Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Can I use Cat 6 cable with Cat 5e jacks and patch panels?

For a system to be rated at Cat 6, all of the components in the system have to meet the Cat 6 standard. However, Cat 6 is fully backwards compatible with Cat 5e, so if the system's technical rating is of no concern to you, feel free to use all of the Cat 5e components you want.

Using Cat 6 cable with Cat 5e components is a great way to future proof your network if your budget is limited. Jacks and patch panels are relatively easy to switch out in the future if you leave enough slack in the cable that you can cut off the component ends and reterminate the runs. Cable is a bit tougher to change out once the walls are up.

28 Comments:

At June 17, 2010 at 6:01 AM, Anonymous Cat Cable said...

No Dear Cat cable are sensitive cables and they deffer each other by their width, seize and fibers.

 
At June 21, 2010 at 5:03 PM, Blogger Will Hunt said...

You are correct that LAN cable is sensitive, and that they differ in their width and size.

They differ in width and size because CAT6 usually has 23 AWG copper conductors compared to only 24 AWG in CAT5e cable. Another factor making CAT6 a larger wire than CAT5e is the fact that between each of the four pairs in a CAT6 cable there is a spline that will separate each pair from one another. Separating the pairs helps reduce cross-talk between the pairs and gives you a better signal. However this spline also increases the diameter of the cable.

Regardless of the size difference in CAT5e vs CAT6, the point to my post was that CAT6 cable is backward compatible. Yes, CAT6 is often times a larger cable, but this in no way effects its use with CAT5e jacks or patch panels. Feel free to use CAT5e jacks if you already have them.....you can always upgrade them later.

 
At March 1, 2011 at 5:52 PM, Anonymous John Hillery said...

I agree you can use Cat5e jacks on Cat 6 cable, but what’s the point you might as well do the job correct the first time, by using Cat6 jacks, you can always use the Cat5e jacks on another project?

 
At November 26, 2011 at 3:11 AM, Anonymous muebles en madrid said...

Quite helpful piece of writing, thanks for the post.

 
At December 14, 2011 at 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to have to bookmark this page..you guys have great questions and even better answers to them. I am learning new things that would not have been available to me by word of mouth on the job. Thank you.

 
At December 27, 2011 at 10:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

How does using Cat 6 with Cat 5e jacks and panels affect NEXT when testing?

 
At June 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dear me! you could have a cat6 wired structured system, trying to be future proof(l.o.l.) but have a store room full of cat5 patch cords and your racks full of legacy cat5 equipment. Use cat5 patch if you wish.

 
At September 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I use Cat6 23awg cable in cat5e jacks at one end and other end in Cat6 patch panel. Is there any functioning problem. Does it work smoothly?

 
At October 29, 2013 at 6:54 AM, Anonymous Cat 6 said...

the size distinction in CAT5e vs CAT6, the purpose to my post was that CAT6 cable is backward compatible. Yes, CAT6 is commonly times a bigger cable, however this in no means effects its use with CAT5e jacks or patch panels.
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At December 24, 2013 at 12:41 AM, Blogger Tania Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At January 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having a hard time terminating cat6 cable with cat5e jack.

I had to move a bunch of network cables to a new location. Had to cut old jacks so I can pull the cables out of the walls. When I went to terminate them, I found myself having to re-terminate several times due to bad terminations. I did not realize the cables were cat6. I only had cat5e jacks.
The wires didn't quite make it into the jack smoothly and finish with a good termination.

Has anyone ever run into this problem? I got the right jacks and boom .. terminated the rest of the cables good the first time.

 
At March 6, 2014 at 9:00 AM, Blogger JohnnyO said...

It is very nice to "do the job correct the first time" but not everyone has the budget to upgrade everything all at once.

So running the cables is the first step and putting in Cat6 is the start.

 
At April 26, 2014 at 7:23 AM, Blogger AkClinics Hairfall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At April 26, 2014 at 7:39 AM, Blogger SHB Cuttingtools said...

Thanks for sharing this great article, I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff!

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At May 2, 2014 at 5:45 AM, Blogger Tania Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At May 2, 2014 at 5:47 AM, Blogger Tania Kevin said...

Yes you can use Cat 6 cable. All cables size are equal and not affect on wiring.

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At May 9, 2014 at 4:07 AM, Blogger Guzzi sager said...

Very informative and well written post! Quite interesting and nice topic chosen for the post.

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At May 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have Cat5e jacks and Cat5e patch panels then you would also very most likely have a CAT5E station cable run. A good question is, can I use CAT 6 PATCH CABLES on that topology? Both Computer/Phone End and on PPanel End?

From what I read, I'd think so...

 
At October 25, 2014 at 12:01 AM, Blogger Henry Jon said...

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At January 27, 2015 at 5:04 AM, Blogger Isk said...

how the hell I get to this site ?
but anyway ...keep up the good work

 
At July 2, 2015 at 6:48 AM, Anonymous Ethernet Patch Cable said...

Well nice post but FYI, The Ethernet Patch Cables come as either stranded or in a solid copper conductor form, which are suitable for different types of application.

 
At August 13, 2015 at 12:10 AM, Blogger David Fowler said...

Hi All,

Here is my two cents worth. CAT6 is a bigger gauge than CAT5e, this is especially true with the sockets/jacks and RJ45 connectors. The issue is not whether the cable will work with a cat5e patch panel or box as the termination if done right is a tighter fit. (An Aside: The 24AWG of cat6 is cut into better and has more contact when pressed into the cat5e AWG 23 crimp slit. Reusing connectors often widens the slit slightly each time so beware. I have found terminations become dicey after the 4th or 5th attempt, could be due to punch down tool bit, the handling of it, cheap connectors, i don't know, it just does) The issue is whether you have CAT5 or cat6 fly leads and relatively new computers (network socket of NIC comes into play) a CAT6 flylead RJ45 will fit a CAT5e panel or jack fine with an over all stiff fit, and decent contact between jack pins and rj45 blades, BUT a cat5e RJ45 connector does NOT work well in a Cat6E panel or socket. The connector itself is loose, does not latch properly and slips back out, the thicker gauge of the Cat6 socket pins do not seat properly in the Cat5e RJ45 narrower groves and barely contacts the metal blades properly. All in all a network nightmare. Further to this the mix of Cat6 cable and Cat5e connectors do not pose any impedance or electronic degradation to actual signal so no problem there.
I can thus say that this is the optimal best of both worlds if you have lots of legacy equipment (cat5e) and new (Cat6/e) and want to have piece of mind.

 
At August 13, 2015 at 12:14 AM, Blogger David Fowler said...

Apologies all, in my aside above i had my AWG gauges mixed up. the principle is still sound though :-P the correct gauges are (to be technical): Cat5e = 24-26 AWG, Cat6 = 22-24 AWG

 
At November 17, 2015 at 9:45 AM, Blogger Sarah MacAdams said...

At my company we have found that it is actually cheaper just to buy Ethernet Patch Cable because the cable heads are expensive.

 
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At August 11, 2016 at 2:55 PM, Blogger Chris Davis said...

Just talked to a cable installer yesterday who said they learned to hard way. Install a bunch of CAT6 into a patch panel designed for a CAT5 wire. It worked, but soon after they found that some wires were popping out. With that one gauge difference in thickness, you may run into this same issue. Just a thought...

 
At September 29, 2016 at 2:31 AM, Blogger Mark Winstanley said...

I like your information which is very useful for me. Thanks.

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