Buying Ethernet Cables? Here’s What You Need to Know

Cat-6 Ethernet Cable Plugged Into A Router

Last Updated on July 19, 2022 by Josh Mahan

Ethernet cables are essential for anyone with a home-computing or business setup. They provide a consistent and solid connection to the internet, which is generally more stable than wifi. Stable connections appeal to individuals and businesses whose computing comings and goings require a reliable connection for protecting and maintaining sensitive information. 

There are a number of reasons someone would want to use ethernet cables over wifi for their internet connection. Some of these reasons include businesses that operate on online servers, call centers, gaming, and a wide variety of other internet-based activities.

Alterum Technologies provides data center solutions, so we are qualified to help. In this article, we will go over what exactly ethernet cables are and the various things you should know before purchasing one based on your needs.

Contact us at Alterum Technologies for your data center needs.

Related: Data Center Cleaning

What Are Ethernet Cables?

Ethernet cables are a direct connection between your browser and your computing device. This connection could be anything from a PC to a video game console to a server network used for business or large-scale purposes. They are essential for a variety of reasons and business necessities. 

Their use, implementation, and function are significant, and those qualities are subjective based on your use. For example, a standard ethernet cable is ideal for low-grade use, such as gaming or basic home computing. However, you may need more industrial cables to run business servers and complex computing operations. 

Simply put, they are cables connecting from a router or server to a computer or computing device. The cables create a more consistent and stable connection than wifi and allow for more solid and reliable internet utilization on your chosen device.

Various Ethernet Cables Plugged Into A Server

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying Ethernet Cables?

You should know some things before buying ethernet cables that may affect your decision. First, you must select the cables based on your intended use. As previously mentioned, some computing operations may require more minor and less powerful cables, while some more business-oriented functions may require more robust and industrial cables. Here, we will break down some of the things you need to know before making your purchase:

What Are the Different Types of Cables?

Cables differentiate by their “Cat” branding. The “Cat” branding provides information about the potential frequency of the cable and its overall possible speeds. Anything below a Cat-5 cable is not a genuine ethernet cable and will provide reduced speeds overall, so we recommend staying above Cat-5 when possible.

The Cat brandings in order are Cat-5, Cat-5e, Cat-6, Cat-6a, Cat-7, and Cat-8. They are scaling in power and potential frequency from Cat-5 to Cat-8. However, you should know the overall speed cap on your router or server. Even if you get a cable that can handle very high speeds, your internet provider may not provide that speed level making the extra power in the cable useless.

What Are Shieldings and Jackets?

The jacket of the cable provides shieldings, and they prevent overall signal degradation. Again, this is something people seek when looking for a consistent and stable connection. Cat-6 cables and above generally have higher shielding standards, so anything Cat-6 and up should be prioritized if protecting your signal is essential to your needs.

Generally, heavy shielding is unnecessary for most uses. However, if the cables are for a large business or organization, the shielding becomes one of the essential qualities. Shielding guarantees consistency and smooth data transference. These will improve workflow and ensure fewer hiccups during operation.

How Long Should They Be?

Cable length is very subjective based on your individual needs or the operations of your business or organization. For example, if you are operating a company and your cables need to reach multiple computers throughout an office space, you will likely need longer cables. However, if you run cables to a home computer or video game console, your cables will probably be much shorter. 

Buying cables longer than you need is generally recommended, regardless. This is because you may encounter obstacles or situations you did not consider once it comes time to lay out the cables. This can be a hassle, and you can always taper off cables that are too long by tying them, but extending cables that are too short is much more of a challenge.

What Are ‘Solid Core Ethernet Cables’?

Standard Ethernet cables are considered ‘stranded’ cables. This means they have multiple wires running throughout to create the needed connection. On the other hand, a ‘solid core’ cable is an ethernet cable with a single durable core. This core is far more resistant to elements that would cause a lot of strain on a normal ethernet cable.

Solid core cables are essential when they need to be run outside or anywhere that they may be subject to an environment that is harsher than usual. Consider your needs and where your cable will be running before making the choice between solid core or stranded cables.

Related: Data Center Power

Where to Buy Ethernet Cables?

You can buy Ethernet cables at nearly any electronic store and most major retail stores such as Walmart and Target. You can also buy them online easily on Amazon or Newegg (a digital computer parts store). These are just a few of the places where you can find ethernet cables. They are an essential part of computing and gaming so anywhere that sells electronics is bound to have them.

Be sure to shop around and find the lowest prices you can for the best quality products. There is so much variety in vendors that there is always a chance you are spending more than you should be.

Final Thoughts

Ethernet cables are an essential part of computing and everyone from individual users to gamers to businesses and organizations need them to operate smoothly. At Alterum Technologies we provide data center solutions and can help with your ethernet needs among a variety of other services.

Contact us at Alterum Technologies for your data center needs.

Related: Cloud API

Ethernet Cable Ports On The Back Of A Router

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