We live in a world where technology now dominates large sections and entire industries. Its ever-improving nature means there’s constantly a new device or product being created. One of the most consistently used and practical is the Cat-5 Ethernet cable.
For those looking to connect two computers together directly, one of the ways to do so is via their Ethernet ports by using a Cat-5 crossover cable. Cat-5 is just the name given to cables with four wire pairs that each meet the “Category 5” specification for data communications. The conductor size, insulation quality, wire twists, and a multitude of other performance characteristics make up the precise specifications for these cables.
The Cat-5 is most commonly used for household devices, and the improved Cat-5e (or Category 5 enhanced cable) is now available for slightly better performance and results. These can generally be purchased at the same locations. Cat-5 cables will run 10/100 Ethernet, or Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. Cat-5e on the other hand can support 10/100/1000, which includes Gigabit Ethernet.
Cat-5e cables are typically used to wire networks that will carry up to 1000 Mb of data transmission through a number of connections, especially if the cables connecting the peripherals will be physically close to each other. The Cat-5e is viable for connecting a network for anything from a home office or family network to a small business. Even some larger businesses use Cat-5e if they do not manipulate huge amounts of data on a regular basis.
In addition to crossover cables, which are designed for networking two like devices (e.g. computer-to-computer or hub-to-hub), Cat-5 cables can also be made in what’s known as patch cables. Patch cables are designed for networking and devices that aren’t the same; examples include computer-to-router, DSL/cable modem-to-router and computer-to-hub connections.
Cat-5 Ethernet cable is certified up to 100 meters (328 feet), meaning it can perform optimally without any deterioration in signal quality in that range. If the distance is any longer than that, it is recommended that cat-6 cable be used. In short, although these cables serve a multitude of purposes, users need to know what these versatile cables can (and cannot) do.