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Cat6 vs Cat7 | What Exactly Do You Get If You Upgrade Your Ethernet Cable for More Speed?

Is it worthwhile investing in a cat 7 ethernet cable? What is the difference between cat6 and cat7 ethernet cables in terms of performance?

Are you excited that you have a new house? Which is the best network cable to use in your new home, especially a smart home? 

Key Takeaways

  • Cat6 is ideal for a house with an average internet connection
  • You will experience fewer errors and crosstalk with cat7 ethernet cables
  • Both Cat6 and Cat7 can be used with previous ethernet cables, including cat4, cat5, cat5e
  • Cat6 is a better option if you are working on a tight budget

What Is an Ethernet Cable?

Ethernet cables are used to connect modems, routers, and computers together on a network. An Ethernet cable is a standard cable that was developed in the 1980s. They are thick, flexible cables that are made up of two or more wires which run side by side and are twisted, braided or bonded together.

Ethernet cables are seen as the plumbing of the internet. The type of ethernet cable you choose for your house depends on the amount of bandwidth and specifications you need. A wrong choice of the cabling will cause issues with internet speeds and efficiency. 

However, it is a challenge settling on one cable as there are more than enough available options to choose from. There are also factors such as cost that determine the type of network cables to buy.

So, when presented with a choice between cat6 and cat7, which one would you go for and why? 

Is Cat 7 Better Than Cat 6?

Let's face it.

If you compare cat6 and cat7 Ethernet cables in terms of price, cat7 cables are more expensive. As such, if you are working on a tight budget, you may have to settle on a cat6 cable.

What is the difference between cat6 and cat7 ethernet cables in terms of performance?

Cat6 is ideal for a house with an average internet connection. CAT6 or CAT 6A cables perform efficiently with an average internet connection, and they offer enough speed for downloads and gaming. As such, if you are a gaming enthusiast and want enough internet for downloads, Cat6 or Cat6A ethernet cables would be ideal to play your games.

But would cat6 support a house with multiple applications? 

If your house has a smart camera, smart doorbell, and all other applications found in a smart home, then a cat 7  will be an excellent choice. You will enjoy fewer errors and crosstalk with cat7 ethernet cables.

little man carrying the cable

Can I Use Cat7 Instead Of Cat6?

Both cat6 and cat7 ethernet cables are backward compatible, which means you can use them with previous cables, including cat4, cat5, cat5e.

Since the cat7 ethernet cables are backward compatible, you can use one instead of CAT6 or CAT 6E cables. The physical connectors for both cat6 and cat7 cables are still RJ45, which makes them compatible physically. You can use them both with an ethernet splitter.

One of the greatest advantages of using a cat 7 cable instead of a cat 6  is the shielding of the cat 7 cable twisted pair cables. As such, they help you to enjoy enhanced noise resistance. In addition, you may as well want to check out the difference between CAT 7 and CAT8 ethernet cables.

Can I Use Cat 7 Cables for the Internet?

Yes, of course - it's an ethernet cable and is designed specifically to help devices get internet connections. 

It is an ideal cable when you are looking for a high-speed ethernet connection for your connection, especially in a smart home.

A cat7 cable offers a faster connection of data over a cable than WiFi, which is wireless.

Difference Between Cat6 Vs Cat7


When looking for a network cable to use in your house or office, it's essential that you consider its specifications.

For instance, the category 7 cable, also known as cat7 cable, comes with more strict specifications than CAT5 or CAT6, and 6A cables. The specifications deal with crosstalk and system noise better than the cat6 cable.

The cat7 cable comes with better shielding on individual wire pairs than the cat6 cable. The shielding on each pair of wires helps to reduce crosstalk and noise. 

Transmission Frequency and Maximum Cabling Length

A standard cat6 cable offers a performance of up to 250 Mhz, while a cat6a cable can transmit up to 500 Mhz. The maximum cabling length of a cat6 cable is 100 meters.

The cable's advantage over previous cables such as the cat5e cable is reduced noise and crosstalk. Maximum transmission speed is up to 400 Mhz over a 55 meters distance.

On the other hand, category 7 ethernet cable is the standard Gigabit ethernet cable over 100 meters. The network ethernet cables can transmit up to 600 Mhz, and it is designed for high speeds. Cat7A can transmit 100 Gigabits up to 15 meters and 400 Mhz up to 50 meters.

Comparison of Various Cat Cables Performance Chart:

Cat 3Unshielded10 Mbps16 MHz
Cat 5Unshielded10/100 Mbps100 MHz
Cat 5eUnshielded1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps100 MHz
Cat 6Shielded or Unshielded1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps>250 MHz
Cat 6aShielded10000 Mbps / 10 Gbps500 MHz
Cat 7Shielded10000 Mbps / 10 Gbps600 MHz
Cat 8Shielded25 Gbps or 40Gbps 2000 MHz

a lot of ethernet cables

Gigabit Ethernet     

As you consider buying an ethernet cable, it is essential that you look into the future and the probable changes that may happen in technology.

For instance, when comparing cat6 vs cat7 cable, you may land on cat6 due to the price involved. But what if there are more advancements in technology in the future? Will the cat6 cables support the changes, or you will have to incur another cost of installation?

If you have a new house, you should go for a cat7a cable. Even with the advancement in technology in the future, you won't have to change the cable.


You require heavier wires when you want to transmit more bandwidth. The heavier the wires, the more difficult it is to install and the more costly it is.

Cat6 cables cost twice the price of cat5e. This is because the conductors are more tightly twisted, and the wires are shielded to eliminate crosstalk. You have to cut the wires slowly during installation, and you may require modular connectors for the installation.

It is a little difficult to get an installer for cat7a, and the price of installation is 50% more than that of cat6A. The cost of installing a cat5 cable is $1000, cat6 is $1500, cat6a is $2250, and cat7a will cost you around $3,375.

Cat7 cables are also heavier, pricier, and more difficult to install, so installers quote premium prices.

What Connectors Do CAT 6 Cables Use?

CAT 6 uses the same Registered Jack 45 (RJ-45) standard connectors that the previous generations of Ethernet cables used. RJ45 plugs have eight pins into which the wire strands of the cable interface electrically.

The individual wires of the cable are inserted about 1 mm apart using a special cable crimping tool.

The term “plug” refers to the cable or “male” end of the connection and the term “jack” refers to the “female” end or port where the connector is inserted.

Cat 7 cables do not use the RJ-45 connectors; they have a modified GigaGate 45 connector.

check out best ethernet splitter


A new home can use approximately 10 lines of network cable with 200 feet per line. You require 10 points of connection in the house.

Cat6 network cables cost around $200 per 2000 feet while cat6A costs approximately $350. Then, you pay a cot of $50 per connector. The cost of wiring a house with cat6 network cables is about $700 and $850 for cat6a.

On the other hand, a cat7 network cable will cost $1,200 for 2,000 feet and an installation cost of $75 per connector. Thus, the cost of wiring a house with a cat7 network cable is approximately $1,950.


With a cat6 cable, you can expect to get a lifetime of about 10 years before you start experiencing errors and degradation.

Due to the heavier copper used and the amount of insulation, you can expect more lifespan with the cat7. The cat7 cabling can last up to 15 years before you can start noticing any degradation or errors.  If you have a new house or want an upgrade, cat7 will be an excellent network cable choice. It offers you a long service in addition to the higher speeds.

check out best ethernet cable for ps4

TIA/EIA Recognition

Before you can settle on a network cable, it's essential to confirm whether it meets the standard of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA).

The Telecommunications Industry Association and Electronic Industries Alliance have set standards for cabling and performance. Each networking cable should satisfy each standard. At the moment, cat6 satisfies the TIA and EIA installation standards, but cat7 cable has not.

This may present challenges with proper installation, and you may not get the necessary support.

Why Should You Go for a Cat7?

Choosing between cat6, cat6a, or cat7 is not an easy decision, as several factors are considered.

For instance, cat6a can be a better option than cat7 if you are working on a tight budget.

However, in terms of performance, cat7 carries the day. It offers flexible cabling that saves you the rewiring cost in the future if there are new features. It also provides more power and less voltage drop due to the great copper cross-section. It provides a greater copper cross-section than the previous versions, including cat5.

The cat 7 network cable is also double shielded, making it suitable for new houses as it is durable.

cables in router

Final Word on Cat6 vs Cat7

If you were lost on the best choice to make between cat6 or cat7 for your ethernet connection, our detailed guide makes it easy for you to choose. Cat7 is an excellent choice when you are looking for better performance and durability. The copper used makes the cable heavier but also more long-lasting. It is a perfect choice for smart home applications though it is more expensive.

If you are working with a tight budget, cat6 makes a perfect choice. It is also ideal if you need the internet for downloading and gaming and don't have many smart home applications.


1. Is Cat 7 faster than Cat6?

Yes, it is. The Cat7 operates at a higher frequency than the Cat6. 10,000 Mbit / s can thus be transferred 10,000 times per second at a frequency of 1,000 MHz. As a result, a Cat7 cable will transfer data faster than a Cat6 cable.

2. What is CAT 7 cable used for?

Category 7 cable, also known as Cat7 or Cat-7 cable, is used to connect the Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure. It supports frequencies of up to 600MHz. A perfect option for connecting your smart home. Following the cabling, you can even look for automation ideas.

3. Can Cat7 be used in place of Cat6?

The answer to this question is no. Cat7 cables are not compatible with the older Cat6 cables, and it would be a waste of time and money to try using them together.

4. Will Cat7 work with my router?

Not at all. Due to the fact that no manufacturer of home networking equipment officially supports Cat 7 cables, they will operate as Cat 6 cables as they are backward compatible. You may as well purchase a Cat 6 cable.

5. Are Cat6 cables worth it?

Cat6 cables are definitely worth it, especially if you need to transfer a lot of data. They offer faster speeds and better performance than Cat5 or Cat5e cables, making them ideal for networking and other high-bandwidth applications.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

4 thoughts on “Cat6 vs Cat7 | What Exactly Do You Get If You Upgrade Your Ethernet Cable for More Speed?”

  1. That s article is full of filler words like those spam articles that stretch out a concept into multiple paragraphs instead of two sentences. There is no consistency between speed measurements and standards that consumers would clearly benifit in understating. Stick to:
    cat5 = 100mb/s Max speed
    cat5e = 1,000mb/s Max speed
    cat6 = 10,000mb/s Max speed up to 180ft and 1,000mb/s at 330ft
    cat 6a = 10,000mb/s
    cat 7 = ????
    cat 7a = ????
    cat 8 = ????

  2. I think I got it: Will a non-RJ45 CAT 7 connector fit my router and access point? I guess so….

    Backwards compatible?: That means that it both physically fits and and operates correctly? I guess so….

    I’m a “broken” techie: One thing about you guys is that you can’t communicate effectively and succinctly. It’s very hard then–to strain and glean. My fellow Fortune 500-level company techie friends/colleagues from the past were the same way.

    You make the assumption that it’s both a tech-vapid–yet, well-off-couple–involved with wiring a new home well.

    You give them this pretty basic, yet seemingly impressive, techie gobbledegook–yet, you still neglect to answer my 5th-grader-level, simple compatibility question: Will the CAT 7 connector fit and work?

    So, I must go elsewhere–it must be crystal clear. I’ve been burned too often by this–barely touching on it. Ambiguity….

    Gabriel got this right in 2021: You rely upon the installer getting it right–they should succeed well, with an extremely high level of confidence: What’s the point of your babbling, then?!

    Gollee! CAT 6A, 7, and 8 are more advanced than 6, 5e, and 5? So!: Android 11 is more advanced than Android 4–we got the point–well before landing here. Unfortunately, Android 4 won’t work on today’s mobile devices–Android 11 won’t work on Android 4-era devices….

    This is technical writing–unfortunately, this article is all too typical. “God” help us! (Satan, Odin, Nimrod, Apollo, Baal, Isis–whatever! Anyone?!:: Pretty please?!)


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