History of Network Cabling

Ethernet cables were first developed by Xerox in 1974. Ethernet cabling grew in popularity due to its flexible application and cost-effectiveness. It had become the dominant networking technology by the end of the 1980’s. Ethernet cabling and would become so popular that it became a must-have feature, and standard Ethernet ports with the RJ-45 standard could be found on almost all desktop and laptop systems by the 1990’s. While the current generation of Ethernet cables are able to provide data transfer speeds that are more than sufficient for most users, the ultra-fast connection speeds made possible with Cat-7 Ethernet cables can allow users to enjoy transfer speeds of up to 40 GB per second.

Types of Ethernet Cabling

Cat-5 and Cat-5e

There is relatively little difference between Cat-5 and Cat-5e cabling, with the cables themselves being physically identical. This inludes the RJ-45 connection crimped to the ends of the cables. Category 5 enhanced cabling is subjected to more rigorous testing in order to ensure less electrical interference. While no longer the industry standard, Cat-5 and Cat-5e cables are affordable, able to support connection speeds of up to one GB per second and are often more than adequate for businesses and organizations that utilize a lower-capacity network.

Cat-6 and Cat-6a

When paired with an up-to-date router, these cables are able to support connection speeds of up to 10 GB per second. While network and data transfer speeds may be limited due to older equipment and network components, these cables can offer ten times the speed of older Cat-5 and Cat-5e options and are ideal for most business networks and uses. While more expensive than older cables, Cat-6 is the current standard and the most popular choice for businesses seeking to create a network able to fit both their needs and their budget.


For organizations seeking to future-proof their digital infrastructure and businesses that require the fastest connection speeds possible, Cat-7 cables may be worth the added costs. With few situations that warrant 40 GB per second data transfer speeds, Cat-7 cables are still of limited practical value for those who may be shopping on a budget.

Fiber Optic and Wireless Connections

Ethernet cabling is not the only option available to those who want to create a better network or need the resources to upgrade their existing infrastructure. Fiber optic cabling can provide increased security and ensure that electrical interference is less likely to impact signal strength. Quality wireless connections offer users a more convenient and versatile way to access their workplace network. Such options may have much to offer, especially in working environments where conventional copper network cabling may not be the most viable or cost-effective choice. Expect a bit more complexity if you mix the two; fiber optic signals don’t use the RJ-45 connectors and they have other considerations for installation and maintenance.

Creating the Right Digital Infrastructure

Selecting the right cabling may depend upon many factors. The presence of existing cabling and its accompanying architecture, the current and future needs of your business, and the budget you have to spend could all be important considerations. Investing in cables that will provide the greatest value can be essential when it comes to obtaining the components needed to create a digital working environment better suited to the needs of your staff and employees.

NetQ Media is a full-service cabling company ready to tackle your New Jersey cabling contract, whether you’re a government or private organization. Contact us today!