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What is the difference between CAT5 and CAT 8?

Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8 Cable: What’s the Difference?

“I want to install data cables for my newly-built house. However, I have no idea which cable I should choose when speaking of Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8. If I use Cat8 cable, is it possible to use it with standard Cat7 connector? Can someone help me? Thanks in advance!”

As we know, Ethernet cable can be divided into many types such as Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, Cat8, etc. However, not everyone knows the exact difference between them on the comparison of Cat6 vs Cat7, Cat7 vs Cat8, etc. Therefore, many people are at a loss on which Ethernet cable they should adopt for their network. Since Cat6, Cat7 and Cat8 cable have aroused much attention among their kind, let’s focus on these three types of Ethernet patch cables, especially on the comparison of Cat6 vs Cat7 and Cat7 vs Cat8 in the following text. For more information on Cat5 and Cat5e patch cables, please read Quick View of Cat5, Cat5e and Cat6 Cables

Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8: General Introduction

What Is Cat6 Cable?

Cat6 cable is otherwise called “Category 6” Ethernet cable. It consists of four pairs of copper wire which supports up to 10 Gbps of Ethernet connection. Normally, it supports a maximum transmission speed up to 1 Gbps within 100m. While Cat6 cable supports 37-55 meters (depending on crosstalk) when transmitting at a speed of 10 Gbps. It can transmit signals up to 250 MHz in frequency, which indicates how often the signal can pass through the cable. What’s more, it uses the RJ-45 standard connector and is backward compatible with its previous versions such as Cat5 and Cat5e.


What Is Cat7 Cable?

Cat7 cable is otherwise called “Category 7” Ethernet cable. It supports high-speed Ethernet communication up to 10 Gbps. The Cat7 cable is backward compatible with Cat6, Cat5 and Cat5e cable categories. It offers a 100-meter 4-connector channel using shielded cabling, and has been designed to transmit signals at a frequency of 600 MHz.


Cat 7 cables require twisted wires to be fully shielded known as screen shielded twisted pair (SSTP) or screened foiled twisted pair (SFTP) wiring, which completely eliminates alien crosstalk while significantly improving noise resistance. Thus it allows the user to get higher possible speeds even with longer cables.

Cat8 Cable

Cat8 cable, or category 8 cable, is an Ethernet cable which differs greatly from the previous cables in that it supports a frequency of up to 2 GHz (2000 MHz), and is limited to a 30-meter 2-connector channel. While Cat8 cable requires shielded cabling as well. Most importantly, Cat8 Ethernet patch cables can support a speed of 25 Gbps or even 40 Gbps. The physical appearance of Cat8 cable is similar to lower category cables and it can be terminated in RJ45 connections or non-RJ45 connections. Cat8 cable is also backward compatible with its previous versions. Therefore, there is no problem to use it with standard Cat7 connector.


Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8 Cable Comparison

Cat6 vs Cat7

On Cat6 vs Cat7 comparison, transmission frequency and cabling length are two important factors for one to consider. From the introduction above, Cat6 cable offers the performance of up to 250 MHz while Cat7 cable is rated for transmission frequency of up to 600 MHz. The maximum cabling length of Cat6 network cable is 100m with 1 Gbps while Cat7 of 100 m with 10 Gbps.

As for cable price of Cat6 vs Cat7, Cat7 cable is more expensive than Cat6 cable if they are compared under the same conditions. If you cannot afford both of them, and then Cat5e would also be a good choice for 10G network.

By the way, the durability differs as well on Cat6 vs. Cat7. Cat6 cable has an estimated life cycle of around 10 years while Cat7 cable of around 15 years.

Cat7 vs Cat8

On Cat7 vs Cat8 comparison, transmission frequency and cabling length are also of great importance. Cat7 cable offers the performance of up to 600 MHz while Cat8 cable up to 2000 MHz. The maximum cabling length of Cat7 network cable is 100m with 10 Gbps while Cat8 of 30m with 25 Gbps or 40 Gbps.

As for cable price of Cat7 vs Cat8, Cat8 cable is more expensive for its unique feature different from the previous Ethernet cables.

Summary on Cat6 vs Cat7 vs Cat8

Last but not least, you can understand more clearly about the categories of the three Ethernet patch cables through the following table.

Cat 8 Ethernet Cable Explained


From the desktop to the data center, IT networks need to move more data than ever before, and they need to move it quickly. The right infrastructure cabling will facilitate maximum speed and performance. IT managers who are designing or upgrading a network have a number of cable options to navigate, including where and when to use Cat8 cable.

What is Cat 8 Ethernet Cable?

Category 8, or just Cat8, is the latest IEEE standard in copper Ethernet cable. It represents a significant leap in data transfer speed over the earlier Cat7 and Cat6a cables. It uses standard RJ45 connectors and is backward compatible with previous standards.

cat 8 cable

One of the key differences in Cat 8 cable is its shielding. As part of the cable jacket, a shielded or shielded twisted pair (STP) cable employs a layer of conductive material to protect the internal conductors from electromagnetic interference (EMI) , resulting in faster data transmission speeds and fewer errors. Cat8 cable goes one step further, wrapping each twisted pair in foil to virtually eliminate crosstalk and enable higher data transmission speeds. The result is a heavier gauge cable that is quite rigid and difficult to install in tight spaces.

How Fast is Cat 8 Cable?

Cat8 is the fastest Ethernet cable yet. Its data transfer speed of up to 40 Gbps is four times faster than Cat6a, while its support of bandwidth up to 2 GHz (four times more than standard Cat6a bandwidth) reduces latency for superior signal quality.

Ethernet Cable Speeds and Bandwidth

Cat 6 vs Cat 8

Cat 6Cat 8
Frequency250 MHz2000 MHz
Max. Speed1 Gbps40 Gbps
Max. Length328 ft. / 100 m98 ft. / 30 m

Cat 6a vs Cat 8

Cat 6aCat 8
Frequency500 MHz2000 MHz
Max. Speed10 Gbps40 Gbps
Max. Length328 ft. / 100 m98 ft. / 30 m

Cat 7 vs Cat 8

Cat 7Cat 8
Frequency600 MHz2000 MHz
Max. Speed10 Gbps40 Gbps
Max. Length328 ft. / 100 m98 ft. / 30 m

What is Cat 8 Cable Used For?

Cat 8 Ethernet cable is ideal for switch to switch communications in data centers and server rooms, where 25GBase‑T and 40GBase‑T networks are common. Its RJ45 ends will connect standard network equipment like switches and routers, allowing for 25G or 40G network upgrades that do not require a complete equipment overhaul.

Shielded foil twisted pair (S/FTP) construction includes shielding around each pair of wires within the cable to reduce near-end crosstalk (NEXT) and braiding around the group of pairs to minimize EMI/RFI line noise in crowded network installations.

PoE on Cat 8

Cat8 cable supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology for delivering power and data over a single cable. By eliminating or reducing the need for power cords, Cat8 cable can save space in crowded server rooms and simplify edge computing installations. With a maximum range of 98 ft. (30 m), Cat8 cable can reach PoE devices like security cameras and wireless access points when they are not conveniently close to an AC power source.

Should I Use Cat 8 Ethernet Cable for Gaming?

You certainly can use Cat8 for gaming but it’s really designed for high-speed switch to switch communication in a data center. Plus, the heavier gauge Cat8 cable is quite rigid, making it more difficult to install and terminate. A better, more cost-effective choice for a «future-proofed» home network, and the best Ethernet cable for gaming, would be Cat6 or Cat6a cable.

Will Cat 8 Work with My Router?

Yes, but for most home applications Cat 6a is more than sufficient. Most home network equipment cannot operate at Cat 8 speed, so Cat 8 cable is overkill. Because it’s much faster than most people need, Cat 8 cable is best suited for data center applications.

Is Cat 8 Worth It?

Since Cat 8 speed is theoretical, a legacy device that’s incapable of operating at 40 Gbps won’t do so simply because you use a cable that is. Network transmission speed depends on whether all connected components are able to operate at higher speeds. Unless they are, there’s no point in using a faster cable, and you’re better off with an earlier, more affordable version. Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7 cannot compete with Cat8 in terms of frequency and speed, but they’re much better suited for home applications.

Tripp Lite Cat 8 Cables

If your equipment can handle Cat8 speed, and your internet can support it, Tripp Lite offers Cat8 cables with lengths ranging from 3 ft. (0.9 m) to 60 ft. (18.3 m). All models support PoE and offer convenient snagless RJ45 connectors, integral strain relief and a lifetime warranty.

What is the Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming or Streaming?

What is the Best Ethernet Cable Gaming or Streaming

Ethernet cable has become faster with better speeds over the years with constant improvements.

This includes how the wires are wrapped and shielded to reduce errors, cross talk, and block outside interference.

Ethernet cable is rated by a category number called Cat, with all versions being backward compatible.

The rated performance of each Cat type is the difference between all the different numbers.

The higher the Cat number, the better the performance.

Ethernet Cable Types and Performance

What is the Best Ethernet Cable Gaming or Streaming Cat 5e

Performance 100Mbps at 100 Meters 100MHz bandwidth.

Used in older networks and no longer installed on new networks.

Performance 1000Mbps at 100 Meters 100MHz bandwidth.

Cat-5e (Cat-5 Enhanced) is widely used in networks due to cost vs performance.

It has a much better performance compared to standard Cat-5 and is the first Gigabyte Ethernet.

Performance 10Gbps at 55 Meters 250MHz bandwidth.

Cat-6 gives a big improvement in performance over Cat-5e. Cat-6 cables are more tightly wound and have an outer foil or braided shielding.

The foil or shielding protects the wires, helping to prevent crosstalk and noise interference from outside sources such as wireless signals.

Cat-6 cable has speeds up to 10Gbps, but only up to 55 meters or roughly 180 feet.

What is the Best Ethernet Cable Gaming or Streaming Cat 6

Performance 10Gbps at 100 Meters 500MHz bandwidth.

Cat-6a (Augmented) can support twice the maximum bandwidth than standard Cat-6 and can maintain higher speeds over longer distances.

What is the Best Ethernet Cable Gaming or Streaming Cat 7

Performance 10Gbps at 100 Meters 600MHz bandwidth.

Cat-7 has very high specifications, with each pair of wires individually shielded as well as the entire cable.

This helps to greatly reduce crosstalk and outside interference.

While Cat-7 performance rating is very similar to Cat-6a, its higher specification makes for a much more reliable Ethernet cable.

What is the Best Ethernet Cable Gaming or Streaming Cat 8

Performance 25Gbps-40Gbps at 100 Meters 100 Meters 2000MHz bandwidth.

Ethernet Cat Type vs. Performance vs. Costs

Ethernet Cat Type vs Performance vs Costs

Buying the newest and fastest Ethernet cable type will not boost performance in most households.

The costs of the higher Ethernet cable types do not make sense for most homes.

The most commonly used routers are Gigabyte Ethernet with transfer speeds at 1000Mbps which is how fast Cat-5e is rated for.

Add to this that the standard home internet speed is roughly 25Mpbs-100Mpbs, and you can see that faster, better cable often doesn’t translate to higher speeds.

If your home does have a fast 10Gbps router, your ISP internet speed will also need to be considered.

Of course, if you want fast internal LAN speeds and have a 10Gbps router such as Asus RT-AX89X, 10Gbps is achievable with Cat-6.

For a household that has a lot of wireless signals, such as close to a cell tower or a busy WiFi environment, Cat-7 would be a good option.

If you are looking to future-proof a setup, a high Cat type will make good sense, but for those looking for quicker speeds right now, very high types will likely not make much difference.

What is the Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming or Streaming?

In my opinion, the best Ethernet cable type for gaming or streaming is Cat-6a.

The costs for the higher types only make sense if you are trying to future proof your setup.

For example, Cat-7 or Cat-8 can make sense for an installation in a home behind the walls which is hard to run.

Of course, if you have the money, Cat-7 or Cat-8 would be the best and fastest you can get even if you see no improvement.

Our Picks Best Ethernet Cable for Gaming or Streaming

Cable Matters 5-Pack Snagless Short Cat6A (SSTP, SFTP) Shielded Ethernet Cable in Black 5 ft

For most households, Cat-6a will make the most sense with good speeds, future proof, and reasonable costs.

Of course, if money is not a concern, Cat-7 or Cat-8 will be better.

Cat-7 is a very fast Ethernet cable that will be very good for Gaming or streaming.

It will be overkill for most with the average home not seeing an increase in speeds due to current routers and ISP internet speeds.

It does cost much more compared to other versions.

Cat-8 would only be a good fit in a home with very fast internet and router such as Google Fiber.

Is Cat-5, Cat-6, Cat-7 or Cat-8 Better for Gaming?

Cat-8 currently has the fastest transfer rate, but it likely will not give a performance boot to most gamers.

Cat-7 also is unlikely to give much of a boost compared to Cat-5e or Cat-6.

Cat-5e has a rated performance of 1000Mbps, while Cat-6 has a rated 10Gbps.

Since all networks are only as fast as the slowest components, almost all internet connections can not reach these speeds.

The cost to the benefit will not be there, but if a home needs to be future-proof, it may be of benefit to install Cat-7 or Cat-8.

Each home will have different Ethernet requirements, and what works for one home may not work for the next.

Unless you have very fast internet speeds such as Google Fiber, 5G wireless, or satellite, having the newest Ethernet cable types will not show any improvement.

A router’s hardware will also need to handle fast speeds or will bottleneck.

If you want to future-proof, your home’s newer versions may make sense, especially if installed behind walls where they are hard to replace.

Of course, if costs are not a concern, Cat-8 would currently be the best Ethernet version to buy.

What is the best Ethernet category version for you? Let us know in the comment below.

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