Last edited 08 Nov 2020


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Category 5 cable (CAT5 or Cat 5) is the fifth generation of standard, twisted-pair cable used for carrying signals, typically ethernet. It provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is commonly used for wired local area networks (LANs) and can carry data, telephone communications and video. It is possible to carry multiple signals on a single cable.

The standard for CAT 5 was defined by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

CAT5 cable usually, although not always, contains four twisted pairs of copper wire. These can be solid or stranded. Solid can be used over longer runs and is best suited to permanent wiring whereas stranded is more flexible and so is better able to withstand bending commonly encountered in temporary uses.

An enhanced specification CAT5e provides improved crosstalk and system noise characteristics. In addition newer, higher performance standards have been developed such as CAT6, CAT6a and CAT7, however CAT5 and CAT5e remain popular as they are relatively economical and provide a reasonably good standard of performance.

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