How to Choose an Ethernet Cable – Complete Guide 2022

When shopping for an Ethernet cable, choose an ethernet cable that suits your needs. See Key Features of Ethernet Cable.
How to Choose and Ethernet Cable

How to Choose an Ethernet Cable

For many people, finding the right Ethernet Cable might be a challenge. When it comes to choosing an Ethernet cable, most people think they don’t have to worry. If you choose the right Ethernet cable, you will get the best performance for the best price.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for Ethernet cables so that you can make sure you get the best possible ones.

Performance, Price, Availability, Quality, and other factors all play a vital role in the choice. Even though some of them are hard to figure out, it is important to know what is needed.
Not all Ethernet cables are the same.

There are many different kinds of network cables, including Cat 5, Cat5e, Cat 6, Cat 6e, and Cat 7, as well as different lengths, colors, and other things. And, These are available from a wide number of various retailers and vendors.

You may learn how to choose an Ethernet cable, by reading this article. But let’s start with the basics before we get into that.

How to choose the right Ethernet cable

How to choose the right Ethernet cable

Ethernet cable is frequently referred to as “CAT“, which is short for “Category“. These Categories are used to distinguish Ethernet cable versions. There are several categories of Ethernet cables.

Cat 5, Cat 6, and Cat 7 are all common types of network cables. Cat 5 is the oldest standard, and Cat 7 is the newest and best-performing one. Each Ethernet cable category gives you an idea of how fast it is and how much bandwidth it can handle.

In simple terms, the higher the version, the faster the transmission speed and wider the bandwidth, OR the higher the version of an ethernet cable, the better it will work. So, a Cat 7 Ethernet cable is better than a Cat 5 Ethernet cable.

Different Ethernet cables have different levels of performance, so it’s important to choose a cable that meets the needs of the system. Using the table below, it is easy to compare how well different cables work when they are first bought.

Ethernet Cable Speed Table

Cable CategoryBandwidthTransfer RateShielding
CAT 110 kHz1 MbpsNo
CAT 21 MHz4 MbpsNo
CAT 316 MHz10 MbpsNo
CAT 416 MHz10 MbpsNo
CAT 5100 MHz100 MbpsNo
CAT 5e100 MHz1 GbpsNo
CAT 6250 MHz10 GbpsShielded – Unshielded
CAT 6a500 MHz10 GbpsShielded – Unshielded
CAT 7600 MHz100 GbpsYes
CAT 7a1 GHz100 GbpsYes
CAT 82 GHz40 GbpsYes

All of the Ethernet categories listed above, from CAT 1 to CAT 5, are no longer used. In fact, it’s hard to find those cables these days. When looking for an Ethernet cable, you’ll see CAT 5e and higher.

Difference Between CAT 5 and CAT 5e

  • e” in CAT 5e stands for “enhanced“. There is no difference in the way CAT 5 and CAT 5e cables look. CAT 5e cables, on the other hand, are made under stricter testing rules to prevent unwanted signal transfer between communication channels.
  • CAT 5e is the most popular cable right now, mostly because it is cheap to make and can handle faster speeds than Cat 5 cables.

Difference Between CAT 6 and CAT 6a

  • a” in CAT 6a stands for “augmented“. CAT 6a cables are a step up from CAT 6 cables because they can support twice as much bandwidth. They can also send information at higher speeds over longer cable lengths.
  • CAT 6a cables are shielded, and the sheathing is thick enough to stop crosstalk. This makes Cat 6a cables much denser and less flexible than Cat 6 cables.

Difference Between CAT 7 and CAT 7a

  • As you already know, “a” in CAT 7a stands for “augmented”. Cat 7a is one of the best Ethernet cables you can buy, but it is not widely available and only works with a small number of network devices.
  • Even while Cat 7a cables are a better upgrade in some cases, they are prohibitively expensive compared to other cables. Cat 7a should only be used in very specific situations.

Things to Consider When Buying an Ethernet Cable

Things to Consider When Buying an Ethernet Cable

You should keep in mind some things before buying an Ethernet cable. An easy way is, to buy the latest version of the cable, like CAT 8. But as we discussed earlier, CAT 8 is more expensive than every other cable right on the market. And that may be overkill for your needs.

And buying the latest cable on the market is not an appropriate decision. You have to see your requirements and see the key features of ethernet cable, before doing any purchase. let’s discuss four key features to help you pick a cable that suits perfectly for you.

  1. Data Transmission Speed
  2. Cable Length
  3. Internet Speed
  4. Application

So, these are the 4 key features that help you to pick an Ethernet Cable. Let’s discuss these further in detail.

Data Transmission Speed

The above table shows that each type of Ethernet cable has a maximum amount of data it can send. If you need to send a lot of information over your wired connection, you should consider an ethernet cable with a higher transfer rate.

For example, if you shoot and edit high-resolution videos such as Youtube Videos, you will be better off going with at least a Cat 6a Ethernet cable. People who work in studios will save more time if they choose CAT 8 cable.

And if you like to play games, you need a cable with a lot of bandwidth and a fast rate of data transfer. You should consider at least CAT 7 cable.

Cable Length

The length of your wired connection is another important thing to think about. Remember that each Ethernet category has a fixed maximum transmission rate, you can only go that fast for a certain distance.

For example, a Cat 6a cable can carry up to 10Gbps of data for up to 180 feet. In short, the cable can only attain a fast speed at a certain distance.

Internet Speed

How much data your internet can transfer is also important. Buying a CAT 7a Ethernet cable which can provide a data rate of up to 100Gbps, is totally useless unless you have internet that is capable of sending data at this 100Gbps speed.


You can use your cable inside or outside your home. If you plan to run the cable inside, you can use a standard Ethernet cable. For use on the ground or on the surface outside, you need to find a stronger cable that can handle the different weather conditions.

Don’t buy regular Ethernet cables; instead, look for outdoor cables. Ethernet cables that are used outside have a PE coating and solid copper wires, which make them stronger. Use “direct burial” cables to put wires in the ground. Even though they cost a bit more, it will be worth it.

Choose the Right Ethernet Cable for Your Wired Connection

Because there are so many kinds of Ethernet cables, it’s hard to know which one you need. But if you know what you want, you’ll be able to figure it out. Since different cables have different speeds and bandwidths, you’ll be good to go once you know what your network configuration needs.

Important things to keep in mind are the maximum amount of data you need to send, the length of the connection you need, the speed of your internet, and how you plan to use it.

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