Your shopping cart is empty!
You can establish a home network for your family using bulk cat5, cat5e or cat6 bulk cables. With each family member relying so much on the computer to get in touch with friends through emails and instant messages, download music and video, do schoolwork, transact business, play games, or shop, most homes have several PCs or laptops running simultaneously, with parents and children vying for computer time. Putting up a home network is one solution that allows any member of the family to access his own files, music, and games regardless of which desktop or laptop he has logged in.
Families who can afford to provide each family member with his own computer do not have to contend with the issue of computer time. However, family members usually share videos, music, and other files, and share a single printer or scanner that is inconvenient to move from one computer to another. It is more convenient if your home computers are connected in a network that allows file sharing and the use of a network printer without employing other devices like memory sticks and flash drives. Thus, for households with multiple computers, a home network becomes a necessity.
Choosing the Ethernet Cable for Your Home Network
Putting up a home network can be quite simple if you opt for a wireless network. However, there are some advantages to having a wired network for your home, and you can have the cables installed with minimal work involved. Wired networks are typically faster than wireless networks, allowing the transfer of huge volumes of data quickly.
The first step to putting up a home network, when you have two or more computers at home, is to choose which cable to use. Below is a comparison of Ethernet cable standards from which you can choose for cabling your network. The older cat5 cables are the least expensive, while the more recent cat6 and cat6e cables have much higher costs. If you want immediate cost savings, it means cabling with cat5. However, there are other considerations to make, and the more expensive cat6 or cat6e may be more cost effective for your system.
Category 5 cabling, also known as Cat5, is an older type of network cabling. It consists of four twisted wire pairs inside the cable sheath, with a specific number of twists that reduces signal interference. Cat5 cables support theoretical speeds of 10Mbps and 100Mbps, and can give gigabit speeds when you use shorter cables though this is not always guaranteed.
Cat5e or category 5 enhanced Ethernet cable is also made up of four twisted wire pairs like cat5, but with more number of twists per linear unit. The higher number of twists in cat5e give better signal integrity and allows greater data capacity over long distances. Cat5e is an improvement on Cat5 cabling that supports 1000 Mbps or Gigabit speeds, so in theory, it is faster than Cat5. The greater number of twists in the cat5e cable cuts down the interference between wires inside the cable, which is referred to as crosstalk. Thus, you get fast, reliable speed out of Cat5e cabling compared to Cat5.
Cat6 or category 6 cables support data transmissions of 1 Gigabit or less, and is capable of 10-Gigabit speeds in some installations. It is the next step up from Cat5e and includes a few more improvements, like less crosstalk and the extension of the available bandwidth to 200 MHz compared to 100 MHz for cat5e. Cat6 cables are thicker that cat5/5e cables because of the higher number of twists for the wire pairs and sometimes, that use of a plastic spline in the middle of the cable that is said to limit cross talk. Thus, cat6 cables are thicker and more difficult to handle compared to the older Ethernet cables.
Cat6e or category 6 enhanced cables are offered by some manufacturers as an improvement over cat6, though this is not a legitimate or recognized cable standard. Cat6e is presumed to double the bandwidth frequency to up to 500 MHz, though the increase in the transfer speeds can vary from every manufacturer due to the lack of recognized industry standards.
From the capabilities of each type of Ethernet cable, the main issues are speed and crosstalk or interference. Most homeowners do not require Gigabit speeds, and if you do not engage in business, chances are the volume and size of the files that you transfer or share are not likely to increase much very soon. Thus, the cheaper cat5 or cat5e cables that are still very much in use are the better choices, particularly when you compare cable costs. Cat6 cables will not give you better network performance based on your current network volume, and more so when the devices that you are using are not up to Gigabit speeds. Remember that it is not only the cables that dictate the network speed, but also the devices that are wired to it.
Bulk vs Pre-cut, ready to use cables
Ethernet cables cost much less when purchased in bulk, for example, bulk cat5 cables will cost only about $75 per box of 1000 ft, and even less when you purchase several boxes. By comparison, 1000ft cat5e costs about $80 to $85, while 1000ft cat6 costs anywhere from $110 and upwards. Cost wise, you will save a few dollars by using cat5 compared with cat5e, but the higher capabilities of cat5e makes it a better choice.
Of course, using pre-cut cables will substantially increase the cost of your installation, whether you use cat5, cat5e or cat6 cables. Making your own Ethernet cables to the exact length that you need can be done easily using a few tools such as a wire cutter, wire stripper, RJ45 connectors, and RJ45 crimper. When you do not have the time to do this, you can still purchase the cables in bulk and have the installer prepare the correct lengths for setting up the network rather than purchasing pre-cut and ready-to-use cables.
You will have substantial savings by choosing the appropriate Ethernet cable for your network, and by purchasing the cables in bulk. Bulk cat5, cat5e and cat6 cables are available from many suppliers at low cost, and it takes less money and effort to buy in bulk than buying ready-to-use cables that may turn out to be not the exact lengths that you need for your network.