There have been quite a few different variations of this cord over the years. There are a few differences between ethernet cord types! Almost all of the changes are inside the cord and how it is built and protected on the inside. On the outside, all of them basically look the same. Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 etc. How do you know the difference? How can you tell? I am here to help you out while also letting you know the difference between them.
I will not be stating all the differences, just the one that would impact your purchasing decision. Just remember that all cords are backwards compatible, with previous versions. So you can use any of these in any internet port on the back of your computer. But also remember, that older versions such as Cat5 and Cat5e can fit and will work, in newer slots but will be slower. But similarly you can put a Cat6 cord in a Cat5 or Cat5e slot and it will work but it will not be faster.
Have you ever noticed this on your router or switch? 10/100/100 or the term gigabit connection? Well these cords are the reason!
With Cat5 the speeds can go up reliably to 100mbs per second.
With Cat5e they can go up to 1000mbs per second but that is the max speed of the cord. Think of it like always running everywhere never walking or slowing down. Sure you could do it for a while but it puts a strain on you.
Cat6 cords on the other hand can go higher. The base speed can reliable go up to 1000mbs and it can go faster so it has much more room to grow. Basically this cords starting speed is the previous’ fastest speed!
To differentiate between the look along the cord length and it will tell you! Usually near one of the ends there will be something printed on the cord that will say which type of cord it is, Cat5, Cat5e or Cat6.