Network cables are used in several situations, such as:
1 - Connecting your ISP's modem to your home router or Wi-Fi equipment;
2 - Connect the modem directly to devices such as a computer or TV for a more stable connection;
3 - Distribute the Internet to several rooms in the house or company offices.
In cases 1 and 2, usually very short cables of a few inches or a few feet are used. In the 3rd situation, the cables are longer, up to tens of feet.
In any case, when using cables internally, it’s expected that the maximum Internet capacity offered by the ISP will be available for the connected equipment. However, this depends on whether the network cable used is obsolete, defective, or inadequate.
Remember: just like with everything else involving the Internet, network cables also evolve to support increasing speeds and reduce interference. Using an old standard cable can limit both the speed and the quality of your connection. So, when changing your network equipment, also check that the network cables are the right type, and if not, change them.
There are several types of cables available on the market today. Below are some of the most common types:
CAT5 - This is an older standard, supporting up to 100 Mbps. It’s recommended to replace it with a newer one;
CAT5e - This is an evolution of CAT5, supporting speeds close to 1 Gbps and with improvements that reduce the effect of external interference;
CAT6 – This one also has speeds of approximately 1 Gbps, and can reach up to 10 Gbps if the cable is shorter than 55 meters (180 ft). It has greater protection against interference and noise;
CAT6A – This one has a protective shield, which reduces the risk of interference when network cables are installed close to power cables, for example. In addition, it has a capacity of up to 10 Gbps.
There are other types of cables with more specific uses for data centers and companies. But in most cases, you can use one of the cables above.
To find out if you need to change your cables, check out these tips:
- You won't find out the cable type by the color of the cable since there is no color standard for cables. Usually, the cable type is described on the packaging. If you no longer have the packaging, you can check the category on the side of the cable in small letters;
- Cables can also deteriorate over time, either because they have simply aged or because of external factors such as mechanical stress, humidity, temperature variation, etc. If your cable is worn out, it’ll probably need to be replaced.
In short: when you purchase a new Internet plan, check if the cables used in your home or business are compatible with the purchased speed. If you notice worse Internet quality, check the cables.
A man appears in the first scene with a router and a cat next to it. He points to four different cables that are to his right (CAT5, CA5e, CAT, and CAT6A), and the cat’s presence seeks to make an association with the names of the cables. Then comes the phrase: “There are several categories of network cables.”
In the next scene, the same man is sitting in front of a desk, tinkering with a computer. He’s looking for information about the cables, so on the other side of the screen appears a table indicating the speed of each one: CAT5 "100 Mbps"; CAT5 "1000 Mbps"; CAT6 "1 Gbps to 10 Gbps (up to 55m [180ft])"; and CAT6A "10 Gbps." Above is the phrase “With characteristics that impact your connection.”
In the last part of the video, the man is still in front of a desk tinkering with his computer, and in this scene, you can see that he’s in the living room of his house. The cat appears again but is now sitting on the sofa. Between them, there is a shelf with a router, from which a cable comes out of the device and connects to the computer. The phrase “Use the correct cable and enjoy your Internet more” appears at the top of the scene. The video ends with smile emojis (happy faces) coming out of the computer.
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