We live in exciting times, with technology expanding and moving forwards at a pace that would make the master of electricity Nikola Tesla blush. We can only wonder if even with his futurist leanings, Tesla would have foreseen the age that we live in now, where everything from a weekly food shop, to having a video call with someone on the other side of the planet is not just possible, but simple a simple and hassle free process. This is the age of communication technology, and to be able to participate you need to have the right infrastructure in place. Thankfully this doesn’t mean having an imposing Tesla coil that fires electricity across the room like some sort of old Frankenstein movie, but it does mean having the right cabling for you. In this article we’ll look at the various different types of network cabling available and how they can benefit you, whether you want network cabling installed in your home to be able to play the latest online videogames without any lag, or at the office as an integral part of your daily operations.
Different Types of Network Cable Available
Like any infrastructure, the end result is only as good as the weakest component allows, and for networks this is equally true. If your home or office is capable of receiving high speed internet but your wiring is substandard or stretched too far you won’t get to feel the benefit. The cabling used to handle your internet data is more commonly referred to as Ethernet cable, and each category has different properties with each subsequent version improving on the last.
Category 5 and 5e Cabling
Category 5 (CAT-5) cabling is very common and can be found in almost every office and home across the UK where broadband has been used. CAT-5 is capable of handling frequencies of up to 100 MHZ, which in simple terms means it can handle fast Ethernet connections such as those that are present in broadband, as well as your telephone and video systems. Category 5e (CAT-5e) is essentially an upgraded version of CAT-5 cabling, with the “e” standing for enhanced, which can handle Gigabit Ethernet speeds that run at a gigabit per second. CAT-5 and CAT-5e cabling can be laid out to a maximum of 100 meters in length, but fortunately this doesn’t need to be a limiting factor when installing CAT-5 or CAT-5e cabling in your home or office, as this length can be extended using hardware such as a repeater or switch. The likely reason that these standards of cabling became so popular is that CAT-5 and CAT-5e are able to carry multiple signals at any given time, unlike the old telephone cabling of yesterday.
Category 6 Cabling
Category 6 (CAT-6) is considered to be the standard cable for Gigabit Ethernet and builds on the capabilities of CAT-5 and CAT-5e cabling, by being capable of handling frequencies of up to 250 MHZ. Like CAT-5 and CAT-5e cabling, CAT-6 cabling can be laid up to a maximum length of 100 meters before it requires the use of specialist hardware to extend it.
Which Category Network Cable Should I Choose?
Keep in mind that when choosing which cabling is best for you and your home or office, there isn’t a definitive answer, with the best choice of cabling for you being dependent on your needs. With that said, if you are freshly installing or replacing existing network cabling in your home, then it’s not worth considering CAT-5 cabling as it’s been so far surpassed by both CAT-5e and CAT 6 cabling. The mindset does exist that going for the newest technology is the best option as it enables you to provide yourself with a degree of future proofing, however CAT-6 cabling does have some short comings. Out of all of the options that we’ve detailed here CAT-6 cabling is the most expensive and the cable is quite thick, which for some homes and offices can cause issues when it comes to fitting the cable into tight spaces to maintain the aesthetics of your property. It’s also the most delicate cable, so some level of care needs to be taken when installing it. Having said this, CAT-6 has more capabilities than CAT-5e, and for homes and office spaces where the speed and calibre of your network infrastructure is your highest priority then it makes sense to opt for the newer and better performing cable. However if you feel that you don’t require the level of future proofing that CAT-6 cabling offers, or if you have lower demands on your network or if it’s spread over a shorter distance, CAT5e is a perfectly acceptable option.
Whatever category of cabling you opt for we’ll work closely with you to ensure that you know the benefits of each category of networking cable, and how these benefits relate to your needs and requirements. We’ll also ensure that you have the right hardware to distribute your network cabling and that you have the right number and placement of RJ45 wall sockets.
Isn’t Wi-Fi Good Enough?
Wireless connections are very popular, and whilst having a wireless connection to the internet is beneficial for most devices, there are benefits to having a wired connection. For heavy internet users, whether at home or in the office; a wireless connection just doesn’t cut it any more, and particularly in the home a trend for installing a network infrastructure that covers the whole of the home is becoming a very popular alternative to Wi-Fi. Whilst you lose the benefit of portability, having a wired connection available removes the risk of interference from other wireless transmissions and barriers to your wireless signal such as walls and the wiring and stud work that they can contain. A wired connection is also much more secure than a wireless one, and reduces the risk of your network and sensitive data being infiltrated for whatever nefarious means the person who hacks your network may have in mind.
Experts at Network Cabling Installations
At Blair Installations in addition to our the many electrical services that we offer to our domestic and commercial customers, we also have a wealth of experience of installing network cabling in both homes and offices across East Sussex and the surrounding counties, and with that experience we have the knowledge to be able to advise you on the best course of action for your network infrastructure. Our Network Cabling services don’t just stop at fresh installations and refits, we also offer testing, maintenance and commissioning services for both the home and office to ensure that your network infrastructure continues to provide you with the standard of service that you need. If you would like to discuss your network cabling needs with us, a member of the team will be more than happy to assist you with your enquiry. You can contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, by using our online contact form or by calling us on 01273 426826.