When it comes to ethernet cables, it can be hard to decide which one to choose. However, there are factors that you should take into account when deciding which one is best for you.
Whether you choose the Cat 5e, Cat 6, or Cat 6a, all three of these cables use the RJ-45 end, which you can plug into the same types of ethernet jacks. However, Cat 6a is the most expensive, costing about 30 percent more than Cat 6. Cat 6 costs 30 percent more than Cat 5e.
Cat 5e cables are usually 24 gauge twisted pair wires, and they are capable of creating a Gigabit network up to 328 feet away. These have been around for more than 15 years. Cat 6 cables came out a few years later and provided the ability to have 10 Gigabit networks, as opposed to the 1 Gigabit ones enabled by the Cat 5e. However, the 10 Gigabit network with the Cat 6 is restricted to 164 feet, and it is equal to the cat 5e cables beyond that distance. The Cat 5e appears to be responsible for slower functioning, as there is a longer time for the signal to go from side to side when compared to Cat 6 cables. Additionally, Cat 6 cables allow for two-way communication on each wire pair, due to the higher twist in the cables.
Cat 6a cables are quite a bit thicker than Cat 6 cables, and they are capable of 10 Gigabit networking for the full distance of 328 feet, and the Cat 6a cables minimize the crosstalk among pairs, which minimizes delay.
If you want the best performance over the full distance and are willing to spend a bit more, you should likely choose Cat 6a. If you do not have cables over 120 to 150 feet, Cat 6 will also be adequate. However, for most people, Cat 5e will suffice for their needs, as it is actually typically faster than most people's Internet speeds.