Not all network cables are created equal. Depending on what you intend to use the cable for, you may be better off choosing a different cable category. Read on to learn what Cat 6, Cat 7, and the other standards are all about.
Whether you want to hook up two computers over a short distance or cable an entire building, there’s an Ethernet cable standard to suit any scenario – each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The standards are referred to as “categories”, which is where the abbreviation “cat” comes from.
Cat 5: An outdated standard
For many years, Cat 5 cables were king of the cat cables. They were literally everywhere thanks to their 100MHz of bandwidth, which allowed users to transmit data at 10 to 100 megabits per second (Mbit/s) – a far cry from what is often needed today. At the turn of the century the more advanced Cat 5e standard replaced Cat 5, with the launch of the Cat 6 standard rendering both obsolete. All KabelDirekt Ethernet cables meet Cat 6 as a minimum.
Cat 6: For any scenario
With 250MHz of bandwidth, Cat 6 cables can transmit data at up to one gigabit per second (Gbit/s). That’s enough to enjoy the full internet speed offered by most providers – even if you have a fibre connection. Whether you hook up your PC to a router, build a computer network, or want to connect your video game console to the internet, Cat 6 cables are fast enough for most purposes – even for professional use.
KabelDirekt has a range of Cat 6 cables in assorted lengths of up to 30m which are available in two versions: One ultra-flexible UTP (unshielded twisted pair) variant and another F/UTP (foiled/unshielded twisted pair) version with an additional overall aluminium foil shield wrapped around the twisted pairs making it highly immune to noise and interference. The F/UTP version is therefore great for laying with other cables.
Cat 7: For more exacting needs
With up to 600MHz of bandwidth, Cat 7 is perfect for transmitting data at blisteringly fast bit rates of up to 10Gbit/s. With this category of cable, you’re equipping yourself for the next generation of fibre internet connections. And when transferring data between computers or network drives, these cables won’t throttle back the performance of even the fastest SSDs.
KabelDirekt Cat 7 cables feature three layers of screening (SF/FTP – screened foiled/foiled twisted pair) for ultimate immunity from interference, noise, and crosstalk (or put simply: the undesired transmission of a signal to an adjacent twisted pair wire). This makes these cables perfect if you want to combine maximum dependability with high bit rates – something we guarantee through our stringent quality checks and independent fluke testing.
Due to their multiple layers of screening, Cat 7 SF/FTP cables are, however, relatively rigid. If you’re after greater flexibility, go for our flat Cat 7 cables. They’re really thin and flexible, making them perfect for routing along walls and under carpet.
Cat 8: For professional use
Cat 8 cables are even faster than Cat 7. They boast an incredible 2,000MHz of bandwidth and support bit rates of up to 40Gbit/s. Such transmission speeds are only common in the professional server environment, making Cat 8 perfect for use in data centres and for other business uses.
KabelDirekt Cat 8 cables meet the class 8.1 standard, which is compatible with regular RJ45 Ethernet plugs. By contrast, class 8.2 uses special connectors. This means our cables are completely backwards compatible for use in practically any network infrastructure – even if it’s designed for gigabit speeds. If you want to be future-proof, Cat 8 is the way to go.