[Q] Does CAT 5E Cable really perform the same as CAT 6 Cable?
[A] CAT 5E Cable and CAT 6 Cable are not the same thing. Understanding the difference between the two will help clarify why CAT 5E Cable can be used in so many applications that call for CAT 6.
CAT 5E Cable has continued to improve over the last 10 years from a standpoint of twist ratio, signal quality, and durability. CAT 6 Cable was specifically designed for Gigabit applications, and there are some physical difference between the two.
The general difference between category 5e and category 6 is in the transmission performance, and extension of the available bandwidth from 100 MHz for category 5e to 200 MHz for category 6. This includes better insertion loss, near end cross talk (NEXT), return loss, and equal level far end cross talk (ELFEXT). These improvements provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio, allowing higher reliability for current applications and higher data rates for future applications.
Based on this kind of data, it can be argued that CAT 6 Cable is a better solution for cabling new networks. While this might be true for many in-wall installations, it may mean absolutely nothing in term of Patch Cable selection.
A great deal of speculation from many sources regarding if CAT 6 will replace CAT 5E as the new standard. You will get a different answer depending on who you ask, but the bottom line is, until that happens most users have absolutely no reason the incur the additional cost until it becomes a requirement.
If your network is currently supporting the workload with no issues, and you have no solid reason to make a change, don't.
It certainly makes no sense to use CAT 6 Patch Cables if you are running a trouble-free CAT 5E network, because those can be change at any time with little logistical effort.
CAT 5 Cable Company manufactures the finest CAT 5, CAT 5E Patch and Crossover Cables money can buy. Get some today and see for yourself.
Keywords: CAT 5E Cable, CAT 6 Cable, Patch Cables, Crossover Cables