The most important equipment used on wired computer networks is an ethernet cable. The use of Ethernet cable is for connecting computers, routers, switches in a local area network. It looks like a phone cable but has more wires and is larger. These cables are physically attached they need to have certain peculiarities. The cables’ physical characteristics alter or modify in accordance of the requirements.

The purpose of the cable’s usability gave birth to different categories. Different type of network cables design creation is to ensure its performance of certain tasks in a particular situation. Therefore, which type of ethernet cable suits the best - is a common headache for us. Why do these cables contain twisted pair of wires? Sometimes these wires have a cover, sometimes they do not. Why so?

The cable designs vary in length, range, intensity, and ability in transmitting network signals. The available standard ethernet cables in the market are the category 5 (CAT5), enhanced category 5 (CAT5E), category 6 (CAT6). The last standard cable is the augmented category 6 (CAT6A).

Let us examine the differences closely.

Specifications

The higher you go in the category, higher is the speed and frequency. The stringent testing elements and added isolation between the wires makes this possible. CAT5 is a standard ethernet cable with the maximum transmission speed up to 100MB/second and a frequency of 100MHz. For Cat5E, the maximum speed rises up to 1GB/second.

The frequency evolves with the Cat6 up to 250MHz along with the maximum speed of 10GB/second. For achieving this speed, Cat6 compromises with its length. All three cables have the maximum length of 100 metres, but for achieving 10GB/second, the length reduces to 55 meters.

CAT6A is the fastest amongst these cables in terms of speeds and frequency. Its length too, unlike the CAT6 remains 100 meters even when it is transmitting 10GB/second. It has a limitation though. The higher frequency up to 500MHz eliminated the alien crosstalk, which could enhance the longer ranges up to 10GB/second.

Twists and Turns Mystery

Alexander Graham Bell while discovering the telephone invented the twists and turns on the cable. For increasing the range and reducing the interference, the cable has twists at regular intervals. This principle of a twisted pair of wires became the basis for our ethernet cord.

There is no predefined standard for the twists, but within a cable, there are specific numbers of turn at regular intervals. A lan cable contains more than one set of wires and these sites have twist lengths based on prime numbers. This is to avoid any twists to align.

Shielded Wires

The primary goal of all the internet cable wire manufacturers is to reduce the external or internal interference while transmission. For achieving this, the wires underneath the sheath have shields. It has a very higher efficiency and cost. Nevertheless, your computer's connection with your wall keystone Jack does not need such high efficiency. Therefore, that can be without shields.

The shield protects from internal cross-talk and interference. Lesser the interference, higher the efficiency!