Cat5e: Faster with Less Interference

Category 5 enhanced cabling, also known as Cat5e plenum, is an improvement on Cat5 cabling. It was made to support 1000 Mbps "gigabit" speeds, so in theory, it's faster than Cat5. It it also cuts down on crosstalk, the interference you can sometimes get between wires inside the cable. Both of these improvements mean you're more likely to get fast, reliable speed out of Cat5e cabling compared to Cat5.

Cat6: Even Faster, But Not Super Necessary

Cat6 plenum cable is the next step up from Cat5e, and includes a few more improvements. It has even stricter specifications when it comes to interference, and in some cases is capable of 10-Gigabit speeds. You probably won't use these speeds in your home, and the extra interference improvements won't make a huge difference in regular ueage, so you don't exactly need to rush out and upgrade to Cat6 plenum
. But, if you're buying a new cable, you might as well, since it is an improvement over its predecessor.

How to Identify Cat6 and Cta6a Cables

Cat6 andCat6A cables
have their identifiers printed on the cable jacket itself — Category 6 or Cat6A plenum
, respectively. Another quick way to tell the two cables apart is to note that Cat6a cables are much thicker and bulkier than Cat6 cables. Note that both types of cables use the same connector — RJ45 — so that is not a way to differentiate between them.

See More: Fast Networking Cables