Category Archives: Cabling Solutions

The Evolution of Data Center Switching


Today, the traditional three-tier data center switching design has developed as a mature technology which had been widely applied. However, with the rapid growth in technology, the bottlenecks and limitations of traditional three-tier architecture keep emerging and more and more network engineers choose to give up such a kind of network architecture. So what’s the next best option for data center switching? The answer is leaf-spine network. For many years, data center networks have been built in layers that, when diagrammed, suggesting a hierarchical tree. As this hierarchy runs up against limitations, a new model is taking its place. Below, you will see a quick comparison between the two architectures, how they’ve changed and the evolution of data center switching.

Traditional Three-Tier Architecture

three-tier architecture

Traditional three-tier data center switching design historically consisted of core Layer 3 switches, aggregation Layer 3 switches (sometimes called distribution Layer 3 switches) and access switches. Spanning Tree Protocol was used between the aggregation layer and the access layer to build a loop-free topology for the Layer 2 part of the network. Spanning Tree Protocol had a lot of benefits including a relatively easy implementation, requiring little configuration, and being simple to understand. Spanning Tree Protocol cannot use parallel forwarding paths however, it always blocks redundant paths in a VLAN. This impacted the ability to have a highly available active-active network, reduced the number of ports that were usable, and had high equipment costs.

The Fall of Spanning Tree Protoco

From this architecture, as virtualization started to grow, other protocols started to take the lead to allow for better utilization of equipment. Virtual-port-channel (vPC) technology eliminated Spanning Tree blocked ports, providing an active-active uplink from the access switches to the aggregation Layer 3 switches, and made use of the full available bandwidth. The architecture also started to change from the hardware standpoint by extending the Layer 2 segments across all of the pods. With this, the data center administrator can create a central, more flexible resource pool that can be allocated based on demand and needs. Some of the weaknesses of three-tier architecture began to show as virtualization continued to take over the industry and virtual machines needed to move freely between their hosts. This traffic requires efficiency with low and predictable latency. However, vPC can only provide two parallel uplinks which leads to bandwidth being the bottleneck of this design.

The Rise of Leaf-Spine Topology


Leaf-spine topology was created to overcome the bandwidth limitations of three-tier architecture. In this configuration, every lower-tier switch (leaf layer) is connected to each of the top-tier switches (spine layer) in a full-mesh topology. The leaf layer consists of access switches that connect to servers and other devices. The spine layer is the backbone of the network and is responsible for interconnecting all leaf switches. Every leaf switch is connected to every spine. There can be path optimization so traffic load is evenly distributed among the spine. If one spine switch were to completely fail, it would only slightly degrade performance throughout the data center. Every server is only a maximum number of hops from any other server in the mesh, greatly reducing latency and allowing for a smooth vMotion experience.

Leaf-spine topology can also be easily expanded. If you run into capacity limitations, expanding the network is as easy as adding an additional spine switch. Uplinks can be extended to every leaf switch, resulting in the addition of interlayer bandwidth and reduction of oversubscription. If device port capacity becomes a concern, a new leaf switch can be added. This architecture can also support using both chassis switches and fixed-port switches to accommodate connectivity types and budgets. One flaw of the spine-and-leaf architecture, however, is the number of ports needed to support each leaf. When adding a new spine, each leaf must have redundant paths connected to the new spine. For this reason, the number of ports needed can grow incredibly quickly and reduces the number of ports available for other purposes.


Now, we are witnessing a change from the traditional three-tier architecture to a spine-and-leaf topology. With the increasing demand in your data center and east-west traffic, the traditional network topology can hardly satisfy the data and storage requirements. And the increasingly virtual data center environments require new data center-class switches to accommodate higher throughput and increased port density. So you may need to purchase a data center-class switch for your organization. Even if you don’t need a data center-class switch right now, consider it next year. Eventually, server, storage, application and user demands will require one. The best-value and cost-efficient data center switch for your choice at

Backbone Cabling vs Horizontal Cabling

Computer networks require complicated and specific cabling, particularly in business or academic settings. The cables used in cabling the networks must be made from certain materials. Backbone cabling and horizontal cabling are two main cabling methods used in today’s structured cabling system and neither is dispensable. In order to meet different connection needs, cables used in backbone cabling and horizontal cabling also have many differences from each other. So what’s the difference between them?Knowledge of backbone cabling and horizontal cabling will be introduced in this article.

Structured Cabling System Basics
To understand backbone cabling and horizontal cabling, let’s understand the six subsystems of structured cabling firstly. These six subsystems are often found throughout a building and are connected together so that various types of data can be transmitted consistently and securely (shown in the figure below).

Structured Cabling System

  • Entrance Facility: This room is where both public and private network service cables communicate with the outside world.
  • Equipment Room:  A room with equipment that serves the users inside the building.
  • Telecommunications Room: This room contains the telecommunications equipment that connects the backbone and horizontal cabling subsystems.
  • Backbone Cabling: A system of cabling that connects the entrance facilities, equipment rooms and telecommunications rooms.
  • Horizontal Cabling: The system of cabling that connects telecommunications rooms to individual outlets or work areas on the floor.
  • Work Area Components: These connect end-user equipment to outlets of the horizontal cabling system.


Backbone Cabling
The backbone cabling is also called vertical cabling or wiring. It provides interconnection between telecommunication rooms, equipment rooms and entrance facilities. These backbone cablings typically are done from floor to floor to floor. When setting up backbone cabling, several types of media can be used: unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cable, shielded twisted-pair (STP) cable, fiber optic cable, or coaxial cable. Equipment should be connected by cables of no more than 30 meters (98 feet).

Backbone Cabling

With the emerge of Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, fiber optic cable is the most appropriate choice for backbone cabling since they provide much higher bandwidth than traditional Cat5, Cat6 or even Cat7 twisted pair copper cables. Another advantage of fiber is that fibers can run much longer distance than copper cable, which makes them especially attractive for backbone cabling.

Horizontal Cabling
The horizontal cabling system extends from the work area’s telecommunications information outlet to the telecommunications room (TR) or telecommunications enclosure (TE). As shown in the figure below, horizontal cabling is usually installed in a star topology that connects each work area to the telecommunications room. It includes the telecommunications outlet, an optional consolidation point, horizontal cable, mechanical terminations and patch cords (or jumpers) located in the TR or TE.

Horizontal Cabling

Four-pair 100-ohm unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cabling (Cat5 or Cat5e cabling) is usually recommended for new installations because it supports both voice and high-speed data transmission. To comply with EIA/TIA wiring standards, individual cables should be limited to 90 meters in length between the outlet in the work area and the patch panels in the telecommunications room. Patch cords for connecting the patch panel to hubs and switches in the telecommunications room should be no longer than 6 meters total distance. Cables connecting users’ computers to outlets should be limited to 3 meters in length.

Backbone Cabling  vs Horizontal Cabling
Although the same types of cables are used for both backbone and horizontal cabling, since backbone cabling typically passes through from floor to floor, the cables used for backbone cabling have very different requirement from the horizontal cablings. Backbone cables must meet particular fire-rating specifications, typically OFNR (Optical Fiber Non-Conductive Riser) rated. If the backbone cable passes through plenum area (spaces in the building used for air return in air conditioning), the cable must be OFNP (Optical Fiber Non-conductive Plenum) rated. Besides, since backbone cables need to have enough strength to support its own weight, cable strength for backbone cables is also different from horizontal cables. And unlike horizontal cables, backbone cables must be secured correctly.

As two important parts of structured cabling, both backbone cabling and horizontal cabling play an irreplaceable role. And due to the different cabling environment, backbone cables and horizontal cables may have different specifications. FS.COM provides both Cat5, Cat6 or Cat7 UTP or STP copper cables and OFNR or OFNP multimode or single-mode fiber patch cables for backbone cabling and horizontal cabling. For more information about the backbone cabling and horizontal cabling solutions or other cabling solutions, please contact us via


Cabling Solution for Upgrading to 40G and 100G Fiber

Migrating from 10G (that uses two fibers in either a SC Duplex or a LC Duplex connector) to 40G and 100G fiber will require a lot more fibers and a different type of connector. The way that optical fiber cabling is deployed for 10G can facilitate an easier migration path to 40G and 100G fiber in the future. An effective migration strategy needs to provide a smooth transition to the higher Ethernet speeds with minimum disruption and without wholesale replacement of existing cabling and connectivity components.

10G use LC duplex cabling

Optical fiber cabling is commonly deployed for backbone cabling in data centers for switch to switch connections and also for horizontal cabling for switch to server and storage area network connections. The use of pre-terminated optical fiber cabling can facilitate the migration path to 40G and 100G fiber in the future. Figure below illustrates a pre-terminated cable assembly (MPO cassette) containing 24 OS2 single-mode fibers with two 12-fiber MPO connectors at both ends. This fiber cable assembly plugs into the back of a breakout cassette that splits the 24 fibers into 12 LC Duplex connectors at the front of the cassette.

MPO cassette has duplex lc connector and MTP connector

Four of these cassettes are mounted in a one rack unit (1U) patch panel to provide up to forty-eight 10G equipment connections using LC Duplex patch cords. The FS.COM FHD 1U fiber enclosure with four LC Duplex cassettes is illustrated in Figure below.

1U fiber enclosure with four LC Duplex cassettes

If upgrading from 10G to 40G, one or more of the LC duplex cassette(s) can be replaced with 12 port MPO adapters. The MPO adapters are designed to fit in the same opening as the cassettes. The Figure below illustrates the case where all four cassettes are replaced with four high density 12 port MPO adapters. This solution illustrates an upgrade path from 10G to 40G that does not require any additional space and reuses the same patch panels. The 12 LC duplex cassette(s) are replaced with 12 port MPO adapter(s) as needed. Additional 24-fiber cable assemblies (or any fiber counts in multiples of 12 fibers) are provided as needed for backbone or horizontal cabling.

1U fiber enclosure with four MPO adapter

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Cable?

An optical fiber or fiber optic cable is a flexible, transparent fiber made by drawing glass, which are used most often as a means to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber and find wide usage in fiber-optic communications, where they permit transmission over longer distances and at higher bandwidths (data rates) than wire cables. Whether should I use optical fiber cables in my network? What are the advantages and disadvantages of optical fiber?


Advantages of Optical Fiber Cable

  • Bandwidth

Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. The amount of information that can be transmitted per unit time of fiber over other transmission media is its most significant advantage.

  • Low Power Loss

An optical fiber offers low power loss, which allows for longer transmission distances. In comparison to copper, in a network, the longest recommended copper distance is 100m while with fiber, it is 2km.

  • Interference

Fiber optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference. It can also be run in electrically noisy environments without concern as electrical noise will not affect fiber.

  • Size

In comparison to copper, a fiber optic cable has nearly 4.5 times as much capacity as the wire cable has and a cross sectional area that is 30 times less.

  • Weight

Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires. They also occupy less space with cables of the same information capacity.  Lighter weight makes fiber easier to install.

  • Security

Optical fibers are difficult to tap. As they do not radiate electromagnetic energy, emissions cannot be intercepted. As physically tapping the fiber takes great skill to do undetected, fiber is the most secure medium available for carrying sensitive data.

  • Flexibility

An optical fiber has greater tensile strength than copper or steel fibers of the same diameter. It is flexible, bends easily and resists most corrosive elements that attack copper cable.

  • Cost

The raw materials for glass are plentiful, unlike copper. This means glass can be made more cheaply than copper.

Disadvantages of Optical Fiber Cable

  • Difficult to Splice

The optical fibers are difficult to splice, and there are loss of the light in the fiber due to scattering. They have limited physical arc of cables. If you bend them too much, they will break.

  • Expensive to Install

The optical fibers are more expensive to install, and they have to be installed by the specialists. They are not as robust as the wires. Special test equipment is often required to the optical fiber.

  • Highly Susceptible

The fiber optic cable is a small and compact cable, and it is highly susceptible to becoming cut or damaged during installation or construction activities. The fiber optic cables can provide tremendous data transmission capabilities. So, when the fiber optic cabling is chosen as the transmission medium, it is necessary to address restoration, backup and survivability.

  • Can’t Be Curved

The transmission on the optical fiber requires repeating at distance intervals. The fibers can be broken or have transmission losses when wrapped around curves of only a few centimeters radius.

Fiber optic cable has both advantages and disadvantages. However, in the long run, optical fiber will replace copper. In today’s network, fiber optic cable becomes more popular than before and is widely used. FS.COM, as a leading optics supplier, provides all kinds of optical fiber cables with high quality and low price for your option.

Difference Between Straight Through and Crossover Cable

Ethernet cables can be wired as straight through or crossover. The straight through is the most common type and is used to connect computers to hubs or switches. They are most likely what you will find when you go to your local computer store and buy a patch cable. Crossover cables are more commonly used to connect a computer to a computer and may be a little harder to find since they aren’t used nearly as much as straight through cable. Then, what’s the difference between them? Difference between straight through and crossover cables will be introduced in this blog.

T568A And T568B Wiring Standard Basis
A RJ45 connector is a modular 8 position, 8 pin connector used for terminating Cat5e or Cat6 twisted pair cable. A pinout is a specific arrangement of wires that dictate how the connector is terminated. There are two standards recognized by ANSI, TIA and EIA for wiring Ethernet cables. The first is the T568A wiring standard and the second is T568B. T568B has surpassed 568A and is seen as the default wiring scheme for twisted pair structured cabling. If you are unsure of which to use, choose 568B.


What Is Straight Through Cable?
A straight through cable is a type of twisted pair cable that is used in local area networks to connect a computer to a network hub such as a router. This type of cable is also sometimes called a patch cable and is an alternative to wireless connections where one or more computers access a router through a wireless signal. On a straight through cable, the wired pins match. Straight through cable use one wiring standard: both ends use T568A wiring standard or both ends use T568B wiring standard. The following figure shows a straight through cable of which both ends are wired as the T568B standard.


What Is Crossover Cable?
An Ethernet crossover cable is a type of Ethernet cable used to connect computing devices together directly. Unlike straight through cable, crossover cables use two different wiring standards: one end uses the T568A wiring standard, and the other end uses the T568B wiring standard. The internal wiring of Ethernet crossover cables reverses the transmit and receive signals. It is most often used to connect two devices of the same type: e.g. two computers (via network interface controller) or two switches to each other.

Crossover Cable

Choose a Straight Through or Crossover Cable?
Usually, straight through cables are primarily used for connecting unlike devices. And crossover cables are use for connecting unlike devices alike devices.
Use straight through cable for the following cabling:

  • Switch to router
  • Switch to PC or server
  • Hub to PC or server

Use crossover cables for the following cabling:

  • Switch to switch
  • Switch to hub
  • Hub to hub
  • Router to router
  • Router Ethernet port to PC NIC
  • PC to PC


Straight through and crossover cables are wired differently from each other. One easy way to tell what you have is to look at the order of the colored wires inside the RJ45 connector. If the order of the wires is the same on both ends, then you have a straight through cable. If not, then it’s most likely a crossover cable or was wired wrong. At present, the straight through cable is much more popular than crossover cable and is widely used by people. FS.COM provides a full range straight through Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and Cat7 Ethernet patch cables with many lengths and colors options. Look for Ethernet patch cables, just come to FS.COM!

Tight-Buffered Distribution Cable Basis

Indoor/outdoor fiber optic cables include loose tube and tight buffer designs. These are available in a variety of configurations and jacket types to cover riser and plenum requirements for indoor cable and the ability to be run in duct, direct buried or aerial/lashed in the outside plant. Applications of tight-buffered distribution cable will be provided in this article. This blog provides information on tight-buffered distribution cable’s basic sense and its indoor and outdoor applications.

Construction of Tight-Buffered Distribution Cable
Standard tight-buffered distribution cable is available in fiber counts from 6 to 144 fibers. Distribution cable in 6, 12, and 24-fiber counts in a “single jacket” designs feature 900µm tight-buffered fibers surrounded by an aramid yarn strength member. Larger distribution cable (36 fibers and greater) features a “sub-unit” design that simplifies fiber identification, provides easy access and routing of the fibers and increases cable durability with a dielectric central strength member. For example, a 144-fiber cable usually has twelve 12-fiber sub-units while a 36-fiber cable could have six 6-fiber sub-units or three 12-fiber sub-units.

Tight-Buffered Distribution Cable Construction

900µm Buffer for Easy Fiber Termination
Tight-buffered distribution cable can be directly connected to optical equipment for the fibers normally have a 900µm buffer. Terminated fibers may be directly connected to equipment without use of a patch panel and accompanying jumper cables. Besides, no splices or splicing skills are needed, as with pigtails on loose tube gel-filled cables. In situations where the fibers will be mated and unmated frequently, or where there is general access to equipment, it is advisable to place terminated fibers in a patch panel to avoid damage to the connector/fiber interface.

900µm Buffer for Easy Fiber Termination

Plenum/Riser Tight-Buffered Distribution Cable for Indoor Applications
Fiber optic tight-buffered distribution cable is used within buildings to provide high-density connectivity and ease of installation. Applications include intra-building backbones, routing between telecommunications rooms and connectorized cables in riser and plenum environments. For trunking applications where fiber distribution cable is being run through environmental airflow spaces, we should plenum tight-buffered distribution cable. It is in compliance with NEC section 770.179(a) for installation in plenums and air ducts. In vertical runs, as shown in the figure below, we usually use riser tight-buffered distribution cable.

Plenum/Riser Tight-Buffered Distribution Cable

Armored LSZH Tight-Buffered Distribution Cable for Indoor/Outdoor Applications
Armored LSZH tight-buffered distribution cable features a double LSZH jackets with the outer jacket being of UV stabilised, water and moisture resistant. Between the 2 sheaths there is a corrugated steel tape making the cable rodent proof. The cable is suited for LAN backbones, direct burial, ducts, under floor or ceiling spaces.


The tight-buffered design provides a rugged cable structure to protect individual fibers during handling, routing and connectorization. Yarn strength members keep the tensile load away from the fiber. Multi-fiber, tight-buffered cables often are used for intra-building, risers, general building and plenum applications. FS.COM offers a wide range options on high-quality tight-buffered distribution cables which can meet your demands on indoor or indoor/outdoor applications. Same-day shipping from USA is available. For more information, please visit

MTP Modules and Harnesses in Data Center

Traditional optical cabling solutions such as duplex patch cords and duplex connector assemblies work well in application-specific, low-port-count environments. But as port counts scale upwards and system equipment turnover accelerates, these solutions become unmanageable and unreliable. Deploying a modular, high-density, MTP-based structured wired cabling system in the data center will significantly increase response to data center moves, adds and changes (MACs). Knowledge of MTP modules and MTP harnesses will be provided in this blog.

Introduction to MTP Modules and Harnesses 
An obvious benefit to deploying a MTP-based optical network is its flexibility to transmit both serial and parallel signals. MTP to duplex connector transition devices such as modules and harnesses are plugged into the MTP trunk assemblies for serial communication. MTP Modules are typically used in lower-portcount break-out applications such as in server cabinets. MTP harnesses provide a significant increase in cabling density and find value in high port count break-out situations such as SAN Directors (see figure below). The built-in modularity of the solution provides flexibility to easily configure and reconfigure the cabling infrastructure to meet current and future networking requirements. MTP harnesses and modules can be exchanged or completely removed from the backbone network to quickly adapt to data center MACs.


MTP Modules in Data Centers
MTP modules typically are placed in a housing located in the cabinet rack unit space. Here the MTP trunk cable is plugged into the back of the module. Duplex patch cords are plugged into the front of the module and routed to system equipment ports. Integrating the MTP modules cabling solution into the data center cabinet can enhance the deployment and operation of the data center cabling infrastructure. As shown in figure below, integrating the MTP modules into the cabinet vertical manager space maximizes the rack unit space available for data center electronics. MTP modules are moved to the cabinet sides where they snap into brackets placed between the cabinet frame and side panel. Properly engineered solutions will allow MTP modules to be aligned with low-port-count system equipment placed within the cabinet rack unit space to best facilitate patch cord routing.


MTP Harnesses in Data Centers
MTP harnesses are plugged into the backbone MTP trunk assemblies through a MTP adapter panel. The MTP adapter panel is placed in a housing that is also typically located in the cabinet rack unit space. MTP to LC 12-fiber break-out harnesses plug into the front of the adapter panels and are routed over to the director line cards where the LC duplex ends are plugged into the line card ports (see figure below). These MTP harnesses are pre-engineered to a precise length with strict tolerances to minimize slack, while a small outside diameter allows for easy routing without preferential bend concerns. With a pre-engineered cabling solution, not only is installation simplified, but the time required for SAN design and documentation is greatly reduced with port mapping architecture inherent to the design.


The move from the traditional low-density duplex patch cord or assembly cabling solution to a high-density MTP modules and harnesses cabling solution integrated into the cabinet vertical manager enables the physical layer to be implemented in a manner that provides manageability, flexibility and scalability in the data center. Fiberstore(FS.COM) MTP modules provide a quick and efficient way to deploy up to 24 LC or 12 SC fiber ports in a single module. Modules are available in multimode (62.5/125 and 50/125) and single-mode cable. MTP harnesses in Fiberstore are available in MTP to 8-fiber LC, MTP to 12-fiber LC and MTP to 24-fiber LC for your options. For more information, please feel free to contact us over

What’s the Difference: OM3 vs OM4

OM3 and OM4 are two common types multimode fiber used in local area networks, typically in backbone cabling between telecommunications rooms and in the data center between main networking and storage area network (SAN) switches. Both of these fiber types are considered laser-optimized 50/125 multimode fiber, meaning they both have a 50μm micron diameter core and a 125μm diameter cladding, which is a special coating that prevents light from escaping the core. Both fiber types use the same connectors, the same termination and the same transceivers—vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) that emit infrared light a 850 nanometers(nm). OM3 is fully compatible with OM4. With so many similarities, and often manufactured with the same color aqua cable jacket and connectors, it can be difficult to tell these two fiber types apart. So, what’s the difference between them? Do these two types fiber refer to the same thing?


What’s the Difference: OM3 vs OM4

In fact, the difference between om3 and om4 fiber is just in the construction of the fiber cable. The difference in the construction means that OM4 cable has better attenuation and can operate at higher bandwidth than OM3. What is the reason of this? For a fiber link to work, the light from the VCSEL transceiver much have enough power to reach the receiver at the other end. There are two performance values that can prevent this—optical attenuation and modal dispersion.

Attenuation is the reduction in power of the light signal as it is transmitted (dB). Attenuation is caused by losses in light through the passive components, such as cables, cable splices, and connectors. As mentioned above the connectors are the same so the difference in OM3 and OM4 performance is in the loss (dB) in the cable. OM4 fiber causes lower losses due its construction. The maximum attenuation allowed by the standards is shown below. You can see that using OM4 will give you lower losses per meter of cable. The lower losses mean that you can have longer links or have more mated connectors in the link.

Maximum attenuation allowed at 850nm: OM3 <3.5 dB/Km; OM4 <3.0 dB/Km

Light is transmitted at different modes along the fiber. Due to the imperfections in the fiber, these modes arrive as slightly different times. As this difference increases you eventually get to a point where the information being transmitted cannot be decoded. This difference between the highest and lowest modes is known as the modal dispersion. The modal dispersion determines the modal bandwidth that the fiber can operate at and this is the difference between OM3 and OM4. The lower the modal dispersion, the higher the modal bandwidth and the greater the amount of information that can be transmitted. The modal bandwidth of OM3 and OM4 is shown below. The higher bandwidth available in OM4 means a smaller modal dispersion and thus allows the cable links to be longer or allows for higher losses through more mated connectors. This gives more options when looking at network design.

Minimum Fiber Cable Bandwidth at 850nm: OM3 2000 MHz·km; OM4 4700 MHz·km

Choose OM3 or OM4?

Since the attenuation of OM4 is lower than OM3 fiber and the modal bandwidth of OM4 is higher than OM3, the transmission distance of OM4 is longer than OM3. Details are shown in the table below. According to your network scale, to choose a more suitable cable type.

OM3 2000 Meters 550 Meters 300 Meters 100 Meters 100 Meters
OM4 2000 Meters 550 Meters 400 Meters 150 Meters 150 Meters

Since OM4 performs better than OM3 cables, usually, OM4 cable is about twice as expensive as OM3 cable. This may be a big limited factor of OM4 cables’ application. However, if you choose to shop in Fiberstore, you may get much cheaper OM4 fiber nearly the same as the OM3 fiber. Price of different types OM3 and OM4 cables in Fiberstore is listed in the table below:

Fiber Type 3m Standard LC duplex 3m Armored LC duplex 3m HD LC duplex 3m Standard MTP
OM3 US$ 3.30 US$ 7.20 US$ 22.00 US$ 49.00
OM4 US$ 4.00 US$ 8.00 US$ 24.00 US$ 54.00

Either OM3 or OM4 cable can satisfy your unique cabling needs. Just choose the most suitable one for your network to cost less and achieve more.

Does Cat6 on Cat5e Patch Panel or Cat5e on Cat6 Patch Panel Work?

In the market, there exist both Cat5e patch panel and Cat6 patch panel. We know that Cat5e patch panels are meant to be used with Cat5e cable, and Cat6 patch panels are meant to be used with Cat6 cable, but what’s the difference between Cat5e and Cat6 patch panels? Can I use Cat6 cable on Cat5e patch panels or can I use Cat5e cable on Cat6 patch panels? Answers will be provided in this blog.

Cat6 on Cat5e Patch Panel

Can I Use Cat6 on Cat5e Patch Panel?

There isn’t much practical difference in the patch panels themselves. There is a difference in the wire gauge specified between Cat5e and Cat6. The cat6 wire is thicker. Cat6 usually has 23 AWG copper conductors compared to only 24 AWG in Cat5e cable. Another factor making Cat6 a larger wire than Cat5e is the fact that between each of the four pairs in a Cat6 cable there is a spline that will separate each pair from one another. Separating the pairs helps reduce cross-talk between the pairs and gives you a better signal. However, this spline also increases the diameter of the cable. Regardless of the size difference in Cat5e vs Cat6, the fact was that Cat6 cable is backward compatible with Cat5e. Yes, Cat6 is often times a larger cable, but this in no way affects its use with Cat5e patch panels. Feel free to use Cat5e patch panels if you already have them. You can always upgrade them later.

Can I Use Cat5e on Cat6 Patch Panel?

In addition to using Cat6 on Cat5e patch panel, we may also across some situations where we want to use Cat5e on a Cat6 patch panel. According to the passage above, we know that Cat6 cable is thicker than Cat5e, so if I use Cat5e on a Cat6 patch panel, will it be too loose? Although Cat6 individual twisted pairs insulation is usually thicker than Cat5e, this is usually never a problem with termination, only with how many cables you can stuff through a piece of conduit. So, will a Cat5e cable be “looser” terminated on a Cat6 jack, slightly yes, but electrically it will still make contact and work fine. But you should mind that your cabling channel will default to the lowest Catx component. Even though the patch panel says Cat6, with Cat5e cables you should only expect Cat5e performance on those jacks.


When punching down Cat5e wire on a Cat6, the Cat5e wire is enough smaller that it is possible to get what looks like a good punch, but the insulation on the wire is not actually penetrated or is only partially penetrated by the vampire jaw of the punch block. When punching down Cat6 wire on a Cat5e panel, the larger wire can end up bending or even breaking the vampire jaws on the punch down block. In both cases, using care and testing each connection, you can usually make it work. If you’re just doing one panel at home you are probably OK. Although it can both work well, we don’t recommend to do like this. Use the Cat5e on Cat5e patch panel and Cat6 on Cat6 patch panel will get the best performance. FS.COM provide both high-density Cat5e patch panels for Fast Enthernet applications and Cat6 patch panels for 1-Gigabit Enthernet applications. Easy to management and conserves data centers rack space. For more information, please visit

How to Choose Right Cat5e Cable for Your Network?

Cat 5e (Cat 5 enhanced) is currently the most commonly used in new installations. It’s designed to greatly reduce crosstalk, which means the Cat 5e is better at keeping signals on different circuits or channels from interfering with each other. A step above Cat 5, it can handle 1000 Mbps speeds (gigabit Ethernet) at 100 MHz with a maximum cable length of 328 feet (100 meters). How to choose right Cat5e cable for your network? This article may give you the answer.


Straight-Through or Crossover Cat5e Cable?

RJ-45 conductor Cat5e cable contains 4 pairs of wires each consists of a solid colored wire and a strip of the same color. There are two wiring standards for RJ-45 wiring: T-568A and T-568B. The two wiring standards are used to create a cross-over cable (T-568A on one end, and T-568B on the other end), or a straight-through cable (T-568B or T-568A on both ends). To create a straight-through Cat 5e, you’ll have to use either T- 568A or T-568B on both ends of the cable. To create a cross-over Cat5e cable, you’ll wire T-568A on one end and T- 568B on the other end of the cable.


The straight-through Cat5e cables are used when connecting Data Terminating Equipment (DTE) to Data Communications Equipment (DCE), such as computers and routers to modems (gateways) or hubs (Ethernet Switches). The crossover Cat5e cables are used when connecting DTE to DTE, or DCE to DCE equipment, such as computer to computer, computer to router or gateway to hub connections. The DTE equipment terminates the signal, while DCE equipment do not.

Unshielded(UTP) or Shielded(STP) Cat5e Cable?

Shielded twisted cables (STP) reduce electrical noise and electromagnetic radiation. In other words, they help to keep the signal steady, and reduce interference with other devices. This is done with a shield that may be composed of copper tape, a layer of conducting polymer or a braid, and is covered with a jacket. Unshielded twisted cables (UTP) by definition do not have shielding serving them to reduce interference. They are designed to cancel electromagnetic interference with the way the pairs are twisted inside the cable.


If you’re in any situation where you want to make sure that you get the most speed and efficiency out of your network, you’ll probably want to use shielded Cat 5e. It’s hard to know when and where you’ll run into enough EMI to cause a problem, but if you use shielded Cat 5e in the first place you won’t have to worry about tearing the cable from the wall to replace it if you do run into that problem. Due to the design and nature of unshielded Cat 5e, it is most suitable for office LANS and similar network cabling systems. Unshielded Cat 5e are lightweight, thin and flexible. They are also versatile and inexpensive. When properly installed, a well-designed unshielded Cat5e cable will be easier to both install and maintain than a shielded one.

Length and Color Options of Cat5e Cable

When choosing Cat5e cable for your network, you also need to consider length and color. Cat5e Ethernet cables come in standard lengths such as 1, 3, 5, 7, and 10 meter. Longer lengths are available, and you can also have custom cable lengths made. The distance between your various network devices and your network switch or router will determine the length you need. Cat5e cables come in all sorts of colors. This decision can be based purely on your individual tastes and preference. Blue is perhaps the most common, but you might also consider white, gray, or some other color that doesn’t clash with your walls and carpet. Pictures below shows ten colors of Cat5e cable provided in Fiberstore.



Cat5e cable supports up to 100 MHz and speeds up to 1 Gbps over 100 meters of cable. Cat5e crossover patch cable is usually used to connect two same of type of devices. Besides, snagless boot prevents unwanted cable snags during installation and provides extra strain relief.


The table below listed several most popular Cat5e cables sold in Fiberstore for your choice.

FS P.N. Description
22831 3m Cat5e Purple Snagless Booted Unshielded(UTP) PVC Ethernet Network Patch Cable
22842 20m Cat5e Blue Snagless Booted Unshielded(UTP) LSZH Ethernet Network Patch Cable
13826 3m Cat5e Green Non-booted Unshielded(UTP) PVC Ethernet Network Patch Cable
22775 1m Cat5e Purple Snagless Booted Unshielded(UTP) PVC Ethernet Network Patch Cable
22835 2m Cat5e Blue Snagless Booted Unshielded(UTP) LSZH Ethernet Network Patch Cable