Getting the right cable for your home network is the basic step towards a stable Ethernet connection. Unlike some opinions, cables for home network matter a lot. There is a wide range of Ethernet cables that work perfectly fine. It entirely depends on your network properties, connection stability, and internet speed. Having a secure connection would also be another important factor. You need to consider all these aspects before home network cabling.
In this article, we'll take a deeper look at how Ethernet cables work and what cable is the best choice for your home network.
Types of Ethernet Cables
There are several Ethernet cables that you can choose from. These cables are divided into various categories. The category number of that cable would help you get a better understanding of that cable. These categories include cat3, cat4, cat5, cat5e, cat6 plenum, and cat7. Categories 3, 4, and 5 are some of the older categories. Some of these cables are still in use in many networks. Cat5e and higher are the best options for your home network.
Cat3 – this is a rather older category of Ethernet cable. You'll get a maximum speed of 10Mbps. (not enough for uninterrupted video and game streaming)
Cat4 – this is also another older category cable. Not much different from its predecessor, cat3. We would not recommend you for your home network.
Cat5 – Category 5 cables have relatively high-end specifications. You’ll get high-speed internet with a stable connection. Your internet speed will not fluctuate much with this cable.
Cat5e – this is an enhanced version of the category 5 cable. You'll have a 10 times higher speed than its older version. You can also use this cable for longer distances. This cable is ideal for your household requirements. This cable supports 10BASE-T, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet networks. You can use this cable for high-definition video and game streaming, among many other tasks. Since this cable has advanced technology, you will not have to worry about crosstalk and EMI.
Cat6 – this cable is rather a newer cable as compared to its predecessors. Category 6 cables are ideal for enterprise-level networks. This cable has a 10Gpbs data transfer rate. This cable is ideal if you want a high-end network connection in your home. It can cater to all the requirements of a fast and stable connection. Not only that, this cable has backward compatibility. You can use it with older categories. That means you will not have to change your entire network. You can simply update it with a newer cable. Many jacket colors are available for all the cat6 solid copper Ethernet cables. You can get one according to your network’s theme. You do not need to worry about EMI and crosstalk with category 6 cable.
Internal Structure of Ethernet Cables
Almost every Ethernet cable has the same internal structure. They are made of copper wires. Some manufacturers use an alloy of copper-clad aluminum. You'll get better connectivity with copper wires. There is eight wire in a typical Ethernet cable. These wires are twisted together to create four pairs. These pairs can either have a protective shield around them or not. Hence the names; UTP and STP. UTP stands for unshielded twisted pair, and STP stands for shielded twisted pair. If your network has many electricity cables, you should choose STP cables. This way, crosstalk, and EMI will not interrupt your connection.
For a home network cabling, you can work with unshielded pairs. Crosstalk and EMI happen when signals from one cable interfere with another passing by cable. This can damage the integrity of your data package. If you are looking for a secure network connection, you should always choose a shielded cable. Though these are relatively expensive cables, they will not compromise your network security.
Data Transfer Rate
This is yet another important factor to consider when getting a cable for a home network. It all depends on the speed that you want from your network. If you just want to watch the video and surf social media, you can work with cat6 1000ft cables. Those cables would give you perfect streaming. You will not have to wait for the video to load. Category 5 cables have a data transfer rate of 1Gbps.
Category 6 cables have a better frequency and data transfer rate than category 5 cables. These cables are ideal for bigger networks like data centers, schools, and universities. You'll get a 10Gpbs data transfer rate with a category 6 cable. You do not need that kind of speed at your home if you just want to stream videos. This cable would cost you more than your budget for your home network. You can create a connection with both older and newer cables. For this purpose, you can use patches of newer categories. Home network cabling can be a hassle sometimes. Before getting a cable for your home network, you need to consider all these factors.