Data and Network Cabling – Facts and Info


What are data and network cabling?

Data cabling is the physical infrastructure of copper or fiber optic cables that are used to connect devices in a network. Network cables can be wired (like Ethernet) or wireless (like WiFi). For more information on the cable types, see our article on Cat5e cable.

How to choose the right cable for your needs?

Today the average home has at least 10 devices hooked up to their internet, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches and smart TV’s. As more appliances become Internet-capable – from your lawnmower to your washing machine — it’s important to set up a secure wireless network that will keep all of them in working order.

There are many forces involved when you pick out the perfect coaxial cables for your data and network cabling requirements. First comes signal strength, then price per foot, installation ease, durability, and finally how much future-proofing you want in your cabling layout.

When shopping for cables online or at big-box stores, be sure to check whether they are rated for outdoor use. If so, look over the warranty information to make sure it covers your needs.

Router output strength

The first thing you’ll want to do is to check the network’s router output strength. The signal coming off of a router can lose up speed as distance increases, so having an extra boost will improve performance. Using existing wiring, such as Cat-5e or Cat-6 ethernet cable, may help extend your network range. However, if you are using wireless N adapters on devices that are far apart from each other, signal boosters will be required for optimal performance especially if you wish to setup a connection to the granny flat.

Amount of data transfer

Next, consider the amount of data you’re transferring over your network. If you have multiple users who download high-definition movies and play online games then you’ll benefit from faster speeds offered by newer technologies like fiber optic, through coaxial cables are still an option.

Reputable source

Lastly, make sure you purchase your cables from a reputable source; they’ll be more reliable and will come with guarantees which can help if anything is wrong with the product. A great place to start when shopping for ethernet cable would be eBay.

There are hundreds of thousands of ethernet cables available on eBay at affordable prices, allowing consumers to get exactly what they need without breaking the bank.

The different types of cables

Ethernet cables are an essential part of everyday life for many internet users. Whether you’re streaming movies and TV shows, playing games or simply browsing the web, you’ll need an ethernet cable to transmit data between your computer and modem – but not all ethernet cables are equal.

Using the wrong type of Ethernet cable could lead to slower speeds than desired, so it’s important that you choose the right one for your needs. Here’s what you need to know about different types of Ethernet cables:

High-end cables made out of materials like silver offer increased speeds thanks to less electrical resistance; however, they can be expensive when compared to other options available on the market.

Fiber optic cables allow speeds around 10 Gbps (or 10 billion bits per second) and are installed in some companies to connect servers. Fiber optic cables can’t be used outside of a data center, however, because the glass fiber isn’t protected from breaking when it’s bent or pulled;

To choose between these different types of Ethernet cables you should ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What type of cable do I need?
  2. How long does my cable need to be?
  3. How fast does my network device support (maximum transmission unit)?
  4. Do I mind sacrificing speed for the price?
  5. Is it OK if my signal degrades with distance? If so, how much distance is acceptable performance suffers noticeably?


What is the difference between Cat5 vs Cat 5e vs Cat6?

An Ethernet cable is used to connect one device to another for the network. Different types of cables are required depending on how long the cable needs to be and what type of devices are being connected together.


The Cat5 cable was the star performer in the last age of Ethernet cabling and is still a strong contender in today’s market. It was designed with computers in mind where speeds were only up to 100 Mbps (megabits per second). The maximum length that these cables could support full-duplex communication was 100 meters (around 328 feet). They come either as stranded or solid core cables, both relying on 8P8C RJ45 connectors (commonly called RJ connectors). Solid core cable relies on thicker wires inside the sheath that can easily bend which makes them best for shorter runs around the home. The stranded cabling on the other hand has more fragile thinner wires but they are more flexible and durable, great for longer cable runs where you’ll be moving your Ethernet cables around regularly like in an office setup.


The Cat5e was created to extend Ethernet speeds up to 1 Gbps (1000Mbps). It uses all four pairs of wire (8 wires) offering better resistance to noise interference, making it a more viable option for greater lengths. The maximum length is still limited at 100 meters (328 feet), however, this is only when used with 22AWG solid core or 24AWG stranded wiring.


The Cat6 is the next step up and was created to enable 10Gbps (10,000Mbps) Ethernet speeds. It also uses all four pairs of wire (8 wires), but this time it uses 22AWG solid core wiring. This makes it a much more suitable option for runs over 100 meters as it provides better resistance against noise interference allowing you to get your full 1000Mbps speeds without any packet loss or corruption that may occur on inferior cables. Although even though the cable spec theoretically allows for lengths of up to 55 meters (180 feet), practically speaking 100m/328ft is the maximum length when working with Cat6 cable, just like its predecessor. The termination of Cat6 cabling is slightly different than Cat5e, the pins are gold plated and it uses a slightly more complicated wiring scheme that actually makes it possible to get 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GBASE-T) speeds. According to Computer Technicians, Cat6 should be your minium requirement for data and network cabling for your home or business.

The new Cat6 cable standard works best in environments where there are dusty conditions and/or high electromagnetic interference (or EMI). This is because of its better shielding properties compared to Cat 5e cabling. The cable itself however does not increase this resistance but using the shielded twisted pairs together with additional shielding around each individual pair reduces susceptibility to noise levels significantly.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that many people would assume that Cat6 is vastly superior to all other cable standards available but you may be surprised that this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are a variety of factors involved when deciding the specific cable type for a certain environment. This article aims to discuss these factors and therefore help users understand that Cat6 isn’t always better or worse than other standards available.

Electrical Specifications

The electrical specifications for Cat5e and Cat6 cabling are very similar but it is important to note that even small differences in performance can have a larger impact when amplified over greater distances. For example, if you have 100m of Cat5e cabling with slightly better signal transmission properties compared to 100m of Cat6 cabling, the total amount of loss over the 100m would be smaller for the Cat 5e cabling compared to the same length of Cat 6. This means that Cat6 is not always better than Cat5e.

Signal Quality

One of the key differences between Cat5e and Cat6 cabling, which has a large impact on overall performance, is signal quality. Cat 5e UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cabling supports speeds of up to 100Mbit/s whereas Cat 6 can support speeds of up to 1,000Mbit/s. This significant increase in bandwidth is due entirely to improved specifications for insertion loss, Near End Crosstalk (NEXT) and return loss and therefore it becomes clear why users tend to favor Cat6 over other types of cabling.

However, it should be noted that simply replacing your current infrastructure with new network cable of a Cat6 rating does not necessarily guarantee better performance. The cabling must be correctly installed and the equipment at both ends of the cable run must also be capable of operating at speeds higher than 100Mbit/s to achieve this. If either end is only capable of supporting 100Mbit/s, then it doesn’t matter if new Cat6 network cable has been used as it will operate no faster than standard old Cat5e product.

Cable management tips

It is important to consider the placement of your network cable exit points, as these can have a detrimental effect on performance if they are not correctly located. To achieve optimal performance over your installation, it’s important that you keep cables away from sources of electrical interference such as power cables or light fittings. The temperature and moisture content of a room can also affect how well a network cable works, so optimum performance will be achieved when cabling runs along an outside wall.

However, this isn’t always possible because running cabling outdoors isn’t practical for many installations. In situations like these, ensure that all cable runs are supported by suitable physical protection systems such as conduit or surface-mounted trunking to protect them from accidental damage.

Presently we do not do cable installation services, so kindly get in touch with your local electrician.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...