An Overview of Cat6 Ethernet Cabling

cat6 cable

We may live in the digital age, but not every web user connects to the internet in the same way. If you’ve ditched wireless in favor of Ethernet, you may not realize that there are several categories of Ethernet cables to choose from. One of the newer options, which is still immensely popular in 2018, is the Cat6 cable. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the main points you’ll want to understand about this cable in order to achieve the best possible connection for your needs.

Category 6 Ethernet cables, also known simply as Cat6 cables, were first released back in 2002. That may seem like a lifetime ago in terms of technological advancements, which makes it even more impressive that Cat6 Ethernet cables are still one of the preferred options 15 years later.

These cables contain four pairs of twisted copper wire. This technology uses all four pairs to achieve its high levels of performance. That’s just one of the reasons Cat6 cables are used regularly for computer networking, security systems, and even phone services. Perhaps most notably, Cat6 is backwards compatible with Cat 5, Cat5e, and Cat3 cable standards, meaning that it can work with older systems without the need for a complete technological upgrade.

But the benefits of Cat6 don’t stop there. This type of cabling follows more restrictive specifications for the elimination of system noise and crosstalk. Ultimately, that means its performance is better and more versatile. The improvements made from Cat5 to Cat6 include more available bandwidth, higher reliability, increased data rates, and a better signal-to-noise ratio. That translates to better reliability and fewer errors and data losses. It’s no wonder that this category of cable quickly became the obvious preference for those operating in network installation.

Of course, there are some slight drawbacks. Installing a Cat6 network is a bit more complex than installing previous categories, due to the way the conductors are twisted. While this can easily be performed by a professional, the installation process may take a bit more time. That said, most people feel that the effort is well worth it.

Generally speaking, it’s best to opt for the newest forms of technology. Given how quickly this landscape evolves, it’s important for businesses to have access to equipment with all the improvements and support available. After all, opting for a much older cabling category could result in an inability to make repairs or a comparable replacement. But by using Cat6 cables, you can be assured that you’ll be able to access what you need for many years to come. Because this cable category is compatible with older technology, you’ll likely end up saving money in the long run; instead of having to replace your network and your technology later on, you’ll be able to continue using your existing infrastructure because you thought ahead. And doing that will speak to your success overall.

To find out more about Cat6, Cat5e, and the other categories of Ethernet cable we carry, please contact us today.

Cat Cable 101: The Three Types Of Cat Cables

cat5e network cables

With 3.47 billion users connected to the internet as of March 2017, there are plenty of people making use of Cat cables to stay connected every day. But what are Cat cables? “Cat” is short for Category cables, a type of ethernet cable used for carrying broadband signals to a wide array of computer networks and devices. But not every Cat cable is going to be right for every job. Here are the three types of Cat cables and what you need to know about each of them to make the most out of them, and to ensure you’re getting what you need.

Cat5 cables

A trusty old standby, Cat5 cables are dependent and reliable ethernet cables. Cat5 cables might not be the newest model with all the fancy add-ons, but they’ll certainly do the job and do it well. It might be a bit harder to find them as they’re gradually being phased out, but these tough cables can last between five and ten years. Cat5 cables are well-suited to most home needs, though they might struggle with a larger network.

Cat5e cables

Cat5e network cables are a step up from Cat5; physically, the two look the same, but Cat5e cables can provide just a bit more oomph for faster speeds. They’re also designed to reduce “crosstalk,” or interference between wires, making them more efficient. Cat5e network cables are fairly common and work well for phone lines, home networks, and office networks.

Cat6 cables

The newest type of Cat cable on this list is the Cat6 cable, and this one provides the fastest speeds of the bunch. Cat6 cables can be a bit more pricey, but for some people, the extra speed and power are worth the cost. This type of cable has even more shielding to prevent crosstalk than its predecessor. This cable works well for many of the same applications as a Cat5e, but some devices require specifically a Cat6, so be sure to check which cable is right before purchasing.

Looking to purchase one of these Cat cables, particularly in bulk? CableWholesale has everything you need. Contact CableWholesale for deals on Cat cables, cell phone charging cables, USB cables, and more.

How to Avoid the Dreaded Dead Battery: 3 Phone Tips to Follow

cell phone charging cable

Because we use our devices on a nearly constant basis, we go into crisis mode when our battery levels run low. And unfortunately, that experience typically happens to us at least once a day. Since a recent study found that nearly 90% of people experience anxiety and panic when their phone battery dips below 20%, it’s likely you’ll do everything you can to ensure your device doesn’t die on you. But never fear: our tips are here to help. If you keep these in mind, we’re betting you’ll rarely have to face a reality without your smartphone by your side.

Know How to Make Your Battery Last

This might seem like an obvious tip, but you might be surprised by the number of people who don’t make an attempt to keep their battery usage low. When you use a ton of apps, keep your screen at its ultimate brightness level, and have all push notifications turned on, your phone’s battery is going to drain more quickly. Unless you want to be tethered to your cell phone charging cable 24/7, we suggest you avoid playing games (especially those with ads), disabling your location services, and ditching automatic email fetching. You should also turn down your screen brightness, force quit any apps you aren’t using (and disable any option that allows them to operate in the background), or enable airplane mode when you don’t need to use your phone. Ideally, you should take these steps well before you get the low battery mode notification to preserve your juice throughout the day.

Buy Multiple Cell Phone Cables

Nearly 395 iPhones are sold every minute, but cell phone cable accessories may be a bit of an after-thought. In many cases, you may buy a cell phone charging cable only when yours starts to split and fray or if you’ve traveled a great distance and realize you’ve left yours at home. But you can avoid these panic-inducing scenarios by purchasing multiple cell phone charging cables and keeping one wherever you go. That way, you can have one in key locations throughout your home, at the office, in your purse or travel bag, and in your car. Buying so many charging cables may seem unnecessary, but you’ll be grateful for your foresight when you realize your phone has only a 10% battery charge and you’re far away from your nightstand.

Understand When to Charge Your Phone

There are a lot of misconceptions about phone charging. Some people believe you should wait until the battery dies to charge it up, but that’s actually really bad for your battery. The optimal percentage for your battery is actually between 65% and 75%. If it gets down to 30% to 40%, you should start charging at that point; otherwise, you could jeopardize your phone’s long-term battery performance. Actually, it’s best to charge your phone for a little bit, whenever you have the chance. So if your phone is at 70% or 80% battery, you won’t harm it by plugging it into your cell phone charging cable for a few minutes. That little bit of extra juice can make all the difference if you’ll be traveling all day and need reliable access to the internet and maps.
We hope these tips will help you avoid low battery anxiety and the dreaded dead battery. Of course, quality charging starts with a quality charging cable. To learn more about our cell phone accessories and chargers, please contact us today.

Care Tips For Smartphone Cables

smartphone cable

In the digital age, we need our devices constantly. After all, 64% of Americans owned an iPhone in 2017 — and that doesn’t include the percentage of consumers who rely on non-Apple smartphones. Not surprisingly, most of us have to charge our gadgets at least once a day in order to safeguard our constant connections. To do that, it’s essential to have a smartphone cable (or two) on-hand. But if you don’t maintain your cell phone cables properly, you might have to replace them more than you’d like. You’ll want to follow our top care tips for smartphone charging cables to ensure you won’t be stuck with a low (or dead) battery at the worst possible time.

Wrap the Right Way

When you’re traveling, you might be tempted to just throw your cable in your bag or wrap it haphazardly. Not only can this cause the cable to become tangled, but it can actually shorten its lifespan, too. Cables of all types need to be wrapped in a certain way. Hold one end of the cable and begin wrapping the cord around your hand in a loop, making sure it’s smooth with no twists. You can then secure the cable with a tie or rubber band to keep it in this position. This allows you to avoid bends and crunches in the cable, both of which can impact its performance.

Unplug Properly

When your phone is done charging and you need to bring your cable along with you somewhere, how do you unplug your charger? If you pull on the cable wire itself, rather than disconnecting it from the port or the plug, you’re doing it wrong. Unplugging a smartphone cable by tugging on the jacket is a bad idea that can impact its performance down the line. That’s because you’ll be putting pressure on the cable’s weakest point. If you do this a lot, you may find that your cable won’t charge consistently and that you’ll buy replacements often. In some cases, it may not be that these cell phone accessories are cheaply made knock-offs; it could simply be that you aren’t handling them as you should.

Set It Straight

Examine the stations you normally use to charge your phone. Does your setup require you to bend your cable in order to reach your device? That could be an issue. A bend or kink in your cable can add tension in vulnerable spots and lead to fraying later on. Your smartphone cable should have some slack and should be able to connect to your device without that pressure. If your cord isn’t long enough, invest in one that gives you some more wiggle room.

Of course, protecting your smartphone cable starts with buying a high-quality cord from the start. But if you follow these maintenance tips, you shouldn’t have any issue charging your device in the foreseeable future.

Untangling Cable Colloquialisms: The 3 Most Common Media Cables

hdmi cables

You might know what an HDMI cord does, and you may even own one, but do you know what the letters in HDMI stand for? What about the letters in USB cables? While most people use one of these cables on a daily basis, few consumers actually know what these acronyms stand for.

Whether you’re looking for a replacement phone charger or 100 ft HDMI cables, it can seem like you’re reading alphabet soup. While there are dozens of cord-related initialisms you likely won’t need to know, we’ve deconstructed the three most common household cable initialisms for you. Keep reading to better understand their names and functions.

  • What Does USB Stand For?

    USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and it is an extremely common type of cable used to connect various electronics and devices to computers. Since its release in the late 1990s, USB has certainly earned the U in its name. From flash drives to cell phone cables, this popular connector can transfer information and/or power, depending on the device and application.

  • What Does HDMI Stand For?

    Commonly used to direct digital data to all kinds of screens, HDMI stands for high-definition multimedia interface. This technology allows audio and video information to be conveyed between sources and screens with a single cable and connection. HDMI cables are commonly used with high definition televisions, DVD players, and Blu-ray players. Many laptops and desktop computers also come with HDMI ports. With HDMI cables, you can easily display your computer screen on a high definition flatscreen TV. So whether you’re hoping to binge watch your favorite show or make an important presentation at work, HDMI cables are extremely useful. Like any cable, HDMI standards get updated every few years. For example, HDMI 2.0 hardware supports greater bandwidth (up to 18Gb per second) than older versions. As with any connection option, do research to determine what works best for your equipment. For home use, a 6 ft HDMI cable will usually work fine; for professional A/V applications, 75 to 100 ft HDMI cables can be useful.

  • What Does RCA A/V Stand For?

    One of the most common and familiar cords on this list has perhaps the least intuitive name. This cable is often used to connect stereos, DVD players, and gaming systems to televisions and other equipment. Although slightly outdated thanks to HDMI and other connectors, RCA A/V components are still quite common. These two- or three-pronged cords are easily recognizable because their connectors end in red, white, and sometimes yellow casing. Greater varieties of colors can be found with more complex equipment that requires more connections, such as surround sound systems. As for the abbreviation, RCA stands for Radio Corporation of America, the company that developed the technology, and the A/V, which stands for Audio/Video, is added when the cord offers both audio and visual connections.

There is a whole universe of cables and connections that connect our modern world, from ethernet cables to fiber optic cables to simple power cords. Initialisms, like the three discussed above, make differentiating between cables an even bigger headache. By knowing what they are and what they do, you will be better prepared the next time you’re shopping for electronics or troubleshooting connectivity issues.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Ethernet Cable

ethernet cable types

If you’ve explored the various Ethernet cable types available to you, it’s likely you already know that an Ethernet connection provides a faster, more consistent way to surf the internet. That’s the hope, anyway. Like all other pieces of technology, Ethernet cables don’t last forever. While you probably hoped that connecting the proper Ethernet cable types to your USB 2.0 compliant devices would allow for maximum transmission rates of 480 Mbps, you won’t achieve the fast connections you want if your Ethernet connection is lacking. But how can you tell when your network Ethernet cable needs to be replaced? There are some common signs to look for.

If you’re not always able to connect to the internet, have a notoriously slow connection, or the connection drops, the Ethernet cable could be to blame. If you’ve ruled out the possibility of the cable becoming unplugged somewhere, there could be damage within the Ethernet cable itself that’s inhibiting you from getting online. When your connection is intermittently slow, that can indicate that your cable is on the fritz, while consistent slowness may point to a cable that’s already damaged beyond repair.

Another way to tell that your cable might need to be replaced is whether you can “wiggle” it back to its former glory. It may sound strange, but if a wiggling motion is able to restore your failed Ethernet connection, that can be a helpful clue. It can indicate that your cable connector or internal wire is broken, which means the connection to the internet will always be unpredictable. Even a small movement can disrupt the connection, which can make it extremely difficult to work or play online. Keep in mind that wiggling a damaged cable can worsen the existing damage, so you shouldn’t test this theory to excess. But if you notice a big difference when you wiggle the cable, you may want to explore the different Ethernet cable types available to you for replacement.

There’s a final, easy way to assess whether your Ethernet cable needs to be replaced: if the problems disappear when you use a different Ethernet cable. It may sound quite obvious, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who haven’t tried a different connector to see whether the problem is actually a cable-related issue. If the problem persists, you’ll have a better idea of what isn’t causing it. And if your connection miraculously improves, you’ll have the information you need to purchase a new cable that’ll satisfy your internet needs.

Now that you have a better idea of whether your Ethernet cable needs to be replaced, you can check out our selection of cables that will provide faster, more reliable connections. For more information, contact us today.

All About Surge Protectors: An Electrifying Beginner’s Guide

power strip surge protector

There’s no doubt that we rely on our devices to work, to play, and to communicate. Not being able to use your computer, phone, or television might be a minor inconvenience to some, but to others, it can represent a total disaster of a day. Not only can a mishap like this completely disrupt your plans, but it might even mean you have to replace this very expensive equipment. That’s often the case if your electronics experience a power surge or spike — which means you need to do everything in your power (pun intended) to protect your gadgets.

That’s where surge protectors come in. But how exactly does this technology work? Is it even necessary? And how do you go about choosing a surge protector for computers, television sets, and other technology? We’ll answer those questions in today’s post.

What is a surge protector and how does it work?

Surge protectors are aptly named; they protect all kinds of electronic equipment from power surges and power spikes. These events occur when electrical line voltages undergo sudden shifts — like when an appliance that requires a lot of power turns on or off or a storm causes a power line interruption. Surges typically last longer than spikes do, but they carry less voltage. However, both of these instances can irreparably damage your electronic equipment. Surge protectors will absorb and then channel the extra voltage away from the devices they’re connected to, thus saving you both money and emotional devastation.

Won’t my power strip do the same thing?

A lot of people assume that their power strip fills the need for surge protection. But actually, these two pieces of equipment are not the same thing. A basic power strip will simply provide multiple electronic outlets into which you can plug your electronics. This may allow you to use many types of gadgets at once, but it won’t protect them from surges. However, there are power strip surge protectors, which offer both of these capabilities. Just remember that not every power strip is automatically going to protect your devices; you need to ensure that it actually offers surge protection, too.

Are surge protectors for computers, TVs, and other electronics really necessary?

In a word: yes. You might think that the chances of your device being impacted by a lightning strike are slim to none — and you may be right about that. But that’s not the only instance in which having surge protection is essential. If you use a window unit air conditioner, live in a building with old electrical wiring, have ever dealt with a downed power line, or rely on technology, you need a power strip surge protector. While you don’t need to plug a desk lamp or a box fan into these outlets, they’re the only thing you should use to power up your laptop, charge your phone, or connect to your TV or gaming system. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that if a spike or surge should occur (which happens more often than you’d think!), your devices will be safe.

What should I look for in a power strip surge protector?

There are several factors to consider when choosing a power strip surge protector. First of all, you need to ensure that it has the number of ports you need and that they are spaced so that they can all be used at the same time. Then, you’ll have to pay attention to the protector’s energy absorption rating, which is represented in joules. This number should be as high as possible. For example, to protect an entertainment center, computer, or home theater equipment, get a surge protector with a joule rating of 2500 or higher. You may also want to look at the clamping voltage, a number expressed in volts that basically indicates when the surge protector starts doing its job (you’ll want this number to be as low as possible). Finally, check out the protector’s warranty and certifications to ensure it’s the real deal.

When it comes to your electronics, it’s always best to be prepared and protected. By purchasing a surge protector, you’ll safeguard your tech against the unforeseen.

Internet Misconceptions: Debunking Wired and Wireless Myths

ethernet connection

As of March 2017, there were 3.74 billion internet users all around the world. While many of us feel a need to be constantly connected in this manner, the reality is that not everyone connects in the same way. Case in point: our different internet connection preferences. While some users couldn’t live without their WiFi, others are loyal to their Ethernet connections. There are definitive pros and cons to each method — and each option has its fair share of misconceptions that people believe about these internet hookups. For better or for worse, we’re debunking a few of those myths in today’s post.

MISCONCEPTION: Wireless internet is always better than an Ethernet network.

Reality: Having WiFi may be more convenient, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always better. In fact, an Ethernet connection may be much more beneficial in certain situations. Wired internet is typically seen as being faster, more secure, and more consistent than wireless internet. While improvements have been made to WiFi connections in recent years, they often still pale in comparison to what network Ethernet cables can provide. Of course, having WiFi allows you to move around freely without being tethered to a cable hookup. But if you require something fast and reliable, you’re probably going to find that an Ethernet connection is better for you.

MISCONCEPTION: Only desktop computers can have wired internet connections.

Reality: Actually, you can benefit from an Ethernet connection if you have a laptop computer, too! It may be more common to see desktop PCs hooked up to wired internet networks, but there’s no reason why your laptop can’t be. Of course, you may not want to be forced to work on your laptop in one spot. But if you have a designated desk space or a 500 ft Ethernet cable, you may find that it works great. Plus, it’s an excellent way to ensure you can transfer large amounts of data in a short time period, that you can game without interruption, or that your connection is more secure.

MISCONCEPTION: With WiFi, you’ll get the speeds your ISP promises.

Reality: This is, unfortunately, not usually the case. It may not be because your internet service provider is purposefully trying to deceive you, though ISPs have gotten in trouble for this more recently. Ultimately, it may likely come down to how internet speeds are advertised and how this information is interpreted by the client. Because wireless networks have what’s called environmental degradation — i.e., they become slower when more people are trying to access the airspace — ISPs can’t accurately predict how fast WiFi speeds will be. Therefore, they actually base promised speeds on the devices connected to Ethernet networks. More often than not, you won’t receive the speeds you think you’re paying for if you’re using WiFi. This further illustrates our point from earlier that Ethernet connections are speedier and more reliable. If you really want to get what you pay for, Ethernet is often the best way to go.

Undoubtedly, WiFi does have its benefits. These setups allow multiple devices to connect to the internet and give users the freedom to move around a given area. But this convenience has its drawbacks, too. As we’ve shown here, Ethernet hookups provide more reliability and faster speeds than WiFi can typically offer. When it comes time for you to make a decision pertaining to your internet connection, you might do well to consider the truth behind these myths. That way, the choice you make will be based on your true needs, rather than on what you think you know.

A Brief History of Computer Network Connectivity

History of Computer Network Connectivity

In the digital age, we’re so reliant on our devices and on the internet that it’s hard to imagine our lives without this helpful technology. But the reality is that computers and network connectivity have transformed our world in a very short amount of time. We weren’t always able to connect through screens and share information via URLs. Let’s take a look back at where we began — and how far we’ve come since then.

Although there are now more than 1 billion websites that exist on the world wide web, they all have one website to thank for their creation. The very first website was created on August 6, 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee. It actually offered what many websites still do: useful information. It was all about the internet itself, detailing how others could create web pages of their own and how to use hypertext.

We’ve definitely come a long way since those basic geocities websites. Having your own website wasn’t always seen as a necessity (or even a possibility) for many businesses and individuals. But now, it’s typically a non-negotiable. Web design is now more sophisticated and the marketplace is much more saturated. That’s thanks to advancements in technology and the increased accessibility of the internet in general.

In the 1990s and 2000s, having access to the internet or a cell phone was pretty rare. But as of June 2018, there are now 3.95 billion internet users all around the world. And a good portion of those users are rather young. People ages 15 to 24 represent nearly 25% of people who use the internet on a global scale.

Of course, it helps that mobile devices have become commonplace. The car phones of the past have been replaced with mini-computers (a.k.a. smartphones) that can access the internet with ease. It’s no surprise, then, that there were 3.7 billion global mobile internet users in January 2018. Mobile traffic is actually responsible for more than half of all internet traffic now, too. In 2018, it accounted for 52.2% of all internet traffic (an increase from 50.3% in 2017). While many of us still use personal computers and laptops to access the internet, it’s clear that the trend shows the majority of us conduct searches and visit sites from our mobile devices — and that’s likely not going to change any time soon.

Then again, if the last 27 years are any indication… the internet as we know it could change in the blink of an eye. So try to keep up — if you can.

Keeping Your Fiber Optic Cables Clean: 3 Tips to Know

fiber optic cables
In the digital age, having a reliable internet connection is crucial. While homes and businesses used to rely on network Ethernet cables to connect, many have now switched to fiber optic cables. Since the very first fiber optic cable was used in 1988 to connect the U.S. to Great Britain and France, these installations have become incredibly popular all around the world for their higher capacity, ability to support long-distance connections, and interference blocking abilities.
While bulk fiber optic cables are quite reliable in terms of their performance, you still need to take care that this technology is maintained properly. Having a clean connection is absolutely essential for preventing network failures. If you are in charge of installing and/or maintaining your fiber optic network, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind.

Know the Right Way to Clean

There’s a very specific cleaning process to follow here, as contamination and improper cleaning procedures can lead to significant problems in your network’s performance. Follow every step carefully to ensure you’re able to eliminate dust/contaminants and leave behind a clean environment. First, inspect the fiber cable connector, component, or bulkhead using a fiberscope. Use a dry cleaning technique (like a dry cleaning tape stick or swab) and inspect again. If it’s still dirty, repeat this step. After this has been completed a second time and if the connector is still dirty, you can use a wet cleaning technique (such as a non-volatile optical cleaning fluid) followed by a dry cleaning method to ensure no residue is left behind. Remember that wet cleaning methods are not to be used for receptacles and bulkheads, as this can cause damage. If the contaminant still remains, repeat the recommended cleaning procedures until it is successfully removed. Always wear regulated safety glasses when performing these steps, disconnect cables at both ends prior to cleaning, and to follow all instructions.

Don’t Rely on Eyesight Alone

There’s a very good reason that fiberscope inspections are required for proper cleaning: we simply cannot see most contaminations with the naked eye. Dust particles as tiny as one micrometer can contaminate fiber optic cables and block up to 1% of transmitted light. A speck that’s only nine micrometers in size is way too small for humans to see without the use of a device, but it can block the cable’s core entirely. You’ll need to rely on a fiberscope (or fiber optic microscope) capable of at least 200X to 400X magnification. You can even digitally record the images you capture to examine later on.

Understand Contamination is Inevitable

One point about using fiber optic cable networks is that — even if you use dust caps and install the cables directly out of the bag — you’re going to deal with dust contamination at some point. Oil, dust, debris, and even packaging remnants can easily find their way into connectors and other components. That’s why regular inspection and maintenance is key. Before you ever plug in your cables and to ensure your connections remain clear, you’ll need to make frequent cleaning a priority.
The good news is that, assuming your fiber optics are free of debris, these cables provide a high-quality connection on which you can rely. To find out more about purchasing these cables in bulk or to explore your other cabling options, get in touch with us today.