What is CAT5e Cable?
CAT5e, also known as Category 5e or Category 5 Enhanced, is a network cable standard ratified in 1999. CAT5e offers significantly improved performance over the old CAT5 standard, including up to 10 times faster speeds and a significantly greater ability to traverse distances without being impacted by crosstalk. CAT5e cables are typically 24-gauge twisted pair wires, which can support Gigabit networks at segment distances up to 100 m.
What is CAT6 Cable?
CAT6, derived from Category 6, came out only a few years after CAT5e. CAT6 is a standardised twisted pair cable for Ethernet that is backward compatible with CAT5/5e and CAT3 cable standards.
Like CAT5e, CAT6 cables support Gigabit Ethernet segments up to 100 m, but they also allow for use in 10-Gigabit networks over a limited distance. At the beginning of this century, CAT5e typically ran to the workstations, whereas CAT6 was used as the backbone infrastructure from router to switches.
The main difference between CAT5e and CAT6 cable lies within the bandwidth, the cable can support for data transfer. CAT6 cables are designed for operating frequencies up to 250 MHz, compared to 100 Mhz for CAT5e. This means that a CAT6 cable can process more data at the same time. Think of it as the difference between a 2- and a 4-lane highway. On both you can drive the same speed, but a 4-lane highway can handle much more traffic at the same time.