Ultimate Guide to Cat5e Cable Types and Specifications

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Cat5e cable is the 5th version of ethernet cables and it comes in 3 types: Cat5e Plenum Cable, Cat5e Riser Cable, and Cat5e PVC cable. Each variant has its specifications and is designed for usage in specific environments. 

Cat5e: Decoding the term

The “Cat” in the Cat5e stands for Category5” means it’s the fifth version of the ethernet cables and “e” stands for “enhanced”. So, Cat5e cables—whether Cat5e Plenum Cable, Cat5e Riser Cable, or Cat5e PVC Cable—are enhanced versions than their predecessor Cat5. This enhancement comes in the form of reduced crosstalk and electromagnetic interference, higher data transfer rates, and bandwidth capacities, and safety features. 

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and Electronic Industries Association (EIA) have standardized this cable. Cat5e cable is perfect for both household consumers and businesses. 

The Cat5e cable was superseded by the Cat6 family; the latter further upgrades data transfer rates to up to 10Gbps (depending upon lengths) and bandwidth capacities to up to 550MHz. 

Cat5e Cable: How it works

This Bulk Cat5e Plenum Cable effectively supports a data transfer rate of 1Gbps (Gigabits per second) up to a distance of 100 meters. The bandwidth support of Bulk Cat5e Plenum Cable is up to 350MHz. For connectivity, it uses an RJ-45 connector. 

To provide superior-quality and top-notch connectivity, the Plenum-Rated Cat5e Cable comes in four pairs of twisted wires and eight copper connectors. The twisted pairs are either shielded or unshielded. 

If unshielded, the cable belongs to the UTP category. Though there is either a CMP or PVC jacket that protects the cable against crosstalk and EMIs, there is no additional protection for the wires inside the cable. 

If shielded, the cable belongs to the STP category. Just like UTP, the cable has protection in form of a CMP or PVC jacket, but the wires inside the cable have an additional layer of protection. Now let’s dive deeper into details to have a better understanding of all types of Cat5e cables. 

Cat5e Plenum Cable

This Plenum-Rated Cat5e Cable has been specifically designed for usage in plenum spaces of the buildings. Its CMP jackets are highly fire retardant. As the outer jacket of the Bulk Cat5e Plenum is CMP rated, they are perfect for usage in ducts and air returns too. The jacket material of the Bulk Cat5e Plenum is so high-standard that this cable is often used in riser spaces too. The installation temperature for this cable ranges from 0 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius. The Cat5e Plenum 1000ft comes in both UTP and STP versions. 

Cat5e Riser Cable

These cables are RoHS compliant, completely safe to use as they are standardized by TIA and EIA. The data transfer rate and bandwidth of the Cat5e Riser cables are the same as that of Cat5e Plenum. 

The major difference is that of jacket material. Its jacket material enjoys a CMR rating as the material used prevents fire from spreading between floors. The standards for CMR ratings are far higher than CM rating but are lower than that of CMP cables. 

It means you can use riser cables not only in areas where CMR cables are required but also in the areas where CM cables are required. However, they can’t be used as an alternative for CMP plenum cables. 

Cat5e PVC cable

Cat5e PVC cable comes in PVC jackets making them perfect for installation in outdoor spaces. This version of the Cat5e family meets all existing standards including TIA/EIA verified and RoHs cable that observes standards like IEEE 802.3ab, IEEE 802.5, ANSI/EIA/TIA 568, ISO/IEC 11801. It even surpasses some; for instance, the TIA and EIA’s base standard for bandwidth capacity of the Cat5e family is 100MHz. But there are several versions out there on the market that support bandwidth capacities of 350MHz with a data transfer speed of 1000Mbps. 

The important point to note here is that you can’t use PVC cables as alternatives for riser-rated and plenum-rated cables. Still, all these variants including Cat5e Plenum 1000ft, riser, and PVC are perfect for your home and business usage.


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