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Ethernet standard boosts Cat 5e bandwidth to 2.5Gbps, Cat 6 to 5Gbps

Posted on Friday, September 30 2016 @ 15:58:58 CEST by

IEEE published the 802.3bz standard, a new specification that will allow more bandwidth to be pushed through Cat 5e and Cat 6 network cables. While Cat 6 cables already allowed for 10Gbps over short distances, the new standard will let you run 2.5Gbps over 100 meters of Cat 5e cable or 5Gbp over 100 meters of Cat 6 cable.

ARS Technica speculates enterprise-grade 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps networking gear will arrive soon, but it remains to be seen when we'll get consumer-grade 2.5Gbps equipment. Even if you use wireless Internet, you may still benefit from this new standard because Gigabit Ethernet is one of the bottlenecks for faster WiFi:
While Cat 6a and 7 are growing in popularity, the vast majority of homes, offices, and institutions use Cat 5e and Cat 6—and upgrading the cabling would be very expensive indeed. A wired 1Gbps connection is still fairly adequate for a single PC user, of course—but over the last few years, with the explosion of high-speed Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet is now one of the bottlenecks. For example, the top end of the 802.11ac spec eventually calls for a total aggregate capacity of around 6.5Gbps; even current consumer 802.11ac gear, which maxes out at around 1.3 or 1.6Gbps, is running up against the limits of GigE.
Ethernet cable properties diagram



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