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Network Cables FAQ

What is a Network cable?
A Network cable is a 8-pin high speed cable used to transmit data through computer networks, LAN, ISDN, & T1 connections. These cables are also called Ethernet cables, Cat5 cables, Cat5e cables, Cat6 cables, & RJ45 cables.

What is a Cat5 cable?
A Cat5 cable provides minimum performance of 100 MHz. Most commonly used for networks with data transfer rates up to 100 Mbps. Used with 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T networks.

What is a Cat5e cable?
A Cat5e cable provides minimum performance of 125 MHz and maximum performance up to 350 Mhz.  Enhanced version of CAT 5 (specifications added for far-end crosstalk). Used with 10BASE-T, 100 BASE-T and 1000BASE-T networks (gigabit Ethernet).

What is a Cat6 cable?
A Cat6 cable provides minimum performance of 250 MHz and maximum performance up to 550 Mhz.  Used with 10BASE-T, 100 BASE-T, 1000BASE-T (Gigabit), & 10000BASE-T (10 Gigabit) networks.

When do I need a Cat5e cable?
Cat 5e cables are suitable for 10Mbps networks, 100Mbps networks, and 1Gbps networks.  Although Cat5e cables will work with 1Gbps networks, you may need Cat6 cables if you plan on expanding your network in the future because Cat5e cables will not support 10Gbps networks.

When do I need a Cat6 cable?
Cat6 cables can provide your network with higher bandwidth.  We recommend Cat6 cables for 1G networks and above.  If you are installing a 10G network you must use Cat6 cables.

What does Mbps and Gbps mean?
Mbps and Gbps are units used to measure data transfer rates.

Mbps = Megabits Per Second.
Gbps = Gigabits Per Second.

OK, well what is Mhz?
Mhz stands for Megahertz and refers to the frequency the cable transmits data on. For example, on a 1000BASE-T (1 Gbps) network a Cat6 cable might transmit data at 1 Gbps on a 400 Mhz frequency.

Will Cat6 cables work with Cat5 and Cat5e applications?
Yes. Cat6 cables are backwards compatible and will work with Cat5 & Cat5e applications. This is called backwards compatible because Cat6 is compatible with all previous standards.

What is an unshielded network cable?
Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are made up of 8 internal wires and are the correct solution for most applications.

What is a shielded network cable?
Shielded cables are used for increased protection from interference and crosstalk and are typically used in electrically noisy environments. There are two main types of shielded network cables:

FTP (Foiled Twisted Pair) - The UTP cable is surrounded by an outer foil shield.
S-FTP (Shielded and Foiled Twisted Pair) - The FTP cable is surrounded by an outer conductor of braided shielding.

When do I need a shielded cable & which type do I need?
Shielded network cables are usually used when running cables near any equipment or other cable that might cause interference with your signal.  Common  sources of interference are radio towers, high-powered electrical conduit, or any other device emitting electro-magnetic or radio frequency signals. 

Are your cables terminated with the 568A or 568B wiring scheme?
Our network cables are terminated with the 568B wiring scheme.

Is the 568-A Standard different from the 568A wiring scheme?
Yes. The 568-A Standard is a set of specifications for network cables. It has nothing to do with the 568A wiring scheme. Network cables from dCables are compliant with the 568-A Standard set of specifications.

What is a Stranded cable?
A stranded cable is made of hundreds of thin copper wires within a jacket.

What is a Solid cable?
A solid cable is one solid piece of copper wire within a jacket .

Which type do I need, solid or stranded?
Solid and stranded cables both carry the same signal strength (up to 350Mhz for Cat5e and up to 550Mhz for Cat6).  Stranded cables are known for their flexibility and are used for patch cables that are constantly being plugged, unplugged, bent or installed.  All of our patch cables are stranded cables.  All of our bulk cable is solid because solid cable is more suitable for long cable runs.

What is a plenum rated cable?
Plenum rated means that the cables meet the correct specifications for being run behind a wall, in an air duct, plenum, or ceiling without a being in a conduit.

Can I run non-plenum rated cables behind a wall or in a ceiling?
Yes. If you need to run a non-plenum rated cable behind a wall, we recommend using a PVC or steel conduit. This keeps unwanted persons or objects away from the cable itself.  

What is a Crossover cable?
A crossover cable is a network cable that is terminated differently on one end (green and orange pairs switched).  This cable is used to connect two computers together without a switch. It is also used to directly access some network hardware.

What is the maximum length ?
The maximum recommended length for Cat5e and Cat6 cables without a repeater is 295 feet or 90 meters.

What is RJ45?
RJ45 (registered jack 45) is the name of the connector used on computer networking cables. Another industry name for the RJ45 connector is 8P8C: short for "eight positions, eight conductors." This is a picture of a male RJ45 connector:


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