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Welcome to our wiki. Here, you'll find guides on some basic networking concepts.

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Ethernet Cables

Cable Standards

Below are the modern cable standards currently recognized by the TIA/EIA:

Cat5eCat6Cat6ACat 8
Frequency100 MHz250 MHz500 MHz2000 MHz
1000BASE-T support (and below)up to 100 metersup to 100 metersup to 100 metersup to 100 meters
2.5GBASE-T supportup to 100 metersup to 100 metersup to 100 metersup to 100 meters
5GBASE-T supportnoup to 100 metersup to 100 metersup to 100 meters
10GBASE-T supportnoup to 55 metersup to 100 metersup to 100 meters
25GBASE-T supportnononoup to 30 meters
40GBASE-T supportnononoup to 30 meters

Cat7 and Cat7A are not TIA/EIA recognized standards. Note that these are the speeds officially supported by each cable standard. Depending on cable quality, length, and a number of other factors, it may be possible for cables to carry higher speeds than are officially supported.

Conductor Materials

Solid copper cables are required for UL, TIA, and National Electric Code (NEC) compliance. Copper clad aluminum (CCA) cables do not meet any standards. They are less reliable, more prone to corrosion, and often a fire hazard on PoE connections.

Conductor Construction

Cables with solid conductors are designed for low electrical resistance and are most suitable for fixed installations. Cables with stranded conductors are designed for repeated flexing and are most suitable for patch cables and temporary installations.


Unshielded (UTP)

No shielding is present within the cable. Suitable for most indoor applications where there is not a high potential for electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Shielded (STP, S/FTP, S/UTP, F/UTP, etc.)

Foil or braided shield inside jacket guides EMI to ground. Additional foil shielding may be present around individual wire pairs. Each type provides varying levels of protection against interference. All require shielded connectors. Shielded cables should be used for outdoor applications and in locations where EMI may be present.

Fire Rating

Plenum (CMP)

Constructed to emit low amounts of smoke and prevent fires from spreading more than five feet. Required by the NEC for air plenum applications (like inside drop ceilings). Can also be used in place of CMR, CMG, and CM cables.

Riser (CMR)

Meets NEC standards for preventing fires f rom spreading between floors in vertical installations. Can also be used in place of CMG and CM cables.

CMG and CM

Rated for use in-wall or in risers with a raceway or fireproof shaft. Also permitted in 1-2 family residential riser applications.

Outdoor (CMX)

Designed for use outdoors. Is typically UV and water resistant and is often rated for direct burial.

Other Characteristics

Wire Gauge

Ethernet cabling is typically 22-24 AWG. Smaller gauge wire means slimmer cables for tight spaces or trays, but also limited distance caused by increased resistance.

UV Resistance

Jacket is stabilized to keep plasticizers from leaching out when exposed to sunlight. This prevents cables from becoming greasy and brittle over time.

Direct Burial

Engineered to be run underground without conduit. Often contains gel or other waterproofing features to help prevent oxidation.

Spline / Star Filler

Provides additional cable strength and can help prevent crosstalk by separating wire pairs from each other.

Rip Cord

Can be used to strip the cable jacket without the risk of damaging the conductors’ insulation.

Drain Wire

Provides a convenient way to ground shielded cable without having to insert the foil or braid into the connector The drain wire must be in contact with shielded RJ45 connectors on both ends in order to provide proper protection.

Halogen-Free (LSZH/LSOH)

Unlike polyethylene and PVC jackets, halogen-free jackets will not release poisonous gas when burned.

guides/ethernet_cables.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/25 19:27 by Aaron Zufall