Category 5 cable

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Category 5 cable (Cat 5) is a twisted pair high signal integrity cable type. This type of cable is used in structured cabling for computer networks such as Ethernet and ATM, and is also used to carry many other signals such as telephony and video. Most Category 5 cables are unshielded, relying on the twisted pair design for noise rejection. Category 5 has been superseded by the Category 5e specification.


Cable standard

The specification for Category 5 cable was defined in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-A, with clarification in TSB-95. These documents specified performance characteristics and test requirements for frequencies of up to 100 MHz.

Category 5[2] cable is not limited to 4 pairs. Backbone applications involve using up to 100 pairs as noted in ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B-2 standard for backbone applications. This use of balanced lines helps preserve a high signal-to-noise ratio despite interference from both external sources and other pairs (this latter form of interference is called crosstalk). It is most commonly used for 100 Mbit/s networks, such as 100BASE-TX Ethernet, although IEEE 802.3ab defines standards for 1000BASE-T – Gigabit Ethernet over category 5 cable. Each of the four pairs in a Cat 5 cable has differing precise number of twists per metre based on prime numbers to minimize crosstalk between the pairs. On average there are 6 twists per 5 centimetres. The pairs are made from 24 gauge (AWG) copper wires within the cables.

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