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CAT5 vs CAT5E vs CAT6

Here is our opinion on choosing the right category of network cable:

  • Cat5 = If you plan on running at most 100 Mbps
  • Cat5e = If you plan on running at 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
  • Cat6 = If you plan on running at 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps) or more. Cat6 is better if you are in areas that have lots of interference like near power lines, lights, manufacturing equipment, or a long distance 1000 Mbps (Gigabit) run.
  • We advise that you run at least Cat5e or Cat6 cable in the walls
  • Cat5e are great for patch cables from the patch panel to the switch or from the computer to the wall jack
  • We very rarely use Cat5 cable anymore.
  • For most applications the CAT5E 350MHz network cables are best. They will run up to 1 Gig and are not as expensive as CAT 6 cables.
  • CAT 6 cables are great for "future proofing" your installation. They are rated to carry network speeds above 1000 Mbps (Gigabit).
  • CAT5E 100MHz are rated to only run up to 100Mbps networks but are inexpensive.

The above statements are the opinion of the and do not represent the solution for every situation. There are exceptions to these statements and a professional should be consulted prior to making a major network cabling decision. Please visit for more information about CAT5, CAT5E, and CAT6 cables.

Chris Frank President of Sphere Technologies, Inc, which is one of the owners of Network Cables Online, LLC. Network Cables Online, LLC sells network cables, ethernet products, computer cables, Power over Ethernet clock, and PoE LED Displays.