What is Cat-5 Cable

Cat-5 cable is an Ethernet network cable standard. This standard is defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (EIA/TIA).

Cat-5 cable is a twisted pair cable and is used for carrying signals. It is the fifth generation of twisted pair Ethernet technology. It is the most popular of all twisted pair cables in use today.

Cat-5 cable is unshielded wire, which contains four pairs of 24-gauge twisted copper pairs, terminating in an RJ-45 jack. If a wire is certified as Cat-5 and not just a twisted pair wire, it will have “Cat-5” printed on the shielding. It supports Fast Ethernet speeds (up to 100 Mbps). Cat-5 cable runs are limited to a maximum run length of 100m (328 feet).

Fast Ethernet cable utilizes only two pairs even though the Cat-5 cable contains four pairs.

Cat-5e (Cat-5 enhanced) is a newer specification for Cat-5 which supports networking at Gigabit Ethernet (up 100 Mbps) over short distances. Such a speed is maintained by utilizing all four wire pairs and it is also backward-compatible with any ordinary Cat-5 Cable.

Cat-5 comes in two main varieties. These are:

Solid –> Solid Cat- 5 cable supports longer length runs and works best in fixed wiring configurations like office buildings. Stranded –> Stranded Cat -5 cable is more pliable and better it is better suited for shorter- distance, movable cabling such as on the fly patch cabling.

Cat-5 cable comes in different colors (color of outer part), and most common is bright blue one. From inside, the twisted pairs are also covered in plastic with a standard color scheme. Solid orange, blue, green and brown wires are twisted around the cables which are with them (which are white and striped with a solid color). Cat-5 is available in varying lengths (depending upon the needs), or can be bought to standard lengths with RJ-45 jacks pre attached.

There are 3 different configurations for pin-outs out of which one of the three types of pin-outs is utilized by various devices. The three pin-outs are as follows:

Straight through Crossover Roll over

Despite being the availability of Cat-6 and Cat-7 cables in the market, Cat-5 or Cat-5 enhanced cables are still popular for most wired LAN’s as it supports high speeds and is affordable too. Cat-5 cable can be purchased from electronic shops or computer outlets and is widely available online.

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