CAT 5e

Category 5 cable (Cat 5) is a twisted pair cable for carrying signals. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet. The cable standard provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). Cat 5 is also used to carry other signals such as telephony and video.

The cable is commonly connected using punch down blocks and modular connectors. Most Category 5 cables are unshielded, relying on the twisted pair design and differential signaling for noise rejection.

Category 5 has been superseded by the Category 5e (enhanced) specification.[1]

TIA/EIA-568-B.1-2001 T568A Wiring
Pin Pair Wire Color
1 3 1 white/green
2 3 2 green
3 2 1 white/orange
4 1 2 blue
5 1 1 white/blue
6 2 2 orange
7 4 1 white/brown
8 4 2 brown
TIA/EIA-568-B.1-2001 T568B Wiring[2]
Pin Pair Wire Color
1 2 1 white/orange
2 2 2 orange
3 3 1 white/green
4 1 2 blue
5 1 1 white/blue
6 3 2 green
7 4 1 white/brown
8 4 2 brown

Cable standard

The specification for Category 5 cable was defined in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A, with clarification in TSB-95.[3] These documents specify performance characteristics and test requirements for frequencies of up to 100 MHz. Cable types, connector types and cabling topologies are defined by TIA/EIA-568-B. Nearly always, 8P8C modular connectors, often referred to as RJ45, are used for connecting category 5 cable. The cable is terminated in either the T568A scheme or the T568B scheme. The two schemes work equally well and may be mixed in an installation so long as the same scheme is used on both ends of each cable.

Each of the four pairs in a Cat 5 cable has differing precise number of twists per metre to minimize crosstalk between the pairs. Although cable assemblies containing 4 pairs are common, Category 5 is not limited to 4 pairs. Backbone applications involve using up to 100 pairs.[4] This use of balanced lines helps preserve a high signal-to-noise ratio despite interference from both external sources and crosstalk from other pairs.

The cable is available in both stranded and solid conductor forms. The stranded form is more flexible and withstands more bending without breaking. Permanent wiring (for example, the wiring inside the wall that connects a wall socket to a central patch panel) is solid core, while patch cables (for example, the movable cable that plugs into the wall socket on one end and a computer on the other) are stranded.

The specific category of cable in use can be identified by the printing on the side of the cable.[5]

Bending radius

Most Category 5 cables can be bent at any radius exceeding approximately four times the outside diameter of the cable.[6][7]

Maximum cable segment length

The maximum length for a cable segment is 100 m per TIA/EIA 568-5-A.[8] If longer runs are required, the use of active hardware such as a repeater or switch is necessary.[9][10] The specifications for 10BASE-T networking specify a 100 metre length between active devices.[11] This allows for 90 metres of solid-core permanent wiring, two connectors and two stranded patch cables of 5 metres, one at each end.[12]

Category 5 vs. 5e

The category 5e specification improves upon the category 5 specification by tightening some crosstalk specifications and introducing new crosstalk specifications that were not present in the original category 5 specification. The bandwidth of category 5 and 5e is the same - 100 MHz.[13][14]


This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet over twisted pair. The cable standard provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet). 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX Ethernet connections require two wire pairs. 1000BASE-T Ethernet connections require four wire pairs. Through the use of power over Ethernet (PoE), up to Template:No wrap of power can be carried over the cable in addition to Ethernet data.

Cat 5 is also used to carry other signals such as telephony and video. In some cases, multiple signals can be carried on a single cable; Cat 5 can carry two conventional telephone lines as well as 100BASE-TX in a single cable. The USOC/RJ-61 wiring standard may be used in multi-line telephone connections.

Various schemes exist for transporting both analog and digital video over the cable. HDBaseT (10.2 Gbit/s) is one such scheme.[15]


Electrical characteristics for Cat 5e UTP
Property Nominal Value Tolerance Unit ref
Characteristic impedance @ 100 MHz 100 ± 15 Ω [16]
Nominal characteristic impedance @ 100 MHz 100 ± 5 Ω [16]
DC-Loop resistance ≤ 0.188 Ω/m [16]
Propagation speed 0.64 c [16]
Propagation delay 4.80-5.30 ns/m [16]
Delay skew < 100 MHz < 0.20 ns/m [16]
Capacitance at 800 Hz 52 pF/m [16]
Inductance 525 nH/m [17]
Corner frequency[dubious ] ≤ 57 kHz [17]
Max tensile load, during installation 100 N [16]
Wire diameter AWG-24 (0.51054 mm  ; 0.205 mm2) [16][18]
Insulation thickness 0.245 mm [16]
Maximum current per conductor 0.577 A [18]
Temperature operating -55 to +60 °C [16]
Maximum operating voltage
(PoE uses max 57 V DC)[19]
125 V DC [20]


Outer insulation is typically PVC or LSOH.

Example materials used as insulation in the cable
Acronym Material
PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
PE Polyethylene
FP Foamed polyethylene
FEP Teflon/fluorinated ethylene propylene
FFEP Foamed Teflon/fluorinated ethylene propylene
AD/PE Air dielectric/polyethylene


Cat 5 and Cat 5e cables typically use 24–26 AWG wire. Category 6 cable tend to have slightly more copper in each cable, with standard gauges of 22–24 AWG.

Individual twist lengths

By altering the length of each twist, crosstalk is reduced, without affecting the characteristic impedance.[dubious ] The distance per twist is commonly referred to as pitch.

   Pair color [cm] per turn Turns per [m]
Green 1.53 65.2
Blue 1.54 64.8
Orange 1.78 56.2
Brown 1.94 51.7

Environmental ratings

US & Canada fire certifications[21]
Class Phrase Standards
CMP Communications Plenum CSA FT6[22] or NFPA 262 (UL 910)
CMR Communications Riser UL 1666
CMG Communications General purpose CSA FT4
CM Communications UL 1685 (UL 1581, Sec. 1160) Vertical-Tray
CMX Communications Residential UL 1581, Sec. 1080 (VW-1)
CMR (Communications Riser), insulated with high-density polyolefin and jacketed with low-smoke polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
CMP (Communications Plenum), insulated with fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) and polyethylene (PE) and jacketed with low-smoke polyvinyl chloride (PVC), due to better flame test ratings.
CM (Communications) is insulated with high-density polyolefin, but not jacketed with PVC and therefore is the lowest of the three in flame resistance.

Some cables are "UV-rated" or "UV-stable" meaning they can be exposed to outdoor UV radiation without significant destruction. The materials used for the mantle are usually PVC.[23]

Any cable that contains air spaces can breathe in moisture, especially if the cable runs between indoor and outdoor spaces. Warm moist air can cause condensation inside the colder parts of the cable outdoors. It may be necessary to take precautions such as sealing the ends of the cables. Some cables are suitable for "direct burial", but this usually requires that the cable be gel filled in order to hinder moisture migration into the cable.

When using a cable for a tower, attention must be given to vertical cable runs that may channel water into sensitive indoor equipment.[24] This can often be solved by adding a drip-loop at the bottom of the run of cable.

Plenum-rated cables are slower to burn and produce less smoke than cables using a mantle of materials like PVC. This also affects legal requirements for a fire sprinkler system. That is if a plenum-rated cable is used, sprinkler requirement may be eliminated.[25]

Shielded cables (FTP/STP) are useful for environments where proximity to RF equipment may introduce electromagnetic interference, and can also be used where eavesdropping likelihood should be minimized.

See also


Template:UTP Cable Standards

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