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Ethernet cable connections

The best way of connecting devices such as PCs, laptops, TVs and network switches is through the use of ethernet cables – Cat 5, Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling. The maximum length of such ethernet cabling through the property is 100 metres.

All the cables look physically similar, and all terminate with common RJ45 plugs. The only way to differentiate them, from a casual-user perspective, is to look at the printed wording on the outside of the cable.

Category 5 cabling (Cat5), is an older type of network cabling. Cat5 cable was made to support theoretical speeds of 10Mbps and 100Mbps. You may be able to get faster speeds on a Cat5 cable, particularly if the cable is short, but this is not guaranteed.

Since Cat5 is an older type of cabling, you probably will not find it available now, but you may have some supplied with an older router, switch or other networking device.

In order to take full advantage of HBL's internet speed (100Mbps), you are advised to consider using Cat5e or Cat6 cabling.

Category 5 enhanced cabling (Cat5e), is an improvement on Cat5 cabling. It was made to support 1000Mbps 'gigabit' speeds, so in theory it is faster than Cat5. It also cuts down on crosstalk, the interference you can sometimes get between wires inside the cable. You are more likely to get fast, reliable speed out of Cat5e cabling compared to Cat5. If you already have Cat5e cabling throughout your property there is no legitimate reason for replacing it.

Category 6 cabling (Cat6) is the next step up from Cat5e and includes a few more improvements. It has even stricter specifications when it comes to interference, and it is capable of up to 10-Gigabit speeds. You probably will not use these speeds in your home, and the improvements will not make a huge difference in regular usage, so you do not need to upgrade to Cat6. But, if you are buying new cable, you might as well, the upgrade is an improvement over its predecessor at negligible additional cost.