Ethernet cables are essential when connecting devices in your home, office, or data center. But with the array of choices available, it can take time to decide which type of cable is best for you. This article will provide a detailed comparison between Category 6 (Cat6), Category 7 (Cat7), and Category 8 (Cat8) cables to determine which one will best suit your needs.
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The Cat6 Cable
Cat6 is the most common cable type designed for Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Mbps). You’ll mostly get these in homes and businesses, connecting computers to routers, modems, switches, and other devices at speeds up to 10 Gbps.
Cat6a, or augmented Cat6, is an improved version of Cat6, offering faster speeds of up to 10 Gbps. People mostly use the Cat6a cable for video applications or in-home networks that require higher bandwidth.
Cat6 offers higher bandwidth than its predecessor, the Cat5 cable, and is backward compatible with older devices. It also supports frequencies up to 250MHz—enough to support multiple devices operating simultaneously without any problems. However, on the flip side, Cat6 cables are more expensive than Cat5 and Cat5e cables.
The Cat7 Cable
Rated at up to 10 Gbps, a Cat7 cable offers higher speeds than its predecessors. It also features improved shielding against interference from external sources, making it ideal for use in environments with electrical noise from other devices or appliances.
The main downside of Cat7 is that it can be challenging to find in stores. Blame it on its relatively high cost and specialized nature. In addition, most consumer-grade routers don’t support this type of cable. So if you’re looking for something specifically designed for gaming or streaming media content over your network, this might not be the best option.
The Cat8 Cable – The Newest Kid On the Block
A Cat8 cable offers speeds up to 40 Gbps — making it one of the fastest available. It has more shielding than its predecessors and boasts improved signal quality at lower frequencies than other cables on the market. That means less interference from external sources and better performance overall.
However, this type of cable tends to be expensive due to its higher speed capabilities and improved shielding. So, this might not be your best bet if you’re looking for something inexpensive.
So, Which One Is Right for You?
When deciding which type of category cabling to use for your network setup, there are several factors you should consider. That includes budget, performance requirements, and potential EMI/RFI issues in your particular environment.
If you’re looking for great performance at an affordable price, then a Cat6 might be right. However, if you need maximum speed with minimal latency, then a Cat7 and Cat8 might be worth investing in.
Get the Right Cable Today
All three types of cables offer different benefits depending on your individual needs. In the end, it all depends on what type of setup you have and the budget you’re working with. No matter which option you choose, research your options and find the best fit for your home network. Also, before investing in any cabling, ensure that your router supports it first. Get the right cable to get your devices working seamlessly today.