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Selecting the Best Ethernet Cable

What are network and ethernet cables?

While WiFi connections are incredibly effective in many cases, if you require the fastest and most reliable internet connection, it is ideal to connect directly with an ethernet cable. Ethernet cables physically connected to your desktop computer, laptop, or smart home devices will provide a higher and more consistent internet speed.

Ethernet cables also act as network cables for your home devices, allowing you to connect routers, access points, ethernet switches, and other home networking hardware that uses the standard RJ-45 connectors and ethernet ports. To get the best speed and performance from your internet connection, it is important to choose ethernet cables that can accommodate faster data transfer speeds and higher bandwidth.

Micro Center’s selection of ethernet cables will get your home or business connected and humming with high speed data. We offer a huge range of ethernet cables in various cable lengths, with both shielded and unshielded cable options. Our selection also includes fiber optic networking cables for those exploring the ultra fast world of fiber internet. Choose from a range of fiber patch cable options to get your home or business wired for the future, with plenty of options for cable lengths and connector types.

What kind of ethernet cable do I need?

A majority of single device connections can be handled with a 5 to 10 ft. cable, but if you are outfitting your business or you want multiple connection points within your home, you can find spools of cable from 50 up to 1000 ft. Depending upon the maximum speed you receive from your ISP, Micro Center carries Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7, and Cat 8, among other ethernet cable types.

Cat 6 cables and Cat 5e cables are the go to options for most people doing home and small business networking today. Both can handle gigabit ethernet connections of 1 Gbps / 1000 Mbps at up to 100 MHz bandwidth, a solid standard for broadband internet speed and performance. At shorter cable lengths, Cat 6 cables can even provide data transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps on connections on 250 MHz bandwidth. Cat 6a cables are similar, but can cover more distance without losing speed.

For heavy duty internet connections and ethernet networks that need to cover a large space, you might need Cat 6a, Cat 7, or Cat 8 cable. These types of ethernet cables can provide even faster speeds over longer distances — up to 40 Gbps for Cat 8, in fact — so they can be a good choice for large institutions, or for future proofing your network. They also include built in shielding, which can help reduce crosstalk and other types of interference. However, since most people will not need the speeds that these cables provide, standard gigabit ethernet cords are a better choice for most home users unless you are doing new construction and want to future proof your connections.

Finally, before you invest in an ultra high speed ethernet cable, it is important to be sure your modem and router are capable of providing the internet speed and bandwidth you want. Your cables can only work as fast as your other network devices do, so it is a good idea to double check the specs of your network devices as well as the rated speeds of your ISP service package before you buy.

Browse Micro Center’s lineup of network cables here and find the cabling solutions to complete your home or business network. We also offer a full range of wired and wireless networking hardware, so check out our networking solutions page to find great prices on your networking essentials.

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