Growing up with a Nintendo™ my brothers and I were at the front of the home gaming system revolution. Looking back, I can remember the excitement when a new gaming system was announced. My parents, on the other hand, likely dreaded the launch of any new system. They looked at all the games we collected and realized those were destined for the garbage. They were right to be concerned. Back then games were just large memory sticks placed into a proprietary design. You could not play a Nintendo™ game on Super Nintendo™ or a Sega™ platform. That is just the way it was.
Fast forward to the launch of Sony’s Playstation™ and the adoption of the compact disc for gaming. Not only could you play games but also music CD’s. Another big revolution came when Playstation 2™ was launched. Since the first and second systems used the same size disc, you could play the older games on the newer system. This meant that your game library never went obsolete.
This concept transcends more than just the gaming industry. Network connectivity can produce similar concerns. For example, if you are running an older PLC with a Cat5 Ethernet port, where can you find a replacement cable?
A quick search pulls up plenty of Cat5e and Cat6 options, but will these work for the application? Does the presence of a shield affect compatibility? What’s with all this Cat8 talk?
Luckily, the technology in this field is designed to work with older equipment. If you do have a Cat5 card you can use any generation of cable developed after it. In this case you can use the readily available and inexpensive Cat5e. If those are out of stock and a Cat7 is available, feel free to choose that cable instead. If you’re concerned about the presence of a shield because your old cable does not have one, fear not because it will work too.
So, if you’re considering the age of your hardware and whether or not you can find replacement components, you can sleep soundly. Most products are designed to work backwards with older technology. And if you’re considering a new gaming system also rest assured that you will very likely be able to play all the older ones you’ve collected as well.