There are various types of Ethernet network cables for connecting printers, computers, switches and other gadgets in buildings, homes, offices etc. Ethernet cables include various kinds such as Cat3, Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7. All these cables come under the category of twisted pair Ethernet cable. The maximum distance allowed for twisted pair Ethernet cable types is 100m.
Till 10Mbps transmission is supported by cat3 cables, till 100Mbps transmission is supported by cat5 cables, till 1000Mbps transmission is supported by cat5e cables, till 1000Mbps transmission is supported by cat6 cables, till 10Gbps transmission is supported by cat6a cables, till 10Gbps transmission is also supported by cat7 cables. Cat6 supports till 250 MHz, cat6a supports till 500 MHz, cat7 supports till 600 MHz. Cat6 can handle more than twice speed of cat5e.
Cat5e cable is the enhanced version of cat5 Ethernet cable. Cat5 Ethernet cable is responsible for transmitting signals such as video signals, telephone signals etc. Majority of the cat5 Ethernet cable are unshielded. But cat7 individual pairs and total cable are shielded. The Ethernet cable types manage the processes by which data is transmitted over a local area network or LAN. Cat5 cables are dielectric cables. Majority of the cat5 cables can be twisted and bowed at any radius. 100BASE-TX and 10BASE-T Ethernet conductors are required for cat5 cables.
Twisted pair Ethernet cable like Cat5 cable comes in two varieties, solid and stranded. Solid Cat5 cable is compatible for longer length running and is best suited for fixed wiring. Stranded Cat5 cable is more flexible and suited for shorter lengths and portable cabling. CAT5 and CAT5e Ethernet cable are mainly preferred for majority of wired LANs because they can handle high speed and are comparatively cheaper.
Cat5e Ethernet cables can be taken and laid outdoors for network computers between buildings. Cat5e outdoor cable should be placed within waterproof pipes and then buried underground away from other electric connection lines. Cat5 cables tend to attract lightning bolts during thunderstorms. So cat5e outdoor cable must have lightning protectors to prevent the lightning bolts during storms. Single outdoor or indoor Ethernet cable can function best for distances up to 100m. The performance of the cat5e outdoor cable might suffer if the 100m limit is exceeded.
Network layouts or topologies are of various types such as star, bus, ring, tree and mesh. Hybrid topologies using two or more of the above topologies are also commonly found. Ethernet star topology is the most popular network topology used in houses and offices. Star topology network consists of one central switch and computer which acts as a passage for transmitting signals. Star topology reduces the chances of network failure by connecting all systems to a central mode. Such centralization provides much needed simplicity. High dependence of the systems upon the proper functioning of a central hub is often a disadvantage in this kind of topology.