All network cables are not the same


Not every network cable that you plug into your laptop for internet access is the same. Ethernet or CAT cables vary in strength - there are several common categories. A Cat 3 cable will only be able to handle 10 Mbps, whereas a Cat 6a cable can handle up to 10 Gbps.

Cat 3 and 5 cables should be avoided as most internet connections will allow for speeds of far more than 10 Mbps. A Cat 5e cable is enhanced to prevent crosstalk between channels in the cable - it can handle up to 1 Gbps. It's likely that most cables you'll find in use in 2020 will be Cat 5e cables.

A Cat 6 cable can also support 1 Gbps and will generally be faster than a Cat 5e cable because it is more tightly wound. Speeds will slow down as the length of a network cable increases. Upgrading to a Cat 6a cable can almost entirely eliminate the crosstalk factor

The category of a cable should be printed on its body.


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