Pick the right Ethernet LAN cable to suit your high speed fibre Internet access (Cat 6, 6a or 7)




With the fibre optic WAN infrastructure successfully laid in more and more areas nowadays, ISPs are making available to household and commercial Internet access with real high speed of hundreds of Mbps or even Gbps, which make possible streaming of VR gaming or watching of 8K videos through the Internet.

However, in order to get the best from the high speed fibre Internet access that you are subscribing from your ISP, the network infrastructure inside your house or office which connect to the ISP's broadband termination unit (BTU) at your premise needs to also support at least gigabit Ethernet LAN, or else your network speed is still capped with your own low speed infrastructure.



All these components in your premise should support at least gigabit Ethernet LAN:

  • Your ISP should supply you a modern BTU with 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) or even 10,000 Mbps (10 Gbps) LAN port. Older equipment could have LAN port which support up to 100 Mbps only.
  • Your router connecting to the BTU should have 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) or even 10,000 Mbps (10 Gbps) WAN port and LAN ports. Older equipment could have WAN and/or LAN ports which support up to 100 Mbps only.
  • Your firewall, network switches, and any other network equipments should also support gigabit Ethernet.
  • The network card in your computer, printer, CCTV, IoT devices, and so on which need to enjoy the high speed of gigabit network such also support network connection of 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) or even 10,000 Mbps (10 Gbps). It is OK for some of them, such as network printer, to support lower network connection, because the paper printing speed is much slower than the network data transmission speed. If they are connected using WiFi, your WiFi access point (AP) and the connecting devices should support for 5 GHz wireless connection with MU-MIMO technology.
There is another important network infrastructure component in your LAN that needs to have support for gigabit network in order for you to enjoy the high speed network, which are all the network cables that:
  • Connecting your ISP BTU to your router
  • Connect your router to your firewall, network switches, WiFi AP, etc.
  • Connecting your computer, printer, CCTV, IoT devices, etc. to your LAN.
It is advisable for you to use at least Cat 6 cable, or better still Cat 6a or the latest Cat 7 cable. Why? Refer to the table below for their differences:

 
The industry standard cable shielding mechanism of twisted pair network cable, to reduce electromagnetic interference, is as follow:
  • UTP - unshielded
  • STP - braiding shield
  • S/FTP - braiding and foil shields
Therefore, to be "future proof", it would be a wise choice to opt for Cat 6a or Cat 7 cables now to be ready for 10 Gbps super high speed network.

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