Twisted pair copper computer cabling is used to transmit data from the Internet service provider to your home. The Telecommunication Industry Association has very strict standards that require cable to be labeled as a set category. The categories vary in the performance of the cables. Cat 5 is the most basic computer cabling and comes in both unshielded and screened twisted pairs. The term twisted pairs refers to the two copper wires that are twisted on the inside of the cable. The external covering of the cable helps to protect the lines from having interruptions of communication signals.
Cat 5 is available in two forms. The solid Cat 5 is best for situations where you must run the cable over long distances. Most people use stranded Cat 5 for patching up small areas of space between existing cable lines. Cat 5e is the newest type of Cat 5 cable, and performs much better than the older version. Cat 6 is the highest performing computer cabling. It has a separator that spaces the pairs of twisted wire. This is a huge benefit because it prevents the twisted pairs from cross communicating.
Cat 6 is more expensive than the other alternatives, but it provides faster data transfer and nearly double the bandwidth capabilities of the Cat 5 and Cat 5e.When choosing the best type of computer cable to meet your needs, it is important to consider your future technology plans. While Cat 6 is the most costly option, it is the only one of the three types that can be worked in with any other category of network cable should you need to have a patch.
It is typically best to purchase a larger quantity of computer cabling when you plan to do work on your existing wiring. Small quantities of any of the network cable categories will run you more per foot than buying in bulk. Chances are very good that you will need to make repairs or changes to your current installation sometime in the future, and buying large quantities will definitely save you money down the road. Because Cat 6 is considered so future friendly, it is expected to mesh with future installations well.