In the market for a new Ethernet cable but aren’t sure which kind to buy? Take this easy quiz to find out what you need!
What do you use the Internet for most often?
A. Personal: Just surfing the web, checking Facebook, and watching cat videos.
B. Business: Telecommunication, storing files in the cloud, sensitive data transfers.
C. Gaming: Kicking butt and taking names in real time against other players around the world.
How much are you willing to spend?
A. I’d rather keep all costs to a minimum.
B. I’m not going to take out a loan, but I’m willing to pay a little more for better quality.
C. Whatever it takes — the cost is worth it.
How are your DIY electronics skills?
A. DI-what? Can someone just do it for me, please?
B. I know my way around around a toolkit, but I don’t want to risk blowing up my house, either.
C. I have fiber optic cables practically surging through my veins.
What kind of technology equipment do you have?
A. Nothing fancy — whatever I find at garage sales or inherit from my tech friends who don’t want them anymore.
B. Good, solid equipment with a good track record and a long lifespan.
C. Only the latest and greatest. If there’s a new device out, I’m first in line to buy it.
Mostly As: Cat5 Cables
Category 5 cables aren’t exactly the newest “Cat” in town, but they’ll still get the job done — often even better than a WiFi connection. They’re fast and durable. In fact, a quality-constructed Cat5 cable can easily last through five to 10 years of use. They’re perfect for the person who wants a little bit more juice but doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles.
Mostly Bs: Cat5e Ethernet Cables
For those who need a little something more, Cat5e Ethernet cables can provide up to 1Gb/second speeds at 100MHz frequencies. The “e” stands for enhanced, so you know you’re getting more quality than a Cat5 but still don’t have to spend the extra money on a 6.
Mostly Cs: Cat6 Cables
Cat6 Ethernet cables provide more speed and higher frequencies than either of the other two, but they’re also more expensive and, according to some, a bit fussier to install. But if you answered “C” to even one of the questions above, consider a Cat6 to meet your needs.
Technology is evolving all the time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s out with the old and in with the new. Cat5 and Cat5e Ethernet cables are still perfectly good alternatives for the cost-conscious consumer who just doesn’t need super connection powers. But if you’re looking to up your game, investing in Cat6 can make a big difference to your speed.