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Cat 7e vs. Cat 7- The Differences in Performance and Reliability


In the realm of network cabling, Cat 7e and Cat 7 stand as two prominent contenders. These two categories offer different capabilities and specifications, catering to varying network requirements. This article aims to delve into the key differences between Cat 7e and Cat 7, examining their performance and reliability characteristics to help you make an informed decision for your network infrastructure.

Cable Architecture

Cat 7e:

Cat 7e cables feature four twisted pairs of copper wires, similar to Cat 6 and Cat 6a cables. However, they employ shielded foil or a shielding braid for each twisted pair, as well as an overall shielding for the entire cable.

Cat 7:

Cat 7 cables also use four twisted pairs of copper wires but with a significant difference. They incorporate a copper foil shielding around each twisted pair, and an additional braided shielding layer around the entire cable. This enhanced shielding provides increased protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI) and crosstalk.

Bandwidth and Speed

Cat 7e:

Cat 7e cables are designed to support bandwidths of up to 500 MHz, which enables data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). This is a significant upgrade from Cat 6a cables, which handle up to 10 GbE.

Cat 7:

Cat 7 cables, on the other hand, boast a bandwidth capacity of 600 MHz, enabling data transfer speeds of up to 100 GbE. Their higher bandwidth makes them suitable for demanding applications such as data centers, high-performance computing, and video streaming.

Distance and PoE Capacity

Cat 7e:

Cat 7e cables can support cable runs of up to 100 meters (328 feet) while maintaining their performance. They can also provide Power over Ethernet (PoE) with a maximum power delivery of 30 watts.

Cat 7:

Cat 7 cables have a shorter maximum cable run length of 50 meters (164 feet) at 100 GbE speed. However, they offer enhanced PoE capabilities, supporting up to 70 watts of PoE. This makes them ideal for powering devices such as IP phones, wireless access points, and security cameras.

Crosstalk and Interference

Cat 7e:

The shielding in Cat 7e cables effectively reduces crosstalk and electromagnetic interference (EMI), ensuring reliable data transmission.

Cat 7:

With its superior shielding, Cat 7 cables offer even better protection against crosstalk and EMI. This makes them particularly suitable for environments with high levels of electrical noise or where multiple cables are bundled together.

Application Summary

Cat 7e:

– Suitable for Gigabit Ethernet (1 GbE) to 40 GbE networks

– Supports cable runs up to 100 meters at 40 GbE

– Provides PoE capacity of up to 30 watts

Cat 7:

– Designed for 100 GbE networks

– Supports cable runs up to 50 meters at 100 GbE

– Offers enhanced PoE capacity of up to 70 watts

– Ideal for data centers, high-performance computing, and video streaming


Cat 7e and Cat 7 cables offer distinct performance and reliability characteristics, each catering to specific network requirements. Cat 7e provides a balance of performance, distance, and PoE capabilities, making it a good choice for general networking applications. Cat 7, on the other hand, excels in ultra-high bandwidth applications where speed and interference reduction are paramount. Ultimately, the best choice between Cat 7e and Cat 7 depends on the specific requirements of your network and the criticality of factors such as bandwidth, distance, and interference mitigation.

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