CAT5e vs CAT6The most common standards for Ethernet cables are CAT5e and CAT6. CAT6 cables allow for 10 Gigabit speeds, unlike CAT5e's maximum of 1 Gigabit. However, the 10 Gigabit speeds for CAT6 are only for a distance of 180ft. Both cables can be run for 328ft with a speed of 1Gb/s. CAT6 also allows for two-way communication for each pair of wires, which leads to faster perceived speed. The differences can be summarized below.
|Cost||Approx. 20% more expensive||Less expensive|
|Speed||10 Gigabit||1 Gigabit|
|Distance||180ft for 10Gb, 328ft for 1Gb||328ft for 1Gb|
Boot TypesThe most common standards for Ethernet cables are CAT5e and CAT6. CAT6 cables allow for 10 The main purpose of boots on the RJ45 connector is to prevent the tab from snagging and snapping off. There are several boot types to choose from, but your choice will mostly come down to preference. Each boot type has certain characteristics which may affect your choice.
Assembly/No boot - The tab has no protection, but it is easier to remove the connector. The connector also takes up a little less space.
Ferrari Boot - The connector tab is only partially covered. This means that the connector is easily removed while the boot prevents snags.
Bubble Boot - The connector tab is fully covered. The connector may be a little harder to remove, but it gives the best protection to the connector.
Shielded vs UnshieldedShielding on a cable is simply metal foil wrapped around each pair of wires. This is done to prevent electromagnetic interference from industrial or noisy environments. Shielding tends to make a cable less flexible and is also more expensive.
Plenum vs Riser RatingsPlenum rated cables are meant to be used in plenum spaces, the space between a dropped ceiling and the floor above. Because this space is used for air circulation, plenum cables must adhere to stricter fire regulations to avoid toxic fumes, and therefore use a different jacket material than riser rated cables. In contrast, riser-rated cables are used in non-plenum spaces. Riser-rated cables are subject to less strict fire regulations. This means that plenum cable can be used in place of riser cable, but the opposite is not true. Riser-rated cable also tends to be less expensive than plenum cable.
Solid vs StrandedSolid cables have a solid core conductor, meaning that there is a single piece of copper in each wire. A stranded cable will have several strands of wire making up the core, allowing the cable to be more flexible.
In short, solid cables should be used in more permanent installations, such as inside a wall, while stranded cables should be used where the cable will be accessed more often.