Ethernet Cables Explained: Which Category Is Best?

If you require a wired internet connection at your home or office, you’re probably familiar with what an Ethernet cable is for. But you might not realize that your choice of cable could impact your connection in a big way. Although all Ethernet cables serve the same purpose and consist of four twisted pairs of wires, there are differences between the various categories that could affect your overall experience. If you want to take full advantage of your higher bandwidth and speed up your downloads, you might want to pay attention to this guide.

Cat3 and Cat5 Cables
First, let’s talk about a couple of cables you might have used in the past but don’t see nearly as often today. Cables in these two categories may still exist, but they aren’t always readily available anymore — particularly the Cat3. That cable was used frequently in the 1990s, but since it has a maximum bandwidth of only 16 MHz, it’s obviously fallen out of favor and has been replaced with better options. Cat5 cables are still used on occasion, but the next category of cable tends to be the preferable alternative.

Cat5e Cables
Cat5e ethernet cables are the enhanced version of Cat5 (that’s what the “e” actually stands for). You might not be able to tell the difference between the two just by looking at them. But the Cat5e safeguards against unwanted signal transfers. This makes it a more reliable product in general. Plus, it’s faster and affordable — which means it’s no surprise it’s probably the most popular of all the ethernet cable options. This is usually a good go-to for many casual home users. That said, it might not be quite enough for those who depend on fast connections and have the router capabilities that necessitate a better cable.

Cat6 Cables and Cat6a Cables
Cat6 cables are more expensive to produce than Cat5e cables. The trade-off, though, is that they support higher bandwidths. And unlike Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat3 cables, these ones can come with shielding to even further protect against crosstalk and noise interference problems. Cat6a cables are even more advanced. These augmented variations maintain higher transmission speeds over greater distances and actually support twice the maximum bandwidth of regular Cat6 cables. They’re less flexible than Cat6 due to their sheathing, which can be a concern for some. But the fact that they can actually eliminate interference and unwanted signals may be worth it, especially if you frequently stream a lot of video content and use several different devices on a regular basis.

Now that you’re a bit more familiar with the different cable categories, we hope you’ll feel more informed when it comes time to make a purchase. Don’t forget: a new cable isn’t the only component you’ll need for fast internet and high bandwidth capabilities. So buying the newest type of cable may actually work against you if you’re on a slow network with a low-quality router. For more information about determining the best kind of cable for your needs, please get in touch with us today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ethernet Cables

If you don’t have too much experience with technology, all the various types of cables could lead to some major frustrations. Ethernet cables, for example, can seem simple to an engineer, but to the average person, they might be quite complicated to understand. Hopefully, these frequently asked questions can help you better understand Ethernet cables and how they work.

Q. What is the general purpose of Ethernet cables?
A. Ethernet cables connect technological devices together through a local area network. They are most commonly found attached to computers, routers, televisions, game consoles, and switches.

Q. What are the most popular types of Ethernet cables?
A. There are two industry standard cables that are widely used: Category 5e (Cat5e) and Category 6 (Cat6).

Q. What do Ethernet cables consist of?
A. Every type of Ethernet cable has an outer jacket containing four twisted pairs of wires. The twisting of the cable prevents any interference that would otherwise occur within the pairing.

Q. What are the benefits of using Cat6 Ethernet cables?
A. Cat6 Ethernet cable is backward compatible with other cables and uses the standardized twisted pair for connection. Although Cat5 and Cat5e are quality cables, Cat6 cables use more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. These cables can also specify performance of up to 250 megahertz (MHz).

Q. How many times can the plugs be used?
A. The RJ45 plugs on the ends of Ethernet cables can be used between 1,000 and 2,000 insertions.

Q. What is the maximum length of a Cat6 cable?
A. The maximum allowed length for Cat6 runs is 328 feet. This length consists of 295 feet of solid cabling between the wall jack and the patch panel, and 16 additional feet of stranded patch cable between the two jacks and their attached devices.

This has been a brief explanation of the various types and aspects of Ethernet cables. If you want to learn more about Cat6 Ethernet cables, HDMI cables, or any additional information about connections, contact CableWholesale today!

How To Protect Your Data From Power Surges And Fires

The information you store on your tech devices can be put at risk by a number of common hazards. Fires and power surges can unexpectedly wipe out your data if you don’t have any backup files. Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to avoid these potential incidents.
Protecting your data from disaster

Power surges are known to happen when lightning strikes, but most often they occur when the electricity inside of the house is interrupted and then abruptly continued again.

Power surges are dangerous for your data because even so much as a fluctuation in 10 volts can cause functional problems in your tech devices. So you can imagine the damage when a power surge of an average 500 volts rips through your set up.

A surge protector keeps your technology safe from these electric monsters by diverting the excess voltage away from your devices. A surge protector may be a little bit on the expensive side, but ultimately it’s cheaper than the $10,000 that may result in insurance claims. Therefore, consider purchasing a power strip surge protector to keep your information and your devices safe.

Fire is another unfortunate and expensive way to lose your important information and data. There are up to 101 million American iPhone users, which means there are 101 million phone chargers out there in the United States. Among the most common causes of fires are frayed cords from these phone chargers as well as other cables such as lightning cables and HDMI cables. These frayed wires can cause sparks.

These sparks may result in small or large fires depending on their location and what’s around to fuel the flames. Not only does this put the lives of your loved ones at risk, but it also risks your data. Throw away old cords and replace them with new models to keep yourself and your family safe.

Finally, the best way you can protect your data and information is by keeping your files on a backup device. Having a backup of your information on a USB or on a hard drive will guarantee the safety of your information even in the event of a disaster.

However, be sure to keep not just one, but multiple backups in various places. This will keep your original files as well as your first backup files from both being destroyed in a fire.

What You Need To Know About HDMI Cables: The Basics

High-speed HDMI cables can come in a variety of lengths, there’s even a 100 ft HDMI cable out there, and a variety of other options to choose from. They have numerous benefits and the ability to get video resolutions from 480i (standard) all the way to 4k.

There are even HDMI to DVI cables for your computer and other devices, giving you the ability to use High-speed HDMI cables on your monitors and dramatically increase your home or office visual experience.

But how do you find the right cable?

Buying the right highspeed HDMI cable isn’t overly complicated or difficult. If it’s from a reputable vendor and the right length for your needs, then it should work just fine. You don’t need to spend a fortune on the cables either, which is why purchasing them from quality suppliers is always a good idea.

HDMI is an audio-video cable that can send the best image quality and the best sound quality over a single cable. Typically, there are four different types of HDMI cables used today. There is the standard, the standard with ethernet, high-speed, and high-speed with ethernet.

Standard cables are good for 720p and 1080i signals and devices, with the ability to handle 1080p in some cases, though not always. For 3D devices, you want an HDMI high-speed with Ethernet cable, as you’ll get the best performance. The HDMI cables with ethernet capabilities allow for data transmissions, and they’re often a good choice for offices and other professional settings.

Another great benefit of these cables? You don’t have to worry about different numbered versions of HDMI. To be honest we are not even permitted to mention the version numbers! 3D video, for instance, requires HDMI High-speed with Ethernet, and that might cause an issue with a receiver if you’re daisy-chaining between the 3D capable player and a 3D HDTV. But it won’t be an issue with the cables that you use to do it. It’ll be an issue with the hardware itself.

Brand names are, mostly, unimportant as well, though you should always pick a manufacturer that you can trust. A generic HDMI can be just as good as a more recognized brand, which is a bit unusual in the technology world.

If you have questions involving HDMI cables and which one is best for your needs, contact us via the three methods in the blue bar at the top of the page. We’ve got a large amount in stock and can help you pick the right one.

How To Spot A Counterfeit Apple Lightning Cable

Apple iPhones are one of the most popular phones in the world, and one of the oldest brands. Apple has released nine generations of the iPhone so far and stands as the second biggest smartphone vendor in the world in terms of shipment as of 2015.

But you have to be careful with those phones, more specifically their cables.

Lightning cables are the charging cords specific to Apple phones and products. They’re not compatible with most other devices and don’t allow many Apple products to use the more common android-styled charger and cords. Apple has discouraged anyone from using cell phone cables, not of Apple make, or non-Apple products in general for their cell phone cable accessories.

Thankfully they’re all USB cables or based on a similar design. You can plug them into anything USB based and charge them, Apple or not.

But, despite this exclusivity, there are counterfeit options available.

Counterfeit Lightning cables might seem like a good idea, they’re cheaper than purchasing from Apple, but they have issues. They sometimes stop working after a time period, as they’re not directly compatible. Your phone or device might reject them outright. Or it may even cause damage to the device‚Äôs battery.

This renders them useless, and a risk, and means you’re going to have to buy an Apple brand cable anyway, which means you spent more in the long run.

But how do you tell if you have a counterfeit cable? Here are some tips in figuring out if what you have is truly Apple made.

There are many ways of locating if the product is Apple made, the biggest being if it has the “Made for iPhone” sticker on it somewhere, or similar stickers for other devices. Keep in mind, however, that some companies will use this label despite it not being true, in which case you need to look at the cable itself.

You should look carefully at it to identify whether the cable is OEM, from Apple itself, or counterfeit. OEM cables are always high quality and made of premium materials, as have the guarantee of being MFi certified Lightning cables. Third-party knock-offs or counterfeit cables are going to have a poor build quality, and have signs of poor craftsmanship.

Apple itself has stated that some of the things to look for are:

  1. Make sure the Lightning connector is a one-piece design.
  2. Make sure the Lightning connector has a smooth finish.
  3. Make sure the contacts on the Lightning connector are rounded and smooth.
  4. Check for consistency in the white plastic boot’s width.
  5. Make sure the faceplate insert is gray or metallic.

These characteristics are key to ensuring you have the right cable for your phone or device. There are plenty of guides and images online of what a proper lightning cable should look like. Don’t take the risk, avoid cheap knock-offs and stick with Apple approved products like those you find here at CableWholesale.

Back to Basics: What Are Ethernet Cables? How do They Work?

You’ve likely heard the term Ethernet before, but have you ever stopped to think about how Ethernet cables actually work and why they’re still so widely used? If you haven’t, there’s no need to worry. This short guide will help you understand what Ethernet cables are and some of their most important applications. Keep reading to learn more!

What is an Ethernet cable?
Ethernet cables come in a few different categories, but they all serve the same purpose. They are one of the most popular network cables and typically serve as a stable connection to a building’s Internet service. You’ve almost certainly used these colorful cables before to connect a computer to the Internet. In an age where WiFi has been ingrained so fully into our lives, it’s hard to imagine why these network Ethernet cables would be necessary, but the stable connection they provide often surpasses the capabilities of WiFi.

What does an Ethernet cable look like?
Ethernet cables come in many sizes. These cables could easily run from a second story bedroom to a basement family room if necessary. An Ethernet cable may look similar to a phone cable, but the ends are typically larger and the cables themselves hold more material within.

Are there different types of Ethernet cables?
Yes! Cat5e network cables and Cat6 Ethernet cables are frequently used because they offer efficient, reliable bandwidth to support any normal household Internet connection. In addition, Ethernet cables are often categorized as either solid or stranded. Solid cables are used for infrastructures such as home runs between the wall socket and a panel in a media closet while stranded cables patch the device to our wall socket. Stranded are more flexible, offering a tighter bend radius which can be useful around the desk or in very short situations such as connecting ports from a punch down panel to a switch. If you’re looking for a basic and reliable cable, Cat6 and Cat5e network cables are a great starting point.

Wireless technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth have moved in where Ethernet once stood alone, but that certainly doesn’t mean we’ve reached the end of the Ethernet age. This connection is still important for desktop computers and even smart devices such as televisions or other home appliances that utilize the Internet. Whatever the application, now you have a better knowledge of Ethernet cables to move forward with.

Easy Ways to Organize the Mess of Cables Behind Your Computer

It’s no secret that there’s a mess of cables behind your television and your computer station at home. Between your power strip surge protector, the USB cables, and four different types of HDMI cables, it’s hard to know where one cable ends and the others begin! Not to mention it can make a room feel sloppy and disorganized.

Are you ready to learn how to tame that mess of bulk Cat6 cables without wasting an entire weekend? Here are a few things you can do.

Save Those Bread Tags
The plastic tags found on bread bags are so much more than a simple means of keeping your bread from going stale. If you need to keep track of your cables, look no further than these little gadgets! Simply take a marker and use them as labels. The small holes in the plastic tags make for easy placement right on your cables so you always know which plug not to pull.

Got Paper Towels?
If your cables are already pretty organized and you’re just looking for some storage, step back into the kitchen. You know those old paper towel rolls you’ve been throwing away? Turns out you can use them to store bulk Cat6 cables and any number of other cables lurking about in odd drawers here and there. All you need to do is coil your cable and thread it through a paper towel holder. Better yet, you can use that same market from earlier and label your rolls to keep track of each cable as it’s stored.

When in Doubt, use products designed for the task
If you’re not the crafty type or keeping old cardboard tubes just isn’t your thing, there are plenty of products designed to make managing and organizing your cables simple. Spiral cable wraps are great under the desk or behind the entertainment center. They are able to contain cables and can be cut to the necessary length. Depending on the area you are organizing you may find hook and loop straps or nylon clamps useful for securing the spiral wrapped cables. And, for those runs in open space, you might give a thought to cable raceways.

Are Power Lightning Cables All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

When Apple announced its new power lightning cables and charging ports way back in 2012, it seemed like the whole world was in an uproar. Of course, some people still swear by micro USB cables, but the truth is that Apple has won many people over with its innovative technology.

But why do people love the power lightning cables so much? Here’s a quick look at a few things that make these cables go above and beyond your standard USB 3.0 data cables.

One of the biggest innovations of the lightning port continues to be its reversible cable. Like it or not, micro USB just can’t stand up to something like that. Not only does it make for a more user-friendly experience, it creates a lot less wear and tear on both cables and on charging ports. Not to mention that if you put it in the wrong way, nothing is going to get stuck or damaged in the process.

Bi-Directional Transfers
Micro USB 2.0 is unidirectional it can’t charge and transfer files at the same time. This makes it an entirely one-directional cable. While that’s not the worst thing in the world, it certainly doesn’t offer the same convenience that a lightning cable does. It not only works to power your phone, it can power other devices as well without the need for a bulky adapter.

More Power
Despite what you may think, lightning cables are literally more powerful than their micro USB counterparts. While a typical micro USB 2.0 cable is limited to around nine watts of power, a power lightning cable can provide 12 or more watts. This means not only will a phone charge faster using a lightning cable, larger devices such as tablets will also have a reliable source of power when necessary.

Whether you’re a fan of the micro USB standard or not, there’s no denying that lightning cables have some serious advantages over their predecessors. There are more than 101 million iPhone users in the U.S. alone, so it’s certainly safe to say that the lightning cable is holding its own against competitors like the micro USB cable.

The Evolution of Ethernet Cables: 1983 to Today

It’s been more than three decades since the first Ethernet standard was officially approved, but in the years since, it’s become something we expect every day. Ethernet, WiFi, you name it and it all stemmed from this one Ethernet standard. Here’s a quick look at where Ethernet has been, where it is now, and where it potentially could be in the future.

This is the year that 10Base5, thick Ethernet, the very first commercially available variant of what we now call Ethernet was unveiled. The project took approximately three years to complete after the IEEE first commissioned it, but it paved the way for many other changes to come. For example, 1985 saw thin coaxial cables approved, and other modifications were made in 1897, 1990, and 1993.

1995 – 1998
Ethernet was real, but it wasn’t “fast Ethernet” until 1995. This year also heralded the coming of auto-negotiation, which allowed two devices to share data via Ethernet cables. And in 1998, 1 Gbps over fiber optic cables was released. This also marked the development phase for twisted pair Ethernet cables.

2002 – 2006
Ethernet reaches the 10 Gbps milestone in 2002, just after the USB 2.0 specification was released in 2000. This was around the time when Cat5 cables started becoming more relevant and widespread. Unfortunately, 10 Gbps wasn’t feasible over unshielded twisted pair cables until 2006.

This year saw, even more, advances for Ethernet. Cat6 Ethernet cables were in use by this time. In addition, higher speeds were achieved by merging lanes of 10 GBPS technology together.

2016 – 2017
Ethernet evolved past 25 Gbps in 2016. Not only that, but Cat5e cables, Cat6 cables, and Cat6a cables were all available to use. This was certainly a transition time for many businesses that were switching to higher speed networks. The next Ethernet standard which will bring us Category 8 has already been approved. It will, however, be a little while before the physical cables catch up.

2020 and Beyond
The future holds a whole world of possibilities for Ethernet. Anything from higher Gbps to even terabit speeds could come up within the next five years or so. Technology evolves quickly, and Ethernet is no exception to that fast-paced world.

The future certainly looks bright for Ethernet development.

A Few Commonly Asked Questions About Surge Protectors, Answered

Surge protector is likely a term you’ve heard before, but do you know exactly what it is or what the device actually does? If you answered no, then this is the post for you. Keep reading to find some answers to those burning surge protector questions you’ve been pondering.

About Surges and Spikes
Before you begin understanding how a surge protector can help you, you need to understand what they protect your devices against. Electrical outlets are designed to provide consistent voltage to any compatible device, but certain events such as a lightning strike or power outage can cause excess voltage distribution, also known as a surge or a spike. Surges usually measure less than 500 volts and last about two seconds. A spike, however, is a much shorter event that can pack a punch with thousands of volts. Needless to say, these drastic increases in voltage can cause damage to any of your unprotected devices. Without a surge protector, you could be saying goodbye to that new $2,000 flat screen TV.

Are power strips and surge protectors the same thing?
Though many people believe power strips are surge protectors in and of themselves, the answer to this question is no — except under certain circumstances. Just like all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares, these devices can be the same thing, but that’s not always the case. If a power strip is explicitly labeled as a surge protector, then it’s safe to use as such. But if there’s no information like that in the product description or label, you shouldn’t trust these devices as surge protectors for computers or any other devices.

Do you ever need to replace surge protectors?
Unfortunately, yes. Surge protectors don’t last forever. The components they use to divert electricity can wear down over time and with repeated exposure to power surges. Many of these devices, like cell phone accessories, have indicator lights that tell you when a component needs to be replaced, which means you need to keep an eye out for that signal. Some devices even have alarms that can let you know when a surge protector needs to be replaced.

These devices often go unnoticed in our daily lives because a power surge isn’t exactly something that we can see or hear. If your power strip surge protector does its job, you shouldn’t even realize it’s happening.

But whether you can detect a power surge or not, they most certainly happen. And when they do, it’s important that you have the surge protector for computers and for all of your expensive electronic devices.