What is Cat5e Cable?
Category 5e (enhanced), also known as Cat5e, is a type of cable that is used in the structured cabling for computer networks, such as Ethernet, telephony and video.
The bandwidth of Cat5e cable was made to support 1000 Mbps "gigabit" speeds, this means that it should be faster than Cat5. Cat5e differentiates because it has been improved by tightening some crosstalk specifications and introducing new crosstalk specifications. In this respect, crosstalk referrs to electromagnetic interference from one unshielded twisted pair to another twisted pair, which are normally running in parallel. These things combined makes sure Cat5e gives you a fast and more reliable speed output compared with Cat5.
Despite being faster and more reliable, Cat5 and Cat5e don't have too many differences specification wise. As the category number gets higher, so does the speed and Mhz of the wire. It's good to keep in mind that not all experiences will be the same. It is possible to get 1 Gb speeds on regular Cat5 cable and longer than 100 metres. The standard has not been tested so it's likely that mixed results will occur.
Category 6 Cable
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Fibre optics work by sending information coded in a beam of light down a glass or plastic pipe.
What is Fibre Optics?
A fibre optic cable is made up of extremely thin strands of glass or plastic known as optical fibres, these cables can contain as few as two strands, to several hundred strands. It's said that each strand can carry 25'000 telephone calls, so a single cable can carry several million calls. Fibre optic cables carry information between two places using entirely optical (light-based) technology.
How does Fibre Optics work?
Light travels down a fibre optic cable by bouncing repeatedly off the walls. Rather than the light escaping out of the glass pipe, it hits the glass at a shallow angle, less than 42 degrees, meaning the light is reflected back in as if the glass were a mirror. This is called total internal reflection.
The structure of the cable is made up of two separate parts. The main part of the cable in the middle, is what's called the Core, this is what the light travels through. Around the core is another layer of glass called the Cladding. The cladding has a lower refractive index and as such keeps the light signals inside of the core.
Advantages of Fibre Optics over Copper
Less Attenutation - Information travels roughly ten times further before it needs to be amplified. This makes fibre optic networks simple and cheaper to operate and maintain.
No Interference - Unlike copper cables, there's no crosstalk (electromagnetic interference) between the optical fibres. This means they transmit information more reliably and with better signal quality.
Higher Bandwidth - Fibre optic cables can carry far more data than copper cables of the same diameter.
Types of Fibre Optic cables
There are a few different ways in which light travels down the fibre, these are called Modes.
The simplest type of optical fibre is called single-mode. It has a very thin core, approximately 5-10 microns, (millionths of a metre), in diameter. In this mode, all signals travel straight down the middle without bouncing off the edges. Single-mode fibres are wrapper together in a huge bundle and are most commonly used to carry TV, Internet and telephone signals. This mode of fibre can send information over 60 miles.
Another type of fibre optic is called multi-mode. Each fibre in multi-mode cable is approximately 10 times bigger than a stand in a single-mode cable. As a result of this, the light beams can travel through the core by following a variety of different paths. Multi-mode cables send information over a relatively short distances and are used to link computer networks together.