4XEM Inc.

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

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 Gauge 24AWG 23AWG 23AWG
Frequency 100MHz 250MHz 500MHz
Speed 10/100/1000 Base-T 10/100/1000/10G Base-T 10/100/1000/10G Base-T
Max Length 100m (326ft) 10/100/1000 – 100m (326ft)10G – 55m (180ft) 100m (326ft)
Connector 8P8C (RJ-45) 8P8C (RJ-45) 8P8C (RJ-45)
Pins Required 10/100 – 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
Core None Plastic ‘X’ shaped core separating 4 individual pairs Plastic ‘X’ shaped core separating 4 individual pairs
Bend Radius* < 4 times cable outer diameter < 4 times cable outer diameter < 4 times cable outer diameter

* 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).