How to Buy Best Ethernet Cables Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a?

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Buying ethernet cables? Anyone can do that! Buying the best ethernet cables? That is something only a pro can do! In this article, we will walk you through the process of buying the best Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6a ethernet cables. Be sure to read till the end.

Well, you can simply look up ethernet cables near me, visit any store and buy the ethernet cables that you like. But that is not how you buy the best cables.

To do that, you need to first understand what your requirements are. Then you will analyze what cable specifications will fulfil those requirements. And finally, you will purchase the cable that fits your unique needs best. Also, know that there is no such thing as a perfect ethernet cable. Cables such as the Cat 5e, 6, and 6a vary. They come in different variants and you will have to pick the most suitable.

Let’s find out how, and which ones. And more.

Know What You Need

Before you can buy the best Cat5e or Cat6, or even Cat6a Ethernet cables, you need to know what exactly you need. All wired networks can be and are different. For example, if you need the cables for a home network, you can establish a perfect network with both the Cat 5e cables and the Cat 6 cables. Both cables come at different price points and if you do not exactly know which one you need, you will be incurring unnecessary costs.

To avoid that, you need to break down your networking needs bit by bit and declare your requirements. Start by listing the applications you will be using. What would you be using the cables for? For online video streaming or online gaming? Would you use any PoE applications, if so, you will need Ethernet cables with bare copper conductors. You also need to declare whether you need the cables for long-distance transmissions or short distances.

Once you have listed all of your cabling requirements, you will have a profile of the cable that you need. Then you will cross-examine that profile with the different types of cables available on the market, e.g Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a.

Understand Cable Specifications

After you have decided on the requirements you need the ethernet cable to have, understand what specifications different ethernet cables have to offer. The cable specifications that you need to look for are listed below.

Speed and Bandwidth

How fast a connection do you need? Would 1 Gbit/s be enough or a 10 GBit/s speed would suffice? Depending on the types of applications you will be accessing on the ethernet cable, you will get the cable with the appropriate internet speed. Most ethernet cables on our list are capable of providing data transfer speeds between 1 GBit/s and 10 GBit/s and bandwidth capacities between 350 and 750 MHz.

Shielded or Unshielded

If you need the cables for networks with rather a large number of ethernet cables running in parallel, get the shielded cables. For use in uncrowded networks, you can use unshielded cables which are affordable and easy to install as well.

Shielded cables are best for long-distance and crowded networks.

Solid or Stranded

Solid cables are identified by the type of conductor which is made from a single piece of metal whereas the stranded conductors are made from multiple strands of metal.

Like the shielded and unshielded cables, solid cables are better for long-distance transmissions whereas stranded cables are ideal for shorter and indoor runs.

Solid cables are a bit tricky to install as well because of their stiffness. But do not make this a reason not to choose solid cables. They are tricky to install but worth the little trouble.

Which Cable Jacket?

Ethernet cables are produced in Plenum, Riser, and PVC jackets. Plenum (CMP) and the Riser (CMR) jackets are better in quality as compared to the PVC cables. Unless otherwise necessary, do not get the cables with the PVC jacket. It is flammable and can emit toxic smoke in the event of a fire hazard.

Buy the cables with the plenum cable for indoor horizontal runs. CMP cables are also ideal for runs in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) ducts.
The cables with plenum jackets can also be used outdoors.

For indoor vertical runs, get the cables with the riser jacket. But note that riser jackets can emit toxic smoke when burnt. So be sure not to install riser-rated cables in indoor open spaces.

You can use both riser-rated and plenum-rated cables outdoors. CMR cables are more affordable though.

Decide Which One?

Now that you have understood what you need and the specifications different ethernet cables have to offer, you will decide and choose the cable that best fits your requirements.
Below listed are the best ethernet cables you can buy. Find out which one suits your needs best.

Cat 5e

Cat 5e ethernet cable is the best on the market if you are looking for a pocket-friendly cable. We know cabling requirements vary but budget is also an important factor that determines the type of cable you will get.

Cat 5e cable has a data transfer rate of up to 100 MBit/s over 100 meters that can be increased up to 1 GBit/s by running it at up to 50 meters.

Cat 6

The Cat6 cable has a data transfer rate of up to 1 GBit/s over 100 meters with a 550 MHz bandwidth. This cable is ideal for both commercial and residential applications. It has a wire separator unlike the Cat5e cable and can minimize EMI much better.

Buy this cable if you want a fast and reliable cable for multipurpose use.

Cat 6a

6a is the fastest cable on this list. If you want the absolute best cable, without compromise, get a Cat6a. It offers a blazing 10 GBit/s data transfer rate over 100 meters with a 750 MHz bandwidth capacity.
Find a Reliable Vendor & Make the Purchase!
Once you have decided which cable you need, you will find a reliable supplier and make the purchase. To do so, you can either google ethernet cable near me, which will enlist all ethernet cable suppliers around you. You will then visit one of the stores and get the cable you need.

Or, you can simply buy the cable online and have it delivered right to your doorstep. Buying Ethernet cables online is more convenient and you have more options as compared to buying them from a store near you.

Bottom Line

We hope this article was of help to you and that you can make an informed decision now.

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