Category Cable That’s Right For You: Cat5e, Cat6e or Cat6a

Category cable is a type of Ethernet cable that has been evolving since its creation. It is used for data transmission in telecommunication systems, computer networks, and security systems. At Distributor Wire & Cable (DWC), we even have our own branded category cable!

As businesses, companies, and people expect more from their wire & cable, it is important to future proof systems to last. So, what kind of category cable should you choose? This blog will help you make the right selection for you and your customers.


Enhanced is what the “e” in Cat5e stands for and it is the successor to Cat5. In comparison to Cat5, this product offers better crosstalk capability. However, it does deliver the same bandwidth speed as Cat5. It is commonly used in the US and you will find Cat5e in most residential homes. While it may not be the fastest option listed in this blog, it is the most cost effective.


This type of category cable is an enhanced specification designed to reach frequencies of 600 MHz. It was introduced as an upgrade to the Cat6 standard, however, Cat6e has no standard recognized by the TIA like there is for Cat5e and Cat6a. Cat6e performs better when installed in an environment with high noise or radio frequency interference, commonly found in data centers.


The “a” in Cat6a stands for augmented, which represents the improved specifications in comparison to Cat6. It can transfer data at a bandwidth of up to 500 MHz, significantly faster than Cat6, clocking in at 250MHz. It has additional and tighter twists, with additional insulation to reduce crosstalk. Cat6a is also compatible with Cat6 or Cat5e, but speeds will perform to the lowest category cable or connector that is installed. 

Category cable can be manufactured in PVC, Plenum, Shielded or Non-Shielded constructions, and it can also be constructed with a grounded foil shield. DWC offers its brand of Cat5e and Cat6e in pull boxes and our Cat6a on reels. Jacket colors come in black, blue, green, gray, orange, pink, purple, red, white and yellow, and we offer striping and cutting to length on all orders. Give us a call for a quote or get one here. Need a stock quote? We can do that too! 888.439.2947