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Should I upgrade to CAT6?

Should I upgrade to CAT6?

CAT6 Cable
CAT6 Cable

If you’re asking yourself the question “Should I upgrade to CAT6” than the likely answer is yes: because you’re using old cables.

Most people use CAT5 or CAT5e because this is the mainstream standard these days. One could say that CAT5e is no longer the mainstream standard and that everyone should upgrade to CAT6. The main thing concerning this is that fact that CAT5 cables are already capable of very fast speeds.

Most people have a Gigabit router. This means 1000mbps and it just so happens CAT5e’s theoretical speed limit is 1000mbps. So if your router cannot go faster than 1000mbps then you won’t utilize the speed increase benefits of CAT6.

Upgrading to CAT6 will still have some benefits though which the main being less interference. Lets do a side by side comparison with a chart.

Comparison chart – Chart taken from Diffen.com

Differences

Cat5e

Cat5e

Cat6

Cat6

Speed 1000Mbps 10 Gbps over 33-55 meters (110-165 feet) of cable
Frequency Up to 100MHz Up to 250 MHz
Cost Varies by length and manufacturer, generally $0.20 – $0.30 per foot. Varies by length and manufacturer, with $0.40 – $0.60 per foot as an average; generally about 20% higher than Cat5e.
Performance Less crosstalk/interference than CAT5. Potentially more interference than CAT6. SNR higher
Maximum Cable Length 100 meters 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short distances. For Gigabit Ethernet, 55 meters max, with 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions.
Standard gauges in conductors 24-26 AWG wire 22-24 AWG wire

As you can clearly see from the chart upgrading to CAT6 regardless to whether your using or not will have a benefit regardless.

However if your home network is never under heavy load or stress, and you already have a lot invested in your home network’s cable system it might just be the right idea to hold onto your CAT5e cables, and wait till CAT7 is officially released. Currently some cables are being sold claiming to be CAT7, but in fact there is not official CAT7 standard so more or less they are just super CAT6 cables.

We hope you enjoyed this article and hope it helps you make an informed cable decision. If you are interested in buying CAT6 cable you can do so at Amazon.com