What's the difference between CAT 5e and CAT 6?

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,241
I need to find some cable, probably CAT 6 for an ethernet run of less than 100 feet. People at the big box store told me to use CAT 5e. It has to be rated for outdoor use, which is what I'm asking about, that and the difference between 5e and 6. I'm also told that I need RJ_45 connectors. Bought some. They don't fit my modem or my router. Not in the ETHERNET port anyway. But it does fit in the INTERNET port on the modem.

I have to return the cable, crimp tool and connectors because I can't use them. The CAT 5e cable I bought, I also bought a crimp tool with a cutter / stripper. But it won't strip the CAT 5e. Yet it's rated as CAT 3, CAT 5e & CAT 6. One thing I'm wondering is whether a CAT 6 (RJ-45) connector will fit in the crimp tool and into the modem and router.

I need someone who KNOWS what the heck they're talking about. The on-line help people probably are busy popping pimples on their breaks, and have no working knowledge of such cabling. Maybe I DO need the CAT 5e (24 AWG, 4 twisted pairs) cable.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,241
This may be a one time only deal. Still, I have a 100 foot cable that needs to run through small openings, hence the need to crimp my own cables. The RJ45 connectors I happen to have are a little too wide AND a little too thick. I can shave them down width wise but the overall height of the face of the contacts protrudes beyond the plastic; and I can't shave them down any.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,641
This may be a one time only deal. Still, I have a 100 foot cable that needs to run through small openings, hence the need to crimp my own cables. The RJ45 connectors I happen to have are a little too wide AND a little too thick. I can shave them down width wise but the overall height of the face of the contacts protrudes beyond the plastic; and I can't shave them down any.
OK.
Normally I would terminate the long cable with a keystone jack then use a short pre-made jumper to the actual device. Using the keystone is easy and protects the actual link cable from end-user abuse.
https://www.computercablestore.com/how-to-terminate-punch-down-style-keystone-jacks
 
The only stripping you have to do is the jacket.

What is important is bed radius, solid or stranded. You have to figure that out.

The jacket determines if it's a plenum rated cable or an underground cable or UV resistant. Figure that out.

There may not be much difference between CAT5e and CAT6, but use the connectors for the category.

I've been using the RJ45EZ, but I've been told that the connectors may have issues at gigabit speeds and they have connectors rated for the higher speeds.

probably more important, and often neglected is that the connectors can be rated for solid, stranded or both types of wires.

I have seen connectors be picky as to using the right brand crimping tool.

The connectors will fit your modem port only after they are crimped.

I recently did have a shrouded cable that would not fit in an SFP Ethernet module. This was the first time that happened. Fit is probably the wrong term. It would not latch.

There is a cute little gizmo that has a braid that will fit on CAT6/RG6 cables with a hook on it. When you pull, it gets tighter.
 

Thread Starter

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
6,241
What is important is bed radius, solid or stranded. You have to figure that out.
Stranded. But bed radius? That is unfamiliar to me.
The jacket determines if it's a plenum rated cable or an underground cable or UV resistant. Figure that out.
What I have in hand is 5e and it's called "Riser". It's rated for "Indoor/Outdoor" applications. Since none of the connections will be outside I feel fairly confident the cable will be OK. As for speed - my wife and I used to streak. But these days we hardly turtle. More like Slothing.
I recently did have a shrouded cable that would not fit in an SFP Ethernet module. This was the first time that happened. Fit is probably the wrong term. It would not latch.
Thank you. I hope it does fit after crimped. That actually makes sense. The width of the cable - that is what seemed to be the problem, but I could be wrong.

Will work on this more tomorrow when it's cool out and the AC can have a chance to cool things down for me. I still have a lot of work to do with lighting here.

"Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,823
There is a significant difference between CAT 5E and CAT 6.

CAT 6 has a plastic guide inside the cable, to maintain separation and position of the four twisted pairs. The number of twists per inch is higher in CAT 6. Plus, there is a limit to the bend radius of the CAT 6.

On the other hand, there is NO difference in the RJ-45 terminators between CAT 5E and CAT 7. If they don’t fit in your router jacks, they are cheap plugs. Or a cheap router. You need to buy plugs that are to specification.

I built hundreds (thousands?) of custom CAT 5E and CAT 6 cables when building out sites in a data center. For reliability purposes, cables were cut and terminated by hand to fit the cabling in all of our racks.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,565
I need to find some cable, probably CAT 6 for an ethernet run of less than 100 feet. People at the big box store told me to use CAT 5e. It has to be rated for outdoor use, which is what I'm asking about, that and the difference between 5e and 6. I'm also told that I need RJ_45 connectors. Bought some. They don't fit my modem or my router. Not in the ETHERNET port anyway. But it does fit in the INTERNET port on the modem.

I have to return the cable, crimp tool and connectors because I can't use them. The CAT 5e cable I bought, I also bought a crimp tool with a cutter / stripper. But it won't strip the CAT 5e. Yet it's rated as CAT 3, CAT 5e & CAT 6. One thing I'm wondering is whether a CAT 6 (RJ-45) connector will fit in the crimp tool and into the modem and router.

I need someone who KNOWS what the heck they're talking about. The on-line help people probably are busy popping pimples on their breaks, and have no working knowledge of such cabling. Maybe I DO need the CAT 5e (24 AWG, 4 twisted pairs) cable.
CAT5e is out of date and almost not used anymore. It was meant to be a temporary spec to qualify for new Gigabit ethernet at the time. Install CAT6, and when you do, use CAT6 components. The name "CAT6" refers to a "structured cabling" standard and each component, like jacks, cables, etc, are designed to comply with the standard. This includes cable test equipment.

RJ45 is also a standard for form/fit but varies in the number of pins and certification spec. Again...use RJ45 certified for CAT6.
For gigabit ethernet, all 4 pairs must be properly terminated.

Permanent, properly run cable will use solid conductor for long horizontal (100 meter max) cable runs. This will require jacks with terminations intended for solid conductors. The purpose for solid conductors is to keep the twisted wire from untwisting (untwisting it will increase crosstalk).

If you use stranded cable (and jacks intended for stranded conductors) for a long run, it will probably work OK for a while. If its not in a wall you can probably easily replace it.

As long as you use tools/components certified for the same specification you'll stay out of trouble.

The 2" bend radius is meant to keep the installer from bending the cable so sharply that is causes separation of the conductors in the cable that will increase crosstalk.

I would use plenum (teflon) cable for everything. If there is a fire, it will not produce toxic fumes.

This is probably more info than you wanted to know...but hey...you asked. ;)
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,565
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymer_fume_fever

Plenum rated cable, I think prevents the spreading of the fire by the wires. You are supposed to have a fire stop.
The fire stop serves a different purpose separate and apart from plenum cable.
Plenum cable is intended to prevent the spread of toxic fumes through a plenum, in ceilings for example.
Most non-plenum cable has a PVC jacket that can produce toxic fumes when burned. Plenum cable (teflon) is "fire retardant" and produces far less fumes when it burns. The jacket itself basically just "shrivels up" when it burns. Fire stop does something similar but prevents spread thru walls.
 

andrewmm

Joined Feb 25, 2011
1,752
For the cost difference,
go for Cat 6A as a minimum, pref CAT 7, its going to be in place for 20 plus years,
20 years ago, main ethernet speed was 10/100, or 1G if your real fast.
now I'm putting in 10G ,

Also
do not terminate the cable in plugs,
terminate each end in sockets,
then use patch cables to the item you want,

Just cost in your time and effort, and the cost of the cable becomes all but zero,
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,823
For the cost difference,
go for Cat 6A as a minimum, pref CAT 7, its going to be in place for 20 plus years,
20 years ago, main ethernet speed was 10/100, or 1G if your real fast.
now I'm putting in 10G ,

Also
do not terminate the cable in plugs,
terminate each end in sockets,
then use patch cables to the item you want,

Just cost in your time and effort, and the cost of the cable becomes all but zero,
Depends what you’re terminating… You still need custom cables to interconnect the devices between the plugs.
 

andrewmm

Joined Feb 25, 2011
1,752
Depends what you’re terminating… You still need custom cables to interconnect the devices between the plugs.
The advantage of the sockets I find, is the termination tool is a lot cheaper then the one needed for RJ45 plugs.

I also find the plugs much less reliable to put on to cables then the sockets, which I get almost 100 percent with,

I use sockets on the fixe cable, and then pre made patch leads for the connections to the equipment
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,641
The advantage of the sockets I find, is the termination tool is a lot cheaper then the one needed for RJ45 plugs.

I also find the plugs much less reliable to put on to cables then the sockets, which I get almost 100 percent with,

I use sockets on the fixe cable, and then pre made patch leads for the connections to the equipment
Exactly.
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/...-between-cat-5e-and-cat-6.180782/post-1652159

Over a extended service life the end-user device patch cables will be likely be replaced several times due to normal wear and tear from the keystone socket.
 
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