Category 5, or simply Cat5 Cable, is an Ethernet cable that is commonly used in networking. It consists of four twisted pairs of copper wires and is terminated by an RJ-45 connector.
The term Cat5 is a standard defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association or EIA/TIA as requested by the Computer Communications Industry Association in 1985. As a fifth generation of twisted pair, it can support a fast speed of 100 Mbps and frequencies of up to 100 MHz. It consists of 4 pairs of twisted copper wires and can be used for token ring, 1000Base-T, 100Base-T and ATM networking.
Computers that are hooked together in LAN (Local Area Network) use this cable. Just like other Ethernet cables, the Cat5 cable has a maximum length of 100 meters. Exceeding the length can cause an issue with the bridging of computers.
The Cat5 Structure
The Cat5, as stated earlier, consists of 4 pairs of twisted copper wires, each of these with jacket or covering. They are called “twisted pair” due to the fact that each pair of wires is twisted together. This helps reduce external source signal interference from radio transmission signals or fluorescent light bulbs.
Although there are 4 twisted pairs of wire in the Cat5 cable, Fast Ethernet only use two pairs in communications. Newer specifications of this cable, also known as the Cat5 enhanced, or Cat5 e, utilized all four wire pairs and is used to support Gigabit Ethernet speed of up to 1000 Mbps.
Length of Wires
Cat5 twisted pair cables have two varieties: the solid and stranded. The solid variety supports longer runs and is use for office buildings’ wiring configurations. The stranded variety is more pliable and is used more on shorter-distance networking. These are usually considered as movable cabling.
One of the questions asked about Cat5 cables is regarding its length. Why is there a limit to the Cat5’s length?
As stated earlier, excess in length can cause network problems. Before the limitation was given, countless of test were conducted on the Cat5 cable under different circumstances. During these, it was found that it was possible to transmit data beyond the 100-meter cable length limit. This depends on the condition and the matching of network equipment. While there were successful attempts such as these, there were also those that resulted to poor network transmission. It showed slower network and less signal power to make data communication. To ensure successful data transmission, the 100 meter standard length was established. This is considered the safest maximum length for the Cat5.
Cat5 is used for both crossover and straight networking. In a crossover connection, a computer is connected to any computer or all computers in the network. Cable sockets makes this possible especially if a straight connection is used. Today, there are hubs used that allowed computers to be connected without crossing over cables. These allow computers to use only one Cat5 cable to connect and at the same time easily change from crossover to straight connection.
Cat5 cables can also be used in telephone connections and other electronic devices. This is not limited to computers only. Today, there are newer types of cables used in networking. However, Cat5 remains the most popular and widely used. This is due to both its affordability and its high speed support. At present, this type of cable continues to be tested and even developed to help exceed its present potential to data connection. This includes the hope of making the maximum length of the cable longer to further create a more effective data communication between computers.