​What’s the difference between Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6A?

​What’s the difference between Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6A?

Posted by 4XEM Team on 26th Feb 2020

I’m glad you asked. Here’s a handy-dandy chart outlining some key information among the 3 cable types.

Cat 5e
Cat 6
Cat 6A
Wire Gauge24AWG23AWG23AWG
Frequency100MHz250MHz500MHz
Speed10/100/1000 Base-T10/100/1000/10G Base-T10/100/1000/10G Base-T
Max Length100m (326ft)10/100/1000 – 100m (326ft)

10G – 55m (180ft)

100m (326ft)
Connector8P8C (RJ-45)8P8C (RJ-45)8P8C (RJ-45)
Pins Required10/100 – 2-pair (pins 1,2,3,6)

1000 – All 4-pairs

10/100 - 2-pair (pins 1,2,3,6)

1000/10G – All 4-pairs

10/100 - 2-pair (pins 1,2,3,6)

1000/10G – All 4-pairs

CoreNonePlastic ‘X’ shaped core separating 4 individual pairsPlastic ‘X’ shaped core separating 4 individual pairs
Bend Radius*< 4 times cable outer diameter< 4 times cable outer diameter< 4 times cable outer diameter
See Chart Below

* Note: as Cat 5e is more commonly the thinner cable, as such, it can make tighter bends than Cat 6/6A. Some things that can affect cable diameter are if the cable is shielded or if the cable is outdoor rated (both apply to all categories)