Enhanced Category 5 cabling

Enhanced Category 5 cabling, or CAT5E, is an informal cabling standard that some cable manufacturers use to refer to category 5 cabling that is capable of supporting transmission speeds faster that 100 Mbps.

What is Enhanced Category 5 cabling (CAT-5E)?

Sometimes referred to as CAT5E or CAT-5E, an informal cabling standard that some cable manufacturers use to refer to category 5 cabling that is capable of supporting transmission speeds faster that 100 Mbps. At present, there is no official standard for unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling above category 5, although category 6 and category 7 specifications have been proposed.

In other words, there is no standard or specification that has been agreed upon for defining category 6 or higher UTP cabling, although steps are being made to develop one.

CAT5E Cable

How it works

Enhanced category 5 cabling has certain electrical characteristics that make it the recommended type of cabling for most new networking installations. Supporting frequencies up to 350 MHz or higher, it is typically 4-pair solid conductor 24-gauge UTP cabling that has a low capacitance in the range of 13 to 14 pF/ft, as compared with regular category 5 cabling that has a capacitance of around 17 pF/ft.

Its impedance is 100 ohms, the same as for regular category 5 cable. CAT5E cabling is suitable for Fast Ethernet installations, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) wiring, 155-Mbps Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks, and other present and proposed high-speed networking solutions such as 1000BaseT.

TIP

If you plan to use enhanced category 5 cabling in your network, you should make sure that all your other wiring components match these specifications. This means purchasing and installing enhanced category 5 patch panels, wall plates, and other components. Also, be sure to strictly follow wiring guidelines because improper installation of enhanced category 5 cabling will result in loss of potential bandwidth. The real key to operating a successful high-speed UTP wiring system is careful installation.