This article describes the difference between Cat 5e and Cat 6 Twisted Pairs used to create local computer networks and transfer information.

The signal is transmitted from the sender to the receiver via a wired communication line. Twisted Pair is a high-tech cable used to create local computer networks and transfer information. Its conductors are insulated and form a pair of pairs, which contributes to a significant reduction in external interference and electromagnetic interference. The cable has different characteristics depending on the category. This article describes the fundamental difference between Cat 5e and Cat 6.

It is best to check the specifications of the cable with the vendor before purchasing it. The shell should be marked with numbers and letters describing the properties of the twisted pair. With all the features you can understand, knowing the key parameters.

The marking informs about these data:

  • Material of the shell.
  • Conductor diameter.
  • Presence/absence of shielding.
  • Category
  • Type of cable.
  • Number of pairs
  • Type of shielding.
  • Manufacturer’s code.

The twisted-pair category is an important characteristic of an electrical cable directly related to the speed of information transfer. At present, seven categories are standardized worldwide. Cat 5e and Cat 6 are the most popular with new networks.

Cat 5e twisted pair

This category is specifically designed to support high-speed computer networks operating in 125 MHz bandwidth. The transmission speed in terms of using two pairs up to 100 Mbps, four – up to 1000 Mbps. They offer better performance than standard Cat 5 cables. The conductors it contains are twisted and equipped with a plastic sheath (polyethylene for outdoor use, polyvinyl chloride for indoor use).

The long life of the cable retains its technical characteristics. At present, it is the most common type of cable for the construction of small local area networks. Its properties are as follows:

  • Data transmission distance – up to 100 m.
  • The diameter of the conductor is 0.51 mm.
  • Operating temperature – up to + 60°C.
  • The number of twisted conductors: more often – 2, less often – 4.
  • The number of turns per pair is 5-2 per centimeter.

It is used for laying indoor networks, telephone lines, is widely used for video surveillance, alarm systems, and other purposes.

Cat 6 twisted pair

A cable in this category was created to implement the physical layer of the Gigabit Ethernet protocol. Inside, there are four pairs of guides, each twisted together and then all together. Compress the cable with a standard RJ-45 connector.

The main features of this category are as follows:

  • The 250 MHz frequency.
  • Data transfer rate up to 10 Gbps (10GBASE-T).
  • High crosstalk suppression requirements
  • The maximum length without the use of amplifiers is 100 meters.

This twisted pair has more than two turns per centimeter and is implemented in such a way that its length is not repeated over the entire section. The cable contains PVC-coated wires, which are protected by a high-density sheath, allowing the cable to be used for outdoor work and in bad weather. But generally, with his help, create local office and home networks. The cable allows high-speed information transfer.


Cables for SCS, regardless of their category, have the same purpose – the transfer of digital and analog information. When developing small networks for business or residential premises, there is no need to think about the choice of a standard as it is not relevant for small distances. Like Cat 5-e, Cat 6 generally consists of four twisted copper pairs. For connecting users to the global Internet and implementing small local area networks, virtually any cable will be suitable. However, the higher the category, the faster the speed of information delivery.


Cat 5-e is most often used in existing cabling systems; this category can handle data transfers at 1000 Mbps and is suitable for Gigabit Ethernet technology. Category 6 cable capacities exceed 5 e due to a significant reduction in crosstalk. This is achieved by a longitudinal splitter that isolates each pair from each other. As a result, Cat 6 has twice the bandwidth. Externally, the models are very similar, but there are two main differences: the braid density and the number of turns of yarn per unit length.

The difference between Cat 5 and Cat 6 in terms of technical specifications is in the table below:

Line length
m Speed, Mbps
Number of turns


Frequency, MHz
Cat 5-e
up to 1000
Cat 6
100 (55)
1000 (up to 10 000)
more than 2

In tests with several transceivers with different properties, it was found that the Cat 6 standard is less prone to errors. The experiment was carried out on a line 100 m apart and it was found that the cable is much more reliable in operation and guarantees stable network operation under conditions of sudden temperature changes.
Of the two categories considered, Category 6 is the most advanced and offers the best network performance. It is compatible with all pre-existing cables found in older installations. These products are increasingly used in modern projects due to the increasing demand for speed, capacity, and throughput each year. Category 6 cables are more reliable and safer by reducing attenuation and increasing conductor size.