for the job. However earlier than delving into that, let’s begin with the fundamentals.

Ethernet Cable Sorts Defined

Earlier than deciding which Ethernet cable works for you, it is necessary to know various kinds of Ethernet cables. Whereas trying to find an Ethernet cable, a typical time period you’ll stumble upon is “Cat.” Cat refers to “class.” Classes are the names that differentiate the completely different variations of Ethernet cables.

Every Ethernet cable class provides a clue of the utmost pace and bandwidth you must anticipate. To this finish, Ethernet cable variations are straightforward to decipher; the larger the class quantity, the upper the transmission pace and bandwidth. So, a Cat 7 Ethernet cable is healthier than a Cat 5 cable.

This is a breakdown of the completely different Ethernet cable classes and their respective transmission speeds and bandwidth (additionally referred to as frequency).

Cable Class Max. Bandwidth Max. Knowledge Fee Shielding
Cat 1 10kHz 1Mbps No
Cat 2 1MHz 4Mbps No
Cat 3 16MHz 10Mbps No
Cat 4 16MHz 10Mbps No
Cat 5 100MHz 100Mbps No
Cat 5e 100MHz 1Gbps (as much as 328 toes) No
Cat 6 250MHz 10Gbps (as much as 180 toes) Shielded/unshielded
Cat 6a 500MHz 10Gbps (as much as 180 toes) Shielded/unshielded
Cat 7 600MHz 100Gbps (as much as 49 toes) Sure
Cat 7a 1GHz 100Gbps (as much as 49 toes) Sure
Cat 8 2GHz 40Gbps (as much as 98 toes) Sure


From the Ethernet classes listed above, every thing from Cat 1 to Cat 5 is out of date. The truth is, these cables are exhausting to come back by nowadays. When purchasing for an Ethernet cable, you may see Cat 5e and past.

The excellent news is Ethernet cables are backward suitable since they use the identical RJ45 connector, generally because the Ethernet port. So if you wish to ditch your outdated cable for a brand new one, don’t be concerned concerning the RJ45 mumbo jumbo. Newer cables will nonetheless work along with your present ports.

Important Issues to Contemplate When Shopping for an Ethernet Cable

ethernet crossover cable feature

A straightforward approach out when buying an Ethernet cable is to purchase the most recent cable class. On this case, as of March 2022, Cat 8 is the most recent Ethernet cable class, delivering quick transmission speeds and the very best bandwidth. However that could be overkill on your wants and, worse, it will not come low cost.

Consequently, shopping for an acceptable Ethernet cable does not come right down to the class solely. Understanding the important thing options of various Ethernet classes is only a basis. Realizing your wants is the remaining a part of the puzzle. To decipher the ultimate bit, let’s talk about 4 key options that can assist you choose a cable that fits your wants.

1. Most Cable Transmission Capability

The desk above reveals that every Ethernet cable class has its most transmission capability. The utmost transmission capability denotes a cable’s most switch pace. If it’s essential to switch numerous information by way of your wired connection, you must choose a cable with sufficient carrying capability.

As an example, in the event you’re somebody who shoots and edits high-resolution video, you’ll stand to learn by deciding on no less than a Cat 6a Ethernet cable. These in video modifying studios will clearly save extra time by choosing the most recent classes. And in the event you’re the gaming sort, you want a cable with excessive bandwidth and excessive information switch speeds. Try our listing of the perfect Ethernet cables for gaming for particular suggestions.

2. Your Required Cable Size

One other key factor to contemplate is the size of your wired connection. It is necessary to understand that every Ethernet class has a set most transmission capability achievable as much as a sure size. In different phrases, you may solely obtain these high speeds as much as a given size.

A Cat 6a cable, for instance, has a most information price of 10Gbps as much as 180 toes. Past that, the utmost attainable transmission pace will scale back. In brief, the longer the cable size relative to the optimum cable size for optimum information charges, the lesser the utmost transmission speeds.

Network switch cables

With this in thoughts, if it’s essential to switch information by way of Ethernet over an extended distance, you must go for a cable that has the next most information price to compensate for the transmission distance. Let’s use a Cat 7a cable for instance.

It tops out at 100Gbps as much as 49 toes, however at 164 toes, most speeds are lowered to 40Gbps. And at 328 toes, the utmost attainable pace is 10Gbps—nonetheless higher than what you may obtain with a Cat 5e cable on the similar size.

3. Web Pace

Your web pace additionally issues. Shopping for a Cat 7a Ethernet cable with as much as 100Gbps information price whereas your web connection tops out at 1Gbps is nothing in need of overkill. For starters, three issues decide the pace of your wired connection: your cable’s transmission capability, router’s pace, and the capabilities of your units.

If you happen to plan to make use of your cable for connecting to the web, your speeds can be a significant component in influencing what you go for. This is a step-by-step information on the best way to test your web pace. In case your router is the issue, we’ve got suggestions for bettering your router pace. Bear in mind, it does not damage to future-proof your community for a pace improve sooner or later.

4. Software

At dwelling, you might use your cable indoors or run it outside. An ordinary Ethernet cable will care on your wants in the event you plan to run the cable indoors. For outside use, both within the floor or on the floor, it’s essential to discover a cable that is harder to face up to the completely different climate situations.

On this case, do not buy commonplace Ethernet cables; search for outside cables. Outside Ethernet cables have PE coating and use strong copper wires, each of that are harder. For operating cables within the floor, go for “direct burial” cables. They value slightly bit extra, nevertheless it’ll be price it.

Choose the Proper Ethernet Cable for Your Wired Connection

The varied Ethernet cable classes make it exhausting to know which cable is best for you. Nevertheless, realizing your wants will enable you determine it out. Since completely different cables have their scores for pace and bandwidth, as soon as you recognize what your community configuration requires, you may be set. The utmost transmission capability wanted, required connection size, web pace, and your particular use case are key issues to bear in mind.

Selecting a cable that fulfills your wants for the time being is of utmost significance, and in the event you can, you may even go for a cable that future-proofs your wired connection.

5G speeds shown in a speed test on an iPhone, with the beach in the background
Which Is Quickest: Wi-Fi or Ethernet?

If you would like blazing quick web, do you have to use a Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection?

Learn Subsequent

About The Writer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *