Ethernet cord specs- difference?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by flyfish29, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    I saw something at the store about high speed ethernet cords. It had a twisted wire config. to improve communication. I'm hooking up a local network with ps2, iMac and iBook using a Verizon DSL router and hub with these cords.

    I have a bunch of ethernet cords which I think are all Cat 5 cord, but some have markings like type CM, 5E, type PCC, cable master, patch, etc. (I know what a crossover cable is, but that is about it.)

    I am wondering if they are high speed and what markings they would have (numbers, letters, etc.) to indicate their speed?

    I also wonder if it is really necessary?

  2. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Typically patch cables will be one of three classifications:

    Category 5 (Cat 5) - Tested to 100Mb/s

    Category 5 Enhanced (Cat 5e) - Tested to 100Mb/s

    Category 6 (Cat 6) - Designed for Gigabit Ethernet.

    Theoretically, your LAN may support gigabit ethernet, but as to if you'll ever see that speed (due to network interference, application limitations, router limitations, etc.), it's questionable.

    Cat 6 is a little more expensive, and is probably a better investment since it does support the higher speeds.

    In terms of internet performance, any of the 3 will do just fine.
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    There are three different things that the cable markings can refer to:

    1) The grade of the cable--cat3, cat5, cat5e, etc.

    2) The way the cable is wired--10/100 ethernet patch, ethernet crossover, gigabit, etc.

    3) The brand of the cable (this is almost certainly what the oddball markings on your cables are).

    As far as you're concerned, only two of those categories make any difference to you: the grade of the cable, and the way it's wired. And, simply put, if you know the difference between crossover and patch cables, and you think the cables are all cat5 (or more likely cat5e), then any of them will almost certainly do what you want.

    Although there are a few different (and obscure) ways of wiring cables, essentially all pre-made cables will be wired as either 10/100 cables or gigabit cables, either of which will be fine for what you want to do (almost no home user needs or can even take advantage of gigabit ethernet). And the only thing past that that has any meaning is the grade of the cable; most relatively new cables are cat5e, which is fast enough for anything through gigabit, or cat5, which is functionally the same--therefore, either is enough for you. Cat3 is the only other type that they even might be, and that's rare these days--it's hard to find, and I haven't even seen any in years.
  4. WCat macrumors member


    Regarding the twisted wire part--all Cat 5 and Cat 6 is twisted anyways. The actual wire size and number of turns per inch determine the characteristic impedance of the cable. So someone who says theirs is better because they have more twists is probably talking nonsense. The wires are always arranged as pairs of wires twisted together and arranged by color. White/blue is twisted together with blue/white, etc. If the pairs are not connected correctly (such as a wiring mistake on the RJ-45 connector on both ends symmetrically) you'll get 10 mbps, but usually no higher due to errors.
  5. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Cat 5 or Cat 5e is plenty for normal networking. Gigabit ethernet, it more money than it's worth, in my opinion.
  6. janey macrumors 603


    Dec 20, 2002
    sunny los angeles
    depends on your needs. you cant just say that outright.

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