Cat-5 cabling is short for Category 5, and refers to computer network cables, that are also called Ethernet cables. They consist of four twisted pairs of copper wire that are connected with RJ45 connectors that handle speeds of up to 1000 Mbps. Twisted pairs is not a new idea, and was invented in the early days of telephone usage. Twisting the wires reduces interference.
Local area networks, or LAN networks, are wired with Cat-5 cable. The cable itself is one of the Commercial Building Telecommunications Wiring Standard that was developed for the computer industry in the 1980s when computers were new to many businesses.
It is able to handle heavy loads of data, but has a maximum length of 100 meters. The strength of this cable makes it ideal for businesses that need a strong network to run a lot of computers over.
There are different categories, but the cables are essentially the same. The different categories refer to the speed and load the cables will handle. Cat-5 cable also handles 100 Mhz.
The cable itself uses a certain number of twisted pairs of wire to avoid overlap and noise that could interfere with the transmission of data. There are stranded and solid conductor forms of Cat-5 cabling; the stranded version is more flexible and not as likely to break when bent, which can happen with the solid conductor forms.
Permanent wiring, such as inside walls of a building, use the less flexible solid core. Cable that goes from the wall to the computer needs more flexibility so the typically the stranded version is used.