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Definition: cable categories

Following are the categories for telephone and Ethernet cables, which are abbreviated "Cat." For HDMI video cables, see HDMI cable types.

Cat1 and Cat2 are unofficial voice grade standards, while the rest are based on the EIA/TIA-568-B standards. Ethernet wiring today starts at Cat5e. Cat8 is for short distances in datacenters. See twisted pair.

 Cat  Type of      Bandwidth    Data
  #    Cable         (MHz)      Rate

  8   ScTP/STP     2000 MHz   40-100 Gbps
  7a  ScTP/STP     1000 MHz   10 Gbps
  7   ScTP/STP      600 MHz   10 Gbps
  6a  UTP/ScTP/STP  500 MHz   10 Gbps
  6   UTP/ScTP/STP  250 MHz   10 Gbps
  5e  UTP/ScTP/STP  100 MHz    1 Gbps

  5   UTP/ScTP/STP  100 MHz    1 Gbps
  4   UTP/ScTP/STP   20 MHz   16 Mbps
  3   UTP/ScTP/STP   16 MHz    4 Mbps
  2   UTP             4 MHz    4 Mbps
  1   UTP             1 MHz    Analog

Cat5e Is Entry Level Today
To be more resistant to crosstalk, Cat5e wires are twisted more tightly inside the cable than Cat5. Because Gigabit Ethernet is found on every new computer, Cat5e is the basic Ethernet cable today.