Cat5 Connectors Vs. Cat6

By Nicole Martinez

Consumers need not fear that Cat 6 and Cat 5 cables require separate ports.
i ethernet image by Emmanuel Bergère from

Ethernet cables fall into several categories based on efficiency and transfer rate. Category-5 and Category-6 Ethernet cables are readily available in retail stores and IT professionals may fashion their own by applying Ethernet connectors to the cables itself.

Consumer Significance

When consumers purchase Ethernet cables, they need not worry about whether the connectors will fit into their existing network equipment and computers. Category-6 cables are backward compatible with Category 5 (Cat 5)and Category-5e (enhanced) cables and fit into the same Ethernet ports. Future categorizations of networking cables will adhere to the same rules.

IT Significance

IT professionals will notice that the connectors, or plugs, for Category 6 (Cat 6) cables are more expensive than Cat 5 or Cat 5e connectors. This is due to the fact that Cat 6 plugs are more efficient than Cat 5 plugs. Cat 6 connectors can achieve faster transmission rates and are less susceptible to noise on the line (from nearby cables).


Users attempting to attach a Cat 5 connector, known as a RJ45 plug, to a Cat 6 cable may struggle because Cat 6 cables are slightly thicker than Cat 5 cables. In addition to this, the finished product will not necessarily perform to Cat 6 specifications.