For most businesses, finding a good ethernet cable for the workplace is essential in order to ensure reliable and high-speed network connectivity. In this article, we take a look at what ethernet cables are, the different types of ethernet cables one can choose from, and any considerations buyers need to keep in mind when purchasing an ethernet cable. Keep reading below to learn more.
What is an ethernet cable?
Simply put, an ethernet cable – otherwise known as a network cable, are cords that are used to provide an internet connection. It allows users to connect to the local area network (LAN). Usually made from copper wires, the cables connect to ethernet ports to allow for fast transmission of high-speed data and information between devices. These include modems, computers, routers, and switches, to name a few.
Different types of ethernet cables
There are plenty of different ethernet cables in the market. They are generally classified by their maximum bandwidths and transmission speed. In the industry, this is known as category (Cat). The most common types of network cables are:
Cat5– these cables have a maximum speed of 100Mbps, and they are typically unshielded. They have a maximum bandwidth of 16MHz.
Cat5e – these cables have a maximum speed of 1Gps, and they are available in both unshielded and shielded varieties. They have a maximum bandwidth of 100MHz.
Cat6– these cables have a maximum speed of 10Gbps for runs that are under 55 meters (roughly 180 ft), and they are available in both unshielded and shielded varieties. They have a maximum bandwidth of 250MHz.
Cat6a – these cables have a maximum speed of 10Gbps, and they are shielded for up to 55 meters. They have a maximum bandwidth of 550MHz.
Cat7– these cables have a maximum speed of 100Gbps, and they are shielded for up to 15 meters. They have a maximum bandwidth of 600MHz. They use the proprietary GG45 connector rather than the standard RJ-45 connector.
Cat7a – these cables have a maximum speed of 100Gbps, and they are shielded for up to 15 metres. They have a maximum bandwidth of 1,000MHz.
Cat8 – these cables have a maximum speed of 40Gbps, and they are shielded for up to 30 metres with a maximum bandwidth of 2,000MHz.
Consideration when picking one
When it comes to finding a good ethernet cable for the workplace, it is essential to consider a few factors before purchasing one. Here, we detail a few things to keep in mind when choosing an ethernet cable for your workplace.
Buyers should measure the distance between their network devices in order to determine the required cable length that best suits their needs. It is therefore advisable to add some extra length for flexibility and future adjustments. However, buyers should also avoid cables that are excessively long, as it can lead to signal disruptions and loss.
Another thing buyers need to think about is the ethernet cable’s colour. Although the colours available will not affect the performance of the cable, they can also help with cable management and organisation – especially if a business needs to use multiple cables, which can get confusing fast. Buyers should choose a colour that works well with their workplace’s aesthetics and cable routing plans.
Cable jacket material
Ethernet cables come with various jacket materials. For workplace environments, buyers should consider using cables with Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) jackets. This is because they are durable and better suited for most indoor settings. For businesses that are using ethernet cables in harsher environments, such as industrial settings, they can consider picking a plenum-rated or outdoor-rated cable instead.
Buyers should look for cables that are certified by highly reputable organisations such as the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) or the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). This is because having cables that are certified indicates that the cables meet industry standards for both safety and performance.
Shielded ethernet cables (which are typically labelled as FTP or STP) help to offer additional protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI) as well as radio frequency interference (RFI).; This makes them ideal for environments that have a higher risk of interference, such as near heavy machinery or power lines.
Reviews and recommendations
Buyers should research online reviews and seek recommendations from IT professionals or colleagues who have experience with using ethernet cables. This is because their insights can help them to identify reliable brands and models from manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers, such as RS Components.
Think about connecter types
Buyers should pay attention to the connectors that are at the end of the ethernet cables. Most commonly, RJ45 connectors should be found. Buyers should ensure that they are made of high quality and are securely crimped or moulded onto the cable.
Consider future expansion
Buyers should also plan for future network growth and technology updates when picking an ethernet cable to use. This is because technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and businesses need to keep on top of it. Choosing a cable with higher performance capabilities can therefore future-proof a business’s network infrastructure.
Overall, by taking into account the above considerations as well as thinking about what your workplace specifically needs, you can find a high-quality ethernet cable that provides efficient and reliable network connectivity that can help your organisation.