Can I use a CAT 7 cable?

Buying advice for patch cords: Cat-5, Cat-6, Cat-7, fiber optics

Although wireless data transmission has banned the network cable from everyday life, it is still extremely important for most networks. In the background, they bring the Internet into the house, where it is usually passed on to the airwaves by a WLAN router. However, since not all network devices are available with WLAN support, the cable also plays an important role in the home: For example, NAS or multifunction printers can in most cases only be integrated into a network via a cable. Even to completely cover a house with WLAN, for example, you usually need several access points and WLAN repeaters, because walls and interfering radio networks can weaken the radio signal. Alternatively, cable ducts can be used to bring the network to every room reliably and without interference via Ethernet.

But what exactly characterizes which network cable? Network cables are available with different specifications and in different lengths and materials. In principle, network cables, also known as Ethernet cables or patch cables, are available made of twisted copper or as optical waveguides made of glass fiber.

For cabling in the house, apartment or office, the classic copper cable is sufficient in most cases. So far, patch cables of the categories Cat-5, Cat-6 and Cat-7 have prevailed. The cables are available by the meter and can be connected to plugs by the user himself. But the savings are small, which is why the effort is rarely worth it. So it is better to use pre-assembled network cables. Conventional network devices such as those found in private households do not offer a connection option for fiber optic cables.

Cable categories

Cat-5 cables enable transmission speeds of up to 1000 Mbit / s, i.e. Gigabit Ethernet. This also corresponds to the maximum transfer rate supported by most network devices in private households such as routers, NAS, smart TVs, PCs or network printers. You can tell whether it is a Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet cable by the connector contacts: If eight contacts are laid in the RJ-45 connector, the cable is Gigabit-capable.

Cat-6 and Cat-7 cables transmit data at up to 10 Gbit / s, so they are oversized for most current network devices. But if you want to buy future-proof, you can't go wrong with such a cable. Provided that you pay attention to the S / FTP shielding or keep sufficient distance between the cables to avoid mutual interference. They are backwards compatible with Cat-5. It can therefore be worthwhile for home builders to pull the more modern cables, preferably Cat-7, into the cable ducts. Then you only have to replace the connected hardware with technical progress and save yourself the time-consuming re-laying of the cables. However, cables of the categories Cat-6 and Cat-7 have one disadvantage: Compared to Cat-5 cables, the range is often halved to around 50 meters. The range can be increased by using switches in between.

The RJ-45 plug is used as a plug connection and is connected to many network devices such as routers, NAS, notebooks, PCs or smart TVs. Be careful with Cat-7 cables: They are available with the connector types Siemon TERA or Nexans GG45, of which only the latter is compatible with RJ-45 sockets.

optical fiber

For private use, you don't currently need a fiber optic cable, unless you want to bridge very long ranges of several kilometers with extremely high transmission rates or you want to bring a fast Internet connection into the house via fiber optics in a future-proof manner. In order for data transmission between fiber optic cables and copper cables to work smoothly in a network, appropriate converters must be used that convert optical signals into electrical signals and vice versa. Some switches provide extensions via SFP ports in order to be able to equip them with fiber optic modules.

Conclusion

Basically any patch cable currently available can be used to cabling the home network. Provided that it is a copper cable and compatible with the RJ-45 socket. As a rule, the use of a Cat 5 cable is sufficient to integrate network devices such as routers, PCs, notebooks, NAS, smart TVs or printers without any loss of performance. Only in the rarest of cases is it worth laying more expensive Cat 6 or Cat 7 cables. For example, when you carry out a complex cable installation in your house or apartment. If you are already using cables with higher data throughput, you can save yourself having to swap cables in the next few years if Cat-5 is out of date.

Patch cables in different lengths and colors are available from notebooksbilliger.de.