The original CAT-3 wiring was popular in the early years of the ‘90s. This wiring was unshielded and was utilized in many computer networks, until it was replaced by the similar, but higher-quality CAT-5. CAT-3 had the capacity of carrying data at speeds up to 10MB/sec at a bandwidth of up to 16MHz. CAT-4 Wiring:
This wiring never gained much popularity due to the fact that it was quickly unseated by CAT-5, shortly after it was introduced to the market. This wiring had the capacity to transfer data at 16MB/sec at a bandwidth of up to 20MHz. CAT-5 Wiring:
This type of wiring was very popular throughout the ‘90s, once when it replaced CAT-3 and CAT-4. Its ability to carry audio and video data made it ideal for computer networks and use in Ethernet cable applications. CAT-5 wiring has the capacity to relay information at speeds of up to 1GB/sec, at bandwidth frequencies of up to 100MHz. CAT-5e Wiring:
CAT-5e wiring is an enhanced version of CAT-5 wiring in that it has the same data rate (1GB/sec) and bandwidth frequencies (100MHz), except CAT-5e allows for data to be relayed at distances of up to 1,000 meters. Standard CAT-5 wiring only allows for signal relays up to 100 meters, without the use of devices such as connectors or repeaters, to allow for additional distance. CAT-6 Wiring:
CAT-6 wiring was a revolutionary step towards complete cable functionality, with data rates of 10GB/sec at frequencies of up to 250MHz; however, the original CAT-6 is only capable of supporting these requirements over distances of 37 meters or less before it is exposed to alien cross talk. CAT-6a Wiring:
CAT-6a is able to support 10GB/s data rates, at a distance of 100 meters. That’s nearly three times the distance of standard CAT-6 cable. Also, CAT-6a cable raised the bar for operating frequency range, allowing for function at bandwidths up to 500MHz.
CAT-7 cable has provided a more reliable solution to 10GB/sec data rates over 100 meter distances at frequencies up to 600MHz. CAT-7 wire is the closest replacement to fiber optic cable, as far as efficiency goes; however, singlemode fiber optic cable signals have the ability to relay signals across miles and miles, without the use of repeaters.
Vocabulary Term | Definition | 1000Base | Ethernet cable with a bandwidth of 1,000 Mbps. Also known as gigabit cable. | 100Base | Ethernet cable with a bandwidth of 100 Mbps. Also known as fast Ethernet cable. | 10Base | Ethernet cable with a bandwidth of 10 Mbps. | Adapter | A part that allows a device to be electrically or physically connected to another device. Network interface cards can be used as adaptors for network cables. | Antenna | An apparatus for sending and receiving radio signals. Wireless routers have an antenna instead of cable. | Backbone | The main line of a communications network that supports all the data being transmitted. | Bandwidth | The amount of information or data that can be sent over a communications channel in a given period of time. The higher a channel's bandwidth, the more information it can carry. | Boundary | The separation point between network segments. Boundaries are usually set by devices that control the data, such as routers and gateways. | Bridge | A hardware device that connect two networks and breaks the segments of one network into smaller groups. Bridges filter incoming traffic and decide whether to forward or discard it. | Bus | A network configuration in which all the nodes are connected to a common line with two endpoints. Bus topology is easy to connect and does not require a lot of cable. | Carrier Sense | The ability of a network device to "listen" to the network to determine if any other devices are trying to transmit data. | Carrier Sensing Multiple Access With Collision Detection | An Ethernet communication protocol in which devices check the network to see if it is clear before transmitting data. | Coaxial Cable |