CAT5 was introduced in 1995 as an upgrade to the pre-existing CAT3 cable (VOICE). This category introduced 10/100 Mbps Ethernet connections over distances of 100m known as fast internet. Since 1999 CAT5 became obsolete and was replaced by the well-known CAT5e. In terms of physically, CAT5 and CAT5e are similar.


Well, simply put, with the introduction of IEEE standards, standard CAT5 cable didn’t meet the requirements. The “E” stands for enhanced meaning it’s been designed with the potential of lower cross-talk in mind.

Cross talk is the interference transmitted from adjacent wires.

CAT5e is probably the most common type of cable used thanks to its gigabit support at a cost-effective price. Despite both supporting 100 MHz, CAT5e has fully replaced its predecessor.

We previously mentioned Fast Ethernet, in terms of the cable structure, it utilizes 2 data pairs whereas Gigabit Ethernet uses 4 pairs of data pairs. This means that CAT5e supports speeds of up to 1000 Mbps in comparison to the previous 100Mbps from CAT5.

So, whether you’re setting up a home network, replacing old cables or looking to enhance your workplace LAN (Local Area Network), on budget CAT5e is for you. Realistically, with todays’ technology and internet speeds, you shouldn’t opt for anything below CAT6. By offering faster data transfers, options for insulation against cross-talk or durability it’s easily outpaces it’s CAT5e predecessor if focusing solely on features.

If you’re working on a budget, CAT5e is for you

Amazingly, CAT6 is entirely backwards compatible. Sadly, in order to make the most of this technology you’ll need routers and network that can support 10Gbps connections. So even if you can’t make the most of those high speeds you’ll still get the added benefits of improved shielding.

In short, CAT5e is limited for both data transfer and construction. For future proofing you’re network, we recommend going for CAT6. Even if it can’t support Gigabit speeds, it may in the future.

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