Most people may well know that cabling standards Cat5, 5e, 6, 6e, the the Category assigned to a cable, the faster the network it will work with. As an example, Category 5 cable can support network speeds of up to 100 megabits (100 Base-T) over distances of up to ninety metres, whereas Category 6 Augmented can support speeds of up to 10 Gigabits (10GB Base-T/10,000Base-T) at distances of up to ninety metres.
Category 5e (Cat5e) is an enhanced version of Category 5 cable, which is developed by TIA/EIA to improve some cable features to meet to Gigabit Ethernet operation, it can support 1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet with far-end cross-talk features. Cat5 and Cat5e cables look the same, but Cat5e cable is manufactured with a higher standard to allow for higher data transfer rates. The Cat5e patch panel is designed for Cat5 cables. The panels are equipped with individual, fully modular printed circuit boards (PCBs) and a rear cable manager. Cat5e patch panels are available in 8, 12, 24, 48 ports.
Category 6 cable (Cat6) is the 6th generation of twisted pair Ethernet cabling by ANSI/EIA/TIA Cat6 cable has a bandwidth of up to 250MHz and is ideal for supporting 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Cat6 cable is backward compatible with the Catetory 5, Catetory 5e, and other lower cable standard and features with more strict specifications for crosstalk and system noise. It can be used for 10BASE-T Ethernet, 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet, 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet) and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet).Cat6 patch panel features high-density and provides the performance needed for present and next generation data communications networks and applications, including Gigabit Ethernet. These high-density panels are available in 12- through 48-port versions and feature enhanced front and rear labeling features for easy circuit identification.
Cat6a cable or Augmented Category 6 has a up to 500 MHz in bandwidth and has improved alien crosstalk characteristics, allowing 10GBASE-T to be run for 100 meters just as the same distance as 10Base-T, 100Base-TX, and 1000Base-T Ethernet. Cat6a patch panel is a 10G series panel designed to meet 10 Gigabit Ethernet IEEE 802.3an rev. 1.0 transmission requirements. The 10G cat6a patch panels are available in 24- and 48-port versions featuring port labeling areas and port numbering for easy circuit identification, which provides maximum strength and durability and eliminates panel flex during termination.
In fact there are not much practical difference between the Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a Patch Panel, One of the main difference is the wire gauge specified between them, The Cat6/6a is thicker than Cat5/5e, this can lead to unreliable connections on the punchdown side of the patch panel, to wit: When punching down Cat5/5e wire on a Cat6/6a, the Cat5/5e wire is enough smaller that it is possible to get what looks like a good punch, but the insulation on the wire is not actually penetrated or is only partially penetrated by the vampire jaw of the punchblock. When punching down Cat6/6a wire on a Cat5/5e panel, the larger wire can end up bending or even breaking the vampire jaws on the punchdown block. There are supposed to be other differences in the way the wire is held and the shape of the 'jaws' on the block itself, but depending on the brand it way differ.