Network Cable Categories
There are a few main types of cable categories: category 3, category 5, category 5e, and category 6 cable. They’re all very similar and represent data transmission, but the speeds, length and cable type vary between them. For example, in a twisted pair cable, the tighter the twist, the faster the cables can talk to each other.
Category 3 (CAT-3) cabling is an unshielded twisted pair of UTP cables. CAT-3 cables are not twisted together very tightly (compared to a CAT-5 cable). A 10 megabit or a 10 T cable, which is CAT-3, has bandwidth to handle 10 megabits of data per second and can run for 100 meters.
Category 5 (CAT-5) cabling is an unshielded twisted pair of cables that contain 4 pairs of copper wires. CAT-5 cables are twisted together more tightly than CAT-3 cables and can move data at faster speeds. CAT-5 cables rely on the tightly twisted design and differential signaling to cancel out noise. 100 T cable, which is CAT-5, has bandwidth to handle 100 megabits of data per second and is still limited to 100 meters of distance it can run.
Category-5e (CAT-5e) cabling stands for Category-5, enhanced). CAT-5e cables are unshielded, twisted pair, copper gigabit cables which can support networking at Gigabit Ethernet speeds. Gigabit cables have the bandwidth to handle 1,000 megabits (1 gigabit) of data per second and can run up to 100 meters in distance. CAT-5e cables can run 1,000 megabits (1 gigabit) of data up to 100 meters at a cable frequency rate of 100 MHz.
Category-6 (CAT-6) cables are also unshielded, twisted pair, copper gigabit cables which can support networking at Gigabit Ethernet speeds, but CAT-6 cables have thicker copper wiring and can transfer data and more reliably than CAT-5e. CAT-6 cables can transfer 1,000 megabits (1 gigabit) of data up to 100 meters at a cable frequency rate of 250 MHz.
Cable Standards for IP Cameras
Regardless of the difference of each type of cable, you should note that each type of network cable runs up to 100 meters. Cable standards for IP cameras are 100 meters. This is important because when you are running IP cameras, the maximum distance you can run it before you have to use an extender or power injector is 328 feet, or 100 meters. This is different from running analog cameras, which allow you to run from 100 feet, and if you add an injector, you can run 1,000 feet.
Networking bandwidth is also important for security application. Bandwidth is defined as either channel capacity or maximum throughput on your network.
To give you an analogy of bandwidth, imagine going to work from your house, and between your house and your work, you go down a main interstate or thoroughfare. Generally, early mornings and when school is in session, there’s a lot of traffic, which is similar to having low bandwidth. You would not be able to go the maximum speed that you would want to go, because of all the increased traffic and other cars around you.
The same thing applies to cabling. If you had CAT-3 cable and you only had 10 megabits of bandwidth, but yet you wanted to send 16 megabits worth of data. It takes longer to get that transmitted.
On the flipside, imagine going to work on a Saturday to pick up your laptop or your wallet that you left at your desk. You leave early Saturday or Sunday morning, there’s no traffic, you’re able to go the maximum speed that you want to go and get there twice as fast, because there is less traffic, or more bandwidth. Well that’s essentially what happens when you use CAT-5e or CAT-6 gigabit cable or fiber. You open up the bandwidth, which allows you to move and transfer data much faster.
Network Cable Standards
IEEE – the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – was established in 1980. This institute developed the set of LAN and WAN standards and technologies called the 802 project. The 802 specifications define the operation of the physical network components—cabling, network adapters, and connectivity devices such as hubs and switches. The 802 project has a number of subsections ranging from 802.1, the beginning of internet working standards, to 802.3 developed for IBM and 802.11 which is for wireless networking technologies and standards.
Within 802.11, there are 3 commonly used wireless standards or networks: 802.11b, g, and n. B came out in the 1990s. It was 11 megabits on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Shortly after, g came out, which allowed you to move up to 54 megabits on the same 2.4 GHz frequencies. Most recently, n came out. What’s nice about n is it runs on the 5.8 GHz, so there’s not nearly as much interference, and you have a 300 megabit bandwidth.
Patch Cables and Crossover Cables
Along with networking cable standards, you need to consider whether you will use patch cables or crossover cables.
A patch cable is just a shorter cable version of what you’re going to run in your network when you’re connecting cameras to the switch. Patch cables, if you want to test a camera, require you to plug the patch cable from your laptop into a switch and then get another patch cable and plug it into the device you want to test. It’s important to know how they are set up. The ends are plugged in; wired in just as if you’re doing big runs.
Crossover cables allow you to test equipment on the fly. Basically the pins are reversed on each end from each other, and it allows you to plug from a laptop directly into an IP device and get connectivity.
The crossover cable helps you quickly identify what’s going on. It allows you to log directly into your IP device, and doesn’t require you to have a switch or anything like that for testing purposes and will make for a quicker installation.
Your IP security applications depend on the strength of your network. Choose the appropriate type of cabling that will provide a robust backbone for your network that will deliver the data transfer speeds
Your Choice of Cabling is Important for Your Security Applications