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Computer cables get your system talking, so to speak. Achieving full functionality over variable connection volumes and different distances means giving it all the bridges necessary to send and receive data, be it within a local area or over a wide network. Various connections will require different kinds of ethernet cables and other cords, so determining your system needs should always be the first step.
Ethernet cable comes in different categories and can meet various needs depending on what you select. Cat5 cables as well as cat6 cables are composed of a twisted pair structure, meaning a coupled set of wires is wrapped within a protective insulation casing. This design helps cancel out electronic interference and allows data to be carried securely over large physical distances. The color of the insulation casing can tell you how many twists per meter the cable has, what kind of wiring is present, the kind of connecting head it is compatible with and what uses it can handle.
Cat5 cables have largely been replaced by cat5e, or enhanced cables, and cat6 cables also come in cat6a, or augmented, capacity. All variations offer a maximum length of 100 meters, but cat5/5e offers support of up to 100 MHz while cat6 can handle up to 250 MHz and cat6a is approved at 500 MHz. The cat5 cables also are unshielded, meaning interference stands a better chance of breaking the data stream if housed in an environment with many other competing signals.
Determining which cord is right for your system will require accessing your space, planning your network requirements and pricing each option to find the one that most matches your performance and communication expectations.