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What You Need to Know About Router Ethernet Cable Speeds and Categories

Ethernet cables are essential for connecting computers and other devices to the internet and to each other. The speed of your Ethernet cable can affect the speed of your internet connection and the performance of your devices.

There are many different types of Ethernet cables, each with its own speed and category rating. The most common types of Ethernet cables are Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat8. Cat5e cables are the oldest and slowest type of Ethernet cable, while Cat8 cables are the newest and fastest type of Ethernet cable.

Cable Categories

The category of an Ethernet cable determines its speed and performance capabilities. The higher the category number, the faster the cable.

Cat5e cables can support speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

Cat6 cables can support speeds up to 10 Gbps.

Cat6a cables can support speeds up to 10 Gbps over longer distances than Cat6 cables.

Cat7 cables can support speeds up to 10 Gbps over even longer distances than Cat6a cables.

Cat8 cables can support speeds up to 40 Gbps.

Wire Gauge and Construction

The wire gauge of an Ethernet cable refers to the thickness of the copper wires inside the cable. The thicker the wire gauge, the faster the cable can transmit data.

Ethernet cables are typically made of four twisted pairs of copper wires. The number of twists per inch (TPI) in the cable can also affect its speed. The higher the TPI, the faster the cable.

Cable Length

The length of an Ethernet cable can also affect its speed. The longer the cable, the slower the data transmission speed. This is because the electrical signals that travel through the cable lose strength over distance.

Choosing the Right Cable

When choosing an Ethernet cable, you need to consider the speed you need, the distance you need it to run, and the environment in which it will be used.

If you need a cable for gaming or other high-bandwidth applications, you will need a Cat6 or Cat6a cable. If you need a cable for a longer distance, you will need a Cat6a or Cat7 cable. If you need a cable for use in a harsh environment, you will need a cable with a ruggedized jacket.


Ethernet cables are an essential part of any network. By understanding the different types of Ethernet cables and their capabilities, you can choose the right cable for your needs.

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