CAT5e, CAT6 and CAT7 cabling

iRewire are fully experienced in installing network cables i.e. CAT5e, CAT6 and CAT7 in offices and homes for rapid internet access and data retrieval. Here we’ll explain the differences between CAT5e, CAT6 and CAT7 cabling. All three types of cabling can be wired or rewired in to homes and offices. The end product is faster internet access and faster, smoother access to your computer network.


The CAT in CAT cabling stands for ‘Category’. The different numbers after the abbreviation CAT is the measurement of how quick the data can be retrieved by you. So, generally speaking the higher the number the faster the signal is and therefore its performance is more advanced. CAT cabling are twisted pairs of cabling for computer networks. The cable is also used to carry other signals such as telephony and video.

CAT5 cabling and CAT5e cabling

CAT5 cabling

CAT5 cabling took 100 MHz bursts and was used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet over twisted pair. The cable standard provided performance of up to 100 MHz and was suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). However, CAT5 cabling has now been superseded by CAT5e. The E of CAT5e stands for ‘enhanced’.

CAT5e cabling

CAT5e or Category 5 enhanced cabling, is an improvement on Cat5 cabling. Therefore, if you request CAT5 cabling we would advise on installing CAT5 E cabling instead (as CAT5 has been superseded). The ‘enhanced’ cabling is made to support 1000 Mbps "gigabit" speeds, so in theory, it's faster than Cat5. It also cuts down on crosstalk, the interference you can sometimes get between wires inside the cable, so overall CAT5e cabling is better than CAT5 cabling. CAT5 cabling is ideal for homeowners requiring up to 1 GB speed at 100 meters and it has a frequency of 350MHz.

CAT6 Cabling

The next level up from CAT5e cabling is CAT6 cabling. Category 6 cable is a standardised twisted pair cable also used for ethernet and other networking capabilities. The difference between CAT5 cabling and CAT6 cabling ultimately is speed and reduced crosstalk. CAT6 can take 1gb of data and used for hardwired network connections.

Which is better CAT5 or CAT6 cabling?

This is a very good question and the right cabling depends on what your needs are. If you would like CAT cabling in your home for Internet access audio and film then CAT5 E is generally capable of meeting your requirements. The speed supported by this type of cable is probably going to be faster than your residential Internet connection for the time being. When CAT5 cabling requires upgrading it won’t necessarily be difficult or expensive to upgrade it, so this is a good start for residential properties.

If you are a commercial user demanding not just fast Internet speeds but also fast internal network speeds this is a completely different category. You’re better off with CAT6 cabling - currently.

CAT6 cabling is ideal for applications such as working on video, audio editing and accessing data on networked computers because it allows for fast transfer of files from one computer to another. CAT6 cables have high gigabit networking abilities with up to 10GB at 55 meters, with a frequency of 550 MHz. It has less cross talk than CAT5 E due to the cable construction therefore CAT6 is more future proof and has faster networking capabilities.

Cabling keeps improving and once your CAT cabling is installed so you can retrieve data faster, it can also be upgraded as your needs grow. The next level up from CAT6 cabling is CAT7 (imaginatively called) and this makes your network even smoother.

CAT7 Cabling

Ethernet cabling, which is basically the plumbing pipes of the Internet, supports increasingly faster bandwidth speeds and improvements in noise cancellation. The next level from CAT6 cabling is CAT7. This higher level provides up to 10GB, with a frequency of 600 MHz therefore we would recommend this for wiring up your smart home. One of the greatest advantages of CAT7 cables is the shielding of its twisted pairs which significantly improves the noise resistance. It is more resilient to interference compared to CAT5 cabling due to the individual cable pairs inside being shielded as well as the extra thick shielding on the outside. Currently it is one of the more expensive options but it is also considered to be the most durable as it has improved overall return on investment.

Installing CAT Cabling in Homes and Office

To book your CAT cabling installation, please fill in the form below or contact our CAT Cabling rewiring team on 0800 788 0629 and we will be in touch asap.


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