At Home with Category 6, part 1

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If only I had known. It had been years since I crimped my last bit of ethernet cable. I’ve pulled and crimped many feet of category 5 (Cat5) cables from trade show floor to retail store installations. I am just getting gigabit fiber internet at home and I need to spread the speed across the house. Wi-fi is fine, but hardware connections are best. The router was brought in to the basement and I wanted to run some ethernet cable upstairs to center of the house and from to a network switch and an access point will bathe the upstairs with wireless happiness.

Of course I’m thinking I should do the right thing and just grab some Category 6 (CAT 6) cable – it’s a higher number (than 5) so it must be better. In this setup, I was kind of wrong. At the end of the day, it’s ok, but for my experience I just need to split the difference (between CAT5 and CAT6) and go with Category 5e – the ‘e’ stand for enhanced. I think. The problem with CAT6 for this home install is this difficulty in getting a clean crimp using a “classic” crimping tool and RJ45 connectors. Terminating CAT5(e) is much more forgiving than CAT6 and it’s not going to get you more network speed. Unless you’re running 10 Gigabit network in your house, go with Cat5e. Cheers

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