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Difference between Cat5E and Cat6 cable

What is the real difference between Cat5E and Cat6 cable? Is there any equipment allowed by the FCC that will utilize Cat6 capability? It is my understanding that currently the FCC does not allow anything over 155mhz so won't Cat5E virtually do the same thing that Cat6 will?

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First, CAT5e is rated to 350M and CAT6 is rated to 550M or 1000M depending on what your source is. Second, CAT5e is built with a 24-gauge wire whereas most CAT6 cabling is built with 23-gauge conductor wire. Finally, CAT6 is supposed to have improved performance and have greater immunity from noise and crosstalk.

Why choose CAT6 over CAT5e? Data rates continue to climb so upgrades are inevitable. Just as in the early 1990's industry moved from Cat3 to CAT5 expect tomorrow's networks to migrate toward CAT6. It is expensive to install cable so many organizations will decide to spend a little more money now to avoid a shorter cable lifespan.

This was first published in January 2003

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