Factors To Consider When Choosing Ethernet Cables

Ethernet cables are essential players in the world of networking, as they transmit data between computers and servers. The sheer variety of Ethernet cables available can be overwhelming for anyone, especially those without a deep understanding of networking technology. Read on to learn some factors to consider when choosing Ethernet cables that will help you make the best decision for your needs.

1. Bandwidth Requirements

It’s essential to know the bandwidth requirement for your specific networking needs to choose the right Ethernet cable. Speeds can vary widely. For instance, a gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-T) cable can handle speeds up to 1 Gbps, while a Cat 6 cable can handle speeds up to 10 Gbps. Consider how you want to use the cable to determine bandwidth suitability, whether you want to stream, game, or simply browse.

2. Cable Length

Longer Ethernet cables may lead to signal degradation or “attenuation.” For optimum performance, keep cable lengths below 100 meters (328 feet). This limit is generally acceptable for most home or small-business networks. If longer distances are necessary, consider using signal boosters or fiber-optic cables to maintain signal integrity.

3. Shielding and Insulation

Shielding and insulation play vital roles in minimizing electromagnetic interference (EMI) and crosstalk. Typical shielding configurations include unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) and shielded twisted-pair (STP) cables. UTP cables are more affordable but are susceptible to EMI, while STP cables offer better protection against EMI but are more expensive.

4. Connectors and Compatibility

Ethernet cables mainly use RJ45 connectors. Make sure the cable end caps match your networking equipment, as there are different types of connectors available (RJ11, RJ12, etc.). Confirm that the devices you plan to connect support the cable standard and speeds that the chosen Ethernet cable provides.

5. Non-Bonded vs. Bonded Ethernet Cables

You should also consider the differences between non-bonded and bonded Ethernet cables and which type you want. Non-bonded cables consist of individual pairs of twist rates that vary to reduce crosstalk. Bonded cables, on the other hand, have twists connected firmly together with no gaps. Bonded cables often provide superior signal transmission and minimal crosstalk. Although it’s more expensive, picking a bonded cable can be a great investment, particularly for high-speed networking needs.

With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to make an informed decision when choosing an Ethernet cable that meets your networking needs. Remember that investing in the right cable can save you time and headaches in the long run. So, make sure you buy the best Ethernet cable for your network!


  • heather

    This was a helpful post for me to read thanks for sharing. I am not too techie so this was a good one for me to read.

  • Tamra Phelps

    Definitely not the item to go cheap on, lol. You don’t want the cable to go out at a bad moment because youy saved a few bucks on cables, lol.

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