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Thread: CAt 5 or Cat 6 or Cat 7 whats the difference?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Keimos's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    North Wales

    CAt 5 or Cat 6 or Cat 7 whats the difference?

    Hi All,

    Excuse my ignorance, I have been talking to a telecommunications engineer but he does not know the correct answer. Can you help with an easy non-technical explanation.

    Your Help would be most appreciated.
    Keimos IT - Always learning something new each day
    Hidden Content , Hidden Content my hobby sites

  2. #2
    The higher the number, the higher the capacity and quality of the wire. That's about as oversimplified as I can make it.

    Basically, higher number = better wire.

  3. #3
    What do you want the cable for?
    As Adam says Cat (category) = the higher the better (less noise/resistance) but sometimes its overkill.
    If you want to network two pc's (the most common use I see of cat 5) then contrary to what you will find on most techie sites you can use standard telephone cable. 10 base T ethernet only uses pairs 2 and 3 (the green and orange and the green-white, orange white wires) I've used telephone cable over 90ft as an alternative to wireless networking and it works fine (not great for moving files as a cat 5 cable) but for internet connection sharing it works a treat.

    Post what you want it to do and you might get a better informed answer.
    "I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that don't work" - Thomas Edison.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources" - Albert Einstein.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Keimos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North Wales

    CAt 5 or Cat 6

    Thanks for your quick responses.

    It does not really matter what I want the cabling for. Whats the difference?

    Thanks for your qucik anser Adam but I need a bit more info than that.

    I have a friend who is setting up a call centre and he has been quoted for CAT6 at an outrageous price. My friend and I reckon he will be fine with CAT5 which should work out cheaper.

    What do you think?
    Keimos IT - Always learning something new each day
    Hidden Content , Hidden Content my hobby sites

  5. #5
    CAT5 should be fine for that purpose. The only real use for CAT6 is if you're transferring large amounts (say, 100 MB or more at a time) of data across your network. And even then, you don't get that much more out of it, I've might be slightly faster, but not enough IMO to justify the cost.

    The other thing that needs to be factored in is the speed of the machines sending and receiving data. If you have a an old file server used by 50 PCs, for example, and you hook up a hub and some CAT6 cables to try and speed the whole works up, it may not make any difference simply because the old file server may say "I can't handle these requests this I'll go at my speed, or even crash."

    Why not just get one of those 300-foot spools (or more, depending on how big the call center is) with a crimper and ends?

    You can get a whole set like that in Toronto for $29.99 CAD.

    Something like this.

  6. #6

    We're wiring with...

    We're wiring with Cat-6 in our new building. We had the cost breakdown, and it was like $3 per run difference, which is a bit when you're talking a couple hundred runs, but not that much anyway. We're doing all of our phones and computers with Cat-6.

    Basically, Cat-3 is phone grade cable. 4 wires, no braiding of the wires.

    Cat-5 is 100 Mb (350 Mb for Cat-5e) data grade cable. 8 wires braided at a specific minmum number of twists per feet.

    Cat-6 is 1000 Mb data grade cable. Higher number of twists within smaller tolerances are required for this grade.

    It's not such a big deal in smaller networks, but if you plan on ever hooking multiple switches together and having distict workgroups in distinct switches, or hooking different physical areas of the building together via single runs instead of one run per device, or if you're using several servers, or...

    If you're data heavy, Cat-6 is a good idea. If you're not, consider future needs now so you don't have to rewire. Also, consider resale value of the building if it's done with Cat-6 vs. Cat-5.

    With VOIP and networked video security being installed in our building shortly down the road, Cat-6 almost seemed like a need to have for us. I think we're going to see more places adopting a similar philosophy down the road as well.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Keimos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North Wales

    Cat 5 or Cat 6 or Cat 7 whats the difference?

    Thanks Guys,

    Your input has been really useful.

    From other sources, as well as your selves, the job in hand can be done with 5 , more preferably 5e (cheaper and as effective) as opposed to 6. CAT 7 is another answer and different situation that needs to be looked at.

    Your guidance has most definitely helped, together with other sources.

    Thanks a lot
    Keimos IT - Always learning something new each day
    Hidden Content , Hidden Content my hobby sites

  8. #8
    Just keep this in mind - call center

    If the center will have VoIP - cat5e or cat6 is a must. Most datacenters will use cat6 - gigabit.

    If you will be using any of the wire for the phone based system, especially if it is a VoIP based system, along with data communications you may need to spend more.

    Calculate the size of the call center, number of reps and such. If you get 400 people taking 40+ calls per day, logging each one, with Internet access and email support being done, along with printing, phone communications and possible video applications the faster your wire, the better.

    I have yet to see a call center use "slow" technology - having been in call centers for the better part of 5 years over the past 15 - the data throughput is phenominal - at a small center where under 300 reps were and about 15 accounts there were almost two dedicated T1 lines per account - with half the accounts requiring a dedicated server for the call tracking database and application, mind you these are high-end unix boxes running.

    The thing is, pay a bit more now for the functionality needed later, or pay double when you have to pull the old and replace with new.

  9. #9
    the one thing to add to this post is the cable lengths.

    Cat5 has a maximum length of 100m (from memory) where as Cat6 has a maximum length of about 500m (also from memory).
    (can someone please confirm these lengths if poss.)

    Cat6 is not as widely available as Cat5 so this does have a bearing on cost especially in the UK.

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