Choosing a Cable: Is Cat 3 Right for You?
Home wiring can be complicated if you are unsure of what cable is the best for your applications. If you are wondering if you should use Cat 3 wire, keep reading!
Cat 3 cable, or Category 3 cable, was quite common several decades ago. Cat 3 wire hit its heyday in the 1990s, when it was used in home wiring and office wiring. It has since been mostly replaced by better technology, which you will learn about soon, but that does not mean that Cat 3 cable is totally non-existent these days.
Now, Cat 3 wire is typically used for two-line phone setups. If you’re attempting to create this type of system, Cat 3 cable may be a great choice for your home wiring! But if you are undertaking any other type of wired networking, you may want to try something else.
This is because Cat 3 wire can only handle data speeds of 10 Mbps, with a maximum frequency of 16 MHz. This is quite low and slow when compared with more modern home wiring options.
In the early 2000s, Cat 3 cables were mostly replaced by Cat 5 cables. It is rated at a maximum frequency of 100 MHz and top speeds of 100 Mbps, so you can see why it took over! However, even Cat 5 cables are probably not the right choice for your home wiring.
Why? Because there’s something better!
Cat 5e has mostly replaced Cat 5 cable these days. It stands for Category 5 enhanced, and it is physically the same as a Cat 5 cable but with more stringent crosstalk standards. This type of cabling is very common in home wiring these days, as well as in business applications.
Cat 6 cabling is the latest on the market and is posed to take over from Cat 5e wires. As the number goes up, so does the transmission performance and available bandwidth. A Cat 6 cable has a maximum frequency of 200 MHz!
In most cases, Cat 3 wire will be outdated for your home wiring, and choosing either Cat 5e or Cat 6 wires is a better choice. As technology improves, more people will likely be switching to Cat 6 cabling, so keep that in mind for future-proofing your home or business networking and cables.
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