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This allows unshielded twisted-pair cables to reach a speed of 1Gbps, which is fast enough to carry broadcast-quality video over a network. A common saying is that there are three ways to do things: the Right way, the Wrong way, and the IBM way. IBM uses types instead of categories when referring to TP (twisted-pair) cabling specifications. Even though a cabling type may seem to correspond to a cabling category (such as Type 1 and Category 1), the two are not the same; IBM defines its own specifications.

Category 5 Cabling Tips


If you expect data rates faster than 10Mbps over UTP, you should ensure that all components are rated to the category you want to achieve and be very careful when handling all components. For example, pulling too hard on Cat 5 cable will stretch the number of twists inside the jacket, rendering the Cat 5 label on the outside of the cable invalid. Also, be certain to connect and test all four pairs of wire. Although today’s wiring usually uses only two pairs, or four wires, at the time of this writing the proposed standard for Gigabit Ethernet over UTP requires that all four pairs, or eight wires, be in good condition.


You should also be aware that a true Cat 5 cabling system uses rated components from end to end, patch cables from workstation to wall panel, cable from wall panel to patch panel, and patch cables from patch panel to hub. If any components are missing or if the lengths do not match the Category 5 specification, you don’t have a Category 5 cabling installation. Also, installers should certify that the entire installation is Category 5 compliant.

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