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How do I know what kind of Ethernet cable category should I use for PC?

Fifty years ago a new form of interconnection emerged to share resources and applications under the name “Ethernet”. For the network to function optimally, a special cable is required to ensure its performance. If you wonder how to know what kind of Ethernet cable category should I use for PC? This article is for you.

The truth is that although there are now fiber optics of different types and characteristics , wireless networks and many other types of connection, the Ethernet cable is still very important. Today we will talk about the proper choice of this type of cable.

How do I know what kind of Ethernet cable category I should use for PC?

In a local area network (LAN) the type of cable you use can affect the performance of the connection. Since some devices have an Ethernet port to link them to a gateway, the Ethernet cable becomes the best means to establish the physical connection between these devices and the Network.

The Ethernet cable is very important to the various types of computer networks there are . Therefore, below, we present all the information you need to know about the Ethernet cable, its categories and what you must do to choose the appropriate one.

What is the Ethernet cable?

It is a cable that has the ability to connect any component or device that has an Ethernet port to the network of networks (Internet).   The Ethernet cable is used to connect a computer network without interference and with a standard that establishes the speed of the connection.

Ethernet cables

Ethernet cable categories

There are multiple categories to differentiate the Ethernet cable based on certain certifications that have evolved over time. In this sense, the Ethernet cable has the categories: 3, 5, 5e, 6 and 6a, 7 and 7a. Each category is usable according to the transfer speed and the transmission frequency.

  • Category 3 and 5 (CAT 3 AND CAT 5): Ethernet cables in this category are the most obsolete and do not guarantee high transmission speed.
  • Category 5e: These cables offer an enhanced option that ensures zero interference during connection. CAT 5e cables are the most used in home networks because of their usefulness and low price.
  • Category 6: Cables in this category are more expensive than CAT 5e but support a speed of up to 10 Gbps and have a shield that guarantees an optimal signal.
  • Category 6a: CAT 6a cables support twice the maximum bandwidth and also have a shielded structure that makes them less flexible than CAT 6 cables.
  • Category 7: These cables support transmission rates above CAT 6a cables (up to 100 Gbps) .
  • Category 7a: Ethernet cables in this category offer bandwidth improvements of more than 50%, although these are not widely available on the market at the moment.

In addition to the above, to choose the best network cable for internet connection , you must consider its types (UTP, FTP, etc.) that we talked about in the link provided before.

What category of Ethernet cable should I use for PC?

It is convenient that you verify the speed of your connection and the number of devices that will be added to the network. If you have a very low speed connection (between 10 Mbps and 20 Mbps) then you can use Category 5 Ethernet cable (CAT 5).

If you have a local network where small files are transferred, then you can opt for a Category 5 (CAT 5) Ethernet cable for a transfer speed of up to 100 Mbps. Still, to move large files and with high bandwidth, CAT 5e or CAT 6 cable is best.

Ethernet cable

Direct connection to the router

For home networks, the most viable option is CAT 5e or CAT 6 Ethernet cable , as Category 5 could be inconvenient. Category 6 would ensure high speed transmission for considerable bandwidth and better network performance. Although a CAT 5e cable can also work efficiently.

Once you have purchased the appropriate cable, you can proceed to configure and install a router to connect to the Internet. As we noted before, the choice will depend on what you are looking for and what equipment you own.

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