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Types of RJ45 Connectors

Author:danny / time:2018-04-11 / The number of clicks:1205

The RJ45 connector is a standard type of physical connector used for networking computers. The most common form of twisted-pair connector, it is an eight-position, eight-contact (8P8C) modular plug and jack. To connect the RJ45 cable to the interface, two wiring systems are used—T568A and T568B.


Usually used to connect computers to Ethernet-based Local Area Networks (LAN), the RJ45 connector comes in different types.


Category 5

Category 5, or Cat5 as it is more commonly called in the industry, succeeds the earlier Category 3, or Cat3, Ethernet cable, which is one of the oldest types of Ethernet cables in the market. Cat5 cables have two twisted pairs of wires with a maximum length of 100 meters. Compared with its predecessor, the Cat5 cable is capable of transmitting data at a higher transfer rate. It can support speeds of either 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps, making it the first cable to be fast Ethernet-capable.


Category 5e

To accommodate higher line speeds of up to 350 Mbps, the Category 5e, or Cat5e, was later developed. From the original two twisted pairs of wires, it was increased to four twisted pairs. Considered the enhanced version of the Cat5 cable, this new type of RJ45 connector was developed to minimize unwanted transmission of signals among data channels. Because it can carry 10/100 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps (Gigabit) Ethernet, it easily became one of the most popularly used types of Ethernet cables. Aside from improving data transmission, the Cat5e cable has also increased bandwidth of up to 100 MHz.


Category 6

Much like the Cat5e is backwards-compatible with the Cat5, the next type of RJ45 connector, the Category 6, or Cat6, is backwards-compatible with its predecessor. The development of this type of cable resulted in marked improvements in performance and capabilities. The Cat6 cable is capable of providing speeds of 1,000 Mbps over a bandwidth of 250 MHz. Reflecting stricter standards, the Cat6 cable has shown several remarkable enhancements, some of which include improved insulation, thinner wires, and grounded foil shielding, which dramatically mutes down noise interference or crosstalk. Maximum cable length was also reduced from the previous 100 meters down to just 55 meters to support a 10-Gigabit Ethernet mode.


Category 6a

The Category 6a, or Cat6a, cable features a frequency of 500 MHz and is capable of data transmission rates of up to 10,000 Mbps. It further enhanced its noise reduction feature with improved grounded foil shielding. It also referred to as the “augmented” Cat6 cable, referencing to its enhancements of the basic Cat6 cable.


Category 7

Also referred to as Class F, the Category 7, or Cat7, cable not only features the same advanced shielding of the Ca6 cable but also highlights individualized shielding for the four twisted pairs of wires. With a maximum distance of 100 meters, it supports speeds of up to 10 Gbps or 10,000 Mbps, over bandwidths of up to 600 MHz.The Cat7 is a fully shielded cable, with screened, shielded twisted pairs (SSTP), making it a lot thicker and more difficult to bend compared with the earlier types of RJ45 cables. It is likewise backwards-compatible with the Cat5 and the Cat6 cables.


Category 7a

A further enhanced version of the Cat7 is the Category 7a, or Cat7a, cable. This cable features a maximum data transmission speed of 1,000 MHz, allowing it to support 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet speeds.


In summary, each category proves to be a remarkable enhancement from the previous version, with increased data transmission speeds and bandwidths. When setting up a computer or network of computers in your home or office, it is important to be familiar with the different types of RJ45 cables. While they may look the same, each RJ45 connector cable features different capabilities. Knowing this will help you provide the right solution to your networking needs.