Tag Archives: Cat6 cable

Cat5e vs Cat6: Can Cat6 Use on Cat5e Patch Panel or Vice Versa?


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 patch cable, and Cat6 patch panels are meant to be used with cable Cat6, but what’s the Cat5e vs Cat6 differences, and Cat5e patch panel vs Cat6 patch panel differences? 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.

Cat5e vs Cat6: Cat6 on Cat5e Patch Panel

Cat5e vs Cat6 Differences: 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/Cat5 vs Cat6 Ethernet cable. The Cat6 wire is thicker. Cat6 usually has 23AWG 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.

Cat5e vs Cat6: 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 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 Ethernet applications and Cat6 patch panels for 1-Gigabit Ethernet applications. Easy to management and conserves data centers rack space. For more information, please visit www.fs.com.

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Quick View of Ethernet Cables Cat5, Cat5e And Cat6

Cable Selection for Your 10 Gbps Transmissions — Fiber or Copper?


The decision to deploy fiber or copper really depends on several factors. First is the length of time you think the data center will remain in the same physical location. Fiber-only or copper-only implementations are rare in comparison to mixed fiber and copper.

Fiber will remain the medium of choice for backbone (vertical) applications and increasingly for horizontal applications alongside copper. This is mainly due to the distance support, size of cable, high bandwidth, high density, immunity to EMI/RFI, security, and reliability of fiber. Fiber has been the medium of choice for Storage Area Network (SAN) implementations for many years and is thus a proven cabling component.

Structured Cabling

Copper, on the other hand, is currently being challenged with the recent ratification of 10GBASE-T. Companies are currently racing to market their “unique” copper-based structured cabling solutions for 10 Gbps devices. Cat6a copper cables made for 10 Gbps transmissions are approximately 50 percent thicker than Cat6 copper cables and certainly a lot thicker than fiber cables; the space available for the cable runs may influence the type of cable you deploy. Copper cabling is more suited for horizontal runs, but of course limited to 100 meters distance. It is advisable to install a higher category of cable if you plan to be at the same facility for a while.

Cat6 CablesCat6 Cables Cat6a CablesCat6a Cables

Until recently, copper was the clear winner in a straight cost comparsion. However, recent technology advances are closing the cost gap, especially in the high-performance arena. Fiber-based solutions are dropping in cost, but the main differentiation is in the cost of the active electronic components (e.g. transceivers, converters, amplifiers, etc.), and not in the actual cabling. In parallel, the cost for copper-based solutions is on the rise, due primarily to the stringent implementation and testing requirements imposed by TIA/ISO for 10 Gbps transmissions. Note also that in support of “Greener” data center environments, certain vendors are choosing, designing, and promoting active cabling components and media that consume the least power without compromising performance. 10GBASE-T consumes about 5 to 10 times more electrical power than optical solutions.

Another area that plays an important role in cable selection is the network components that are planned in the data center. Is their interface fiber or copper? And do they support 10 Gbps transmissions? Upgrading the cabling may include swapping out the connectors and other existing cabling components for the ones slated for 10 Gbps.

Note: If you want to deploy Power over Ethernet (PoE), then your choice is limited to copper—carring power over fiber is not yet possible.


In most cases, the end result will be a Combination of Cable Types for the Different Segments of the Infrastructure. Most likely fiber for the backbone, fiber and/or twisted pair for the horizontal runs, and fiber and/or copper for the final patching (since this will be governed by the interface of the equipment that you will be connecting to). When selecting cableing consider the pros and cons for each cable type in each segment of the infrastructure using the following criteria:

    • Existing implementation
    • Installation difficulty
    • Termination difficulty
    • Reliability
    • Distance required
    • Compatibility