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What is the relationship between cable frequency and bandwidth?

How does bandwidth relate to cable frequency? Find out from infrastructure expert Carrie Higbie, in this response.

What is the relationship between cable frequency and bandwidth? We are more interested in the number of bits we...

can successfully fit into a given bandwidth. This would be for transmission of course. What if we put a switch or two into the path?

Frequency of a cable and bandwidth are related based on the needs for the active electronics and transmission. For instance, you can technically run gigabit on 5e (100 MHz) cabling -- although it has to be installed properly and tested out to all the parameters needed. Category 6 is a 250 MHz specification and will support gigabit with no problem. Headroom and margin above that are a bit of a forgiveness factor, but will not help bits move any faster. For 10 Gbit, you need a cable capable of transmitting at 500 MHz or better. So in short, the higher the transmission rate (bandwidth), the higher frequency in cable is required. This also relates to the encoding scheme used, as in PAM 5, PAM 16, etc.

Now, as for your switch question -- it really won't matter. You will have some latency for address translation, etc. but as long as your channel is not over 100 m you will be fine.

This was last published in April 2007

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