How to Choose the Right RJ45 Cables

Very commonly used in homes and offices, RJ45 cables are probably one of the most familiar cables to you. However, many of you may be puzzled by words such as Cat5e, Cat6A, UTP, and STP that you do not often hear when you try to select them. In this article, I will show you how to choose the right RJ45 cable for your environment.

1. Choose by Category

RJ45 cables are divided into categories based mainly on maximum transmission speed and maximum bandwidth. The higher the category (category with higher numbers), the faster the transmission speed and bandwidth. It is recommended to select a cable according to the recommended category of the connected device, but it is also possible to use a cable with a category higher than the recommended category of the connected device.

For example, if the recommended category of the device is “CAT5e”, then “CAT6” or higher can also be used.

Table 1: Cable Categories

More detailed information can be found in this article: How to Choose Between Cat 5, Cat 5e and Cat 6 Cables

2. Choose by Shield Structures

There are two types of RJ45 cables, STP and UTP, depending on whether they are shielded or not.

 UTP: Unshielded Twist Pair     

 STP: Shielded Twist Pair

Shielding is used to protect cable wiring from noise (electromagnetic leakage and interference). Shielded cables are recommended in environments such as factories where a lot of noise is generated.

Table 2: Shield Structures

More detailed information on shielded cables can be found in this article: To Shield or Not to Shield – Cables

3. Choose by Length

Solid Wires are recommended for long-distance transmission (up to 100 meters), and Stranded Wires for short-distance transmission (up to 15 meters).

Solid wires have a single conductor, whereas stranded wires are made by twisting thin conductors together. Solid wires are slightly stiffer but are more stable for long-distance transmission.

Stranded cables are soft and easy to handle, making them suitable for wiring in small spaces, but they tend to be unstable for long-distance transmission.

Table 3: Wire Length

These are the three most important factors in selecting an RJ45 cable.

MISUMI offers both Single Layer Shielded and Double Layer Shielded RJ45 cables, which can be selected according to your environment as well as a choice of lengths from 0.1 meter to 100 meters of cable, in 0.05 meter increments for lengths up to 20 meters, and in 0.1 meter increments for longer lengths. Explore the selection here

About the Author

Akira Kajihara

Akira Kajihara comes from MISUMI Japan as a Product Development Analyst. He is very familiar with Japanese electrical control parts and has been involved in the development of many major electrical product launches over his 6 years with the company. He is currently managing MISUMI's large cable assembly offering.

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