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Newbie Networker Question about Cat 5 and Cat 6 Cable ?

Tags:
  • Routers
  • Ethernet Card
  • Cable
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
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August 2, 2007 2:39:06 PM

I just bought my first router: a Linksys Etherfast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port Switch (BEFSR41). It came with one cable but of course needs another one, and I am having trouble figuring out which one I need. The outside of the box says it's "Cabling Type" is "Ethernet Catagory 5." I am assuming this means an RJ-45 Catagory 5 cable ? But when I was looking at the stores out where I live I have yet to find even one Catagory 5; only Catagory 6 (although I have found some Catagory 5's on Newegg.com.) My question is: since the box says the router needs an Ethernet Catagory 5 Cabling Type, do I need to stick with an RJ-45 Catagory 5 cable ? Or would a Catagory 6 RJ-45 be safe for this router (i.e if I used the Catagory 6 cable on a router that is probably already using other Catagory 5 cables, would it blow up my router, modem, and/or computer ?) Thank you for your help in this probably very newbie-ish question :o 

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August 2, 2007 3:38:06 PM

Star said:
I just bought my first router: a Linksys Etherfast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port Switch (BEFSR41). It came with one cable but of course needs another one, and I am having trouble figuring out which one I need. The outside of the box says it's "Cabling Type" is "Ethernet Catagory 5." I am assuming this means an RJ-45 Catagory 5 cable ? But when I was looking at the stores out where I live I have yet to find even one Catagory 5; only Catagory 6 (although I have found some Catagory 5's on Newegg.com.) My question is: since the box says the router needs an Ethernet Catagory 5 Cabling Type, do I need to stick with an RJ-45 Catagory 5 cable ? Or would a Catagory 6 RJ-45 be safe for this router (i.e if I used the Catagory 6 cable on a router that is probably already using other Catagory 5 cables, would it blow up my router, modem, and/or computer ?) Thank you for your help in this probably very newbie-ish question :o 


Generally speaking, Cat 6 will work the same as Cat 5 for you. Your router does not need, nor will not utalize the full capability of Cat 6, but it will work fine.
August 3, 2007 6:24:30 PM

Also i would recommend buying your cable off newegg, or a good online store. Stores like Circuit City really rip you off.
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August 8, 2007 10:50:35 AM

cat5 can reach speeds of 100mb whereas cat6 is gigabit, but your router cannot utilize gigabit networking as its just 10/100 router.

August 10, 2007 9:04:16 AM

Cat-6 specification has more stringent requirements for what the wire is required to do for a given length. Impedence and resistance are the 2 biggest ones. You can basically think of it as Cat-6 > Cat-5. Last I heard there's some specs for Cat-7(but not officially approved yet). While Cat-6 > Cat-5 in terms of quality, Cat-6 is also more expensive than Cat-5. There is also a Cat-5e, which is kind of in between Cat-5 and Cat-6. Cat-5e if I remember correctly was a marketing game where companies could say "look, our's meets these specs that aren't approved". It's pretty much just like buying a Draft-N product. It might not meet the real spec, but it 'should' be better than just going with a G device but there's no guarantee it'll be compatible with anything later on down the road.
August 15, 2007 8:42:33 PM

Cat5e will run up to 285 feet and it recommended for 100mbit networks.

Cat6 can run up to around 700 or so feet and is recommended for gigabit networks.

The difference is that Cat6 has most twists per inch than Cat5.

In order to utilize Cat6, you need 2 gigabit NICs, a gigabit Switch (can be built into the router) and Cat6. Without all that, your Cat6 will operate on the level of Cat5.

Your router's WAN port is probably a 10mbit, which is only 1/10th of the speed of a Cat5 cable.

Then your ISP connection will need to exceed 10mbit to even notice any different.

Cat6 is basically for backbones of networks doing high data transfer - we're talking gigabytes of information, megabytes Cat5 can easily cover.
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