A patch cable (patch cord or jumper cable) is an eight-wire cable that consists of four twisted pairs wires ,terminated with RJ45 connectors at both end. For purpose of linking a computer to a nearby network hub, switch or router.
The common types of patch cables in today’s marketplace are Cat5e / Cat6 / Cat7 cable,and Cat5e patch cable is most commonly used for home networking. They are very helpful to those building home computer networks and also to travelers who need a network patch cable in his hotel rooms.
Cat5e Patch Cable Types and Application
Category 5 enhanced cabling(also Cat5e Cable) , was manufactured to support 1000 Mbps “gigabit” speeds, There are two major types of cat5e patch cable.One is Unshielded,the other is Shielded.
1）Unshielded Type: Cat5e UTP (Unshielded Twisted pair) Cables ,are found in most cases. It would be used in an office setting and home networking.One of the major merits to UTP is the ease of use and value for money.
2) Shielded Type :Twisted pair cables are often shielded in an attempt to prevent electromagnetic interference. Usually ,It has a drain wire in a shielded or a screened twisted pair cable , which is helpful to reduce interference.
2.1) FTP（Foil Twisted Pair）:It uses aluminum foil for shielding to prevent EMI from entering or exiting the cable. It’s applied to wiring systems in buildings or other heavy noise places , that might cause interference. Typically, FTP might be used in a factory setting.
2.2）STP (Shielded Twisted Pair): It uses a braided screen to cut down on potential interference, prevents cable from external EMI from entering or exiting the cable and also protects neighboring pairs from crosstalk. if you should place cable in extremely sensitive environments, shielded twisted pair may be a good solution.
2.3）S/FTP (Shielded Foil Twisted Pair): It offers shielding between the pair sets and an overall sheath shield. The double shielding could cut down on EMI from entering or exiting the cable and crosstalk between neighboring pairs,which can be applied to mission-critical places such as in hospital or army.
In price, Cat5e is cheaper about 20% than Cat6,so it is more affordable to anyone who needs to buy a patch cable for his home networking.Also, Cat5e have good performance on Gigabit Ethernet services. The maximum transfer rates up to 100Mb/s , which is enough for home internet users. Generally speaking,Cat5e is much more readily available.
Some people argue that Cat6 is better than Cat5e,bacause it is qualified for 10Gigabit Ethernet while cat5e cannot. However, you need to ensure all components must be Gigabit compatible,otherwise,it might not work as normal Cat6 .
To sum up, Cat5e patch cable is a must buy for home networking,and still a more convenient and economical option .