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What Is The Cat5e Max Speed?

by Jeff Atkins on January 22, 2020
cat5e max speed

Defining what this category of cable can do will help decide if this is the performance you are looking for. Older cable technologies are still in use today and we see still see Cat5 cable inside many homes. the solution to this is to upgrade your home or business network. Which in this case is Cat5e cable. Cat5e cable is a very viable choice for many and in this article we will cover what is the Cat5e max speed capabilities.

What is the Cat5e Max Speed Capabilities?

Let's jump right into it. With Cat5e cable the max speed you can expect is 1Gb and 100Mhz. This is the specification according to TIA. Specifically, the TIA 568.2-D Standard which determined what the requirement would be for each cabling category. By abiding by this standard all manufactures, customers and businesses would know what to expect and create less confusion with operating performance. This organization routinely gets together to set up new standards which determine what to expect in certain features of the networking industry. Now back to the performance.

Cat5e cable according to ANSI/TIA 568.2-D has a maximum speed capability of 100MHz and 1Gb (Gigabit) up to 100 meters (328 Feet). The recommended cable run length is 90 meters of cable backbone and 10 meters of patch cables. The max speed of Cat5e cable at 100MHz is what you should expect. However with an increase for performance in today's world you'll often see Cat5e cables labelled for 350MHz. This means that the Cat5e cable has been tested to 350Mhz performance. This is no guarantee but shows that the cable can perform at these levels. So even though the mandated maximum speed set by TIA is 100MHz cable companies have advanced on this by testing cables to 350MHz.

With the inclusion of the IEEE 802.3bz standard you can even get more performance with your existing Cat5e cables. Under the standard of IEEE 802.3bz you can achieve up to 2.5GBase-T and 5GBase-T up to 328 Feet (100 meters). It's able to achieve this by having the layer of transmissions be based on 10GBase-T but perform at a lower signal rate. When lowering the signal rate it reduces the cabling requirements giving you the ability to perform this on Cat5e. While this is certainly obtainable it's not a guarantee. For Cat5e we can look to the baseline performance of 1Gb up to 328 Feet as the standard performance you can achieve and 2.5 or 5GBase-T being the performance under ideal environments including capable hardware.

When looking over Cat5e spec sheets you'll come across many different numbers and categories.

Here's an example of a test report of our unshielded Cat5e Plenum cable. You'll see the performance numbers at these different frequencies

cat5e max speed

The other thing to point out here is that Cat5e cable also has transmission requirements. You'll notice in the test report showing different transmission numbers. Such as Insertion Loss (IL), NEXT (Near End Crosstalk) ACR and RL. One of the most important factors to look at is crosstalk. You can read here what is crosstalk?

Cat5e cable is a great choice for residential installations with it's performance of 350MHz and 1Gb up to 100 meters. In 1 gigabit there is 1000 megabits so you can also expect a theoretical max transfer speed of 125Mb/s.

To get a more understanding of that with 1Gb you can transfer a gigbyte of data around 8 seconds. Pretty fast if you ask me!


We'll keep this article short and sweet on Cat5e max speed.

To recap, Cat5e cable has a standardized maximum performance speed of 100 MHz and 1Gb data rates up to 100 meters (328 Feet)

With the improvement in technology and the need for increased frequency companies such as us have provided Cat5e cable to perform up to 350MHz from the 100MHz.

Happy Cabling !


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