LAN cables. Description and choice of use of the best LAN/Ethernet cables

LItaliana Conduttori Srl, equipped with machines of most recent design for the production of LAN cables and control and testing instruments, manufactures the full range of CAVEL branded data transmission cables: 5e, 6, and 6A both shielded and not, and categories 7 and 7A, always shielded.
Furthermore there is the availability, on customers’ request, of LAN cables specifically designed for added flexibility (characterized by the code LANF) as well as special cables for data transmission developed on specific customer requirements.

The LAN cables (acronym for Local Area Network, also called Ethernet cables, and in Italy network cables) are the means that enable the transmission of data within a so-called local area network, i.e. an integrated computer system formed by shared computers and devices (such as those inside a home, in a business establishment, in a complex of buildings).

Differences and characteristics of LAN/ethernet cables

This type of cable is formed by four twisted pairs wires, which in turn are then twisted between them. The twist pitches of the individual pairs are different, to reduce interference between the pairs, the so-called crosstalk (known especially for LAN cables with the English term NEXT).
This brief introduction is useful to begin understanding the differences between the individual categories of LAN cables, and provides guidelines on the codes.

Cable standard EN50288

In Europe the standard that regulates the cables standard parameters is the EN50288.
According to this standard the cables of all categories must have an impedance of 100 + or - 5 Ohms at 100 MHz frequency.
The maximum frequency at which the cable can work identifies the individual categories.
Categories of cables:

Cat. 5e Cat. 6  e Cat. 6A Cat. 7 Cat. 7A
frequencies up to 100 MHz: it provides performance up to 100 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet) and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet) applications; respectively frequencies up to 250 and 500 MHz: it is suitable for network protocols: 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T / 1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet), and 10GBASE-T (10 Gigabit Ethernet). frequencies up to 600 MHz: it was created to enable the transmission of network 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocols over 100m of copper cables frequencies up to 1000 (and higher, are in fact currently products in cat .7A tested at 1200 or even 1500 MHz).
Introduced for transmissions up to 1,000 MHz on 10 Gigabit Ethernet over 100 m.

The codes are explained below.
First of all the letters next to the category number mean:
e: enhanced;
A: augmented.

Shielding types

Shielding is required where it is necessary to prevent external electromagnetic interferences from compromising or worsening the transmission of signals.
It is usually made with the aluminum strips, or foil and tinned copper braid, covering the twisted pair; for higher categories that work at high frequencies also with foils that cover the individual pairs, so as to improve both the overall shield and the NEXT values (i.e. to reduce interference between one pair and the other).  
Even in this case, abbreviations indicate that the shields are acronyms derived from the English language: initially UTP and FTP or STP, which simply indicated if the cable was shielded or not.

  • UTP for Unfoiled Twisted Pair,
  • FTP or STP for Foiled or Shielded Twisted Pair.
  • Foiled: generally indicates an aluminum foil.
  • Shielded: generally indicates the braiding with aluminum wires or tinned copper.

With the evolution of the cables and the improvement of performance, the differences have increased as even the individual pairs, from Cat.6A onward can be shielded, mainly to reduce crosstalk (NEXT).
For this reason the acronyms are separated by a space bar. The first part indicates the overall shield of the cable, the second part indicates the shielding, or not, of the individual stranded twisted pair:

  • U/UTP: unshielded cable, either overall or individual pairs;
  • F/UTP: overall shielded cable with foil that wraps the 4 stranded pairs;
  • U/FTP: shielded cable through the shielding of the individual pairs with foil, also called as PiMF, Pairs in Metal Foil;
  • F o S/FTP: shielded cable, both overall and with foil on individual pairs;
  • SF/FTP: overall double-shielded cable with braid and foil, whose individual pairs are in turn individually wrapped (PiMF).

How to choose the network cable - Ethernet cable - LAN cable

EIA TIA Category



Class ISO 11801

For Ethernet systems up to n. meters of cable

Cat. 5e UTP

1-100 MHz

EN 50288-3-1

Classe D

100 m 100 m with Ethernet 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet), and 5GBASE-T
This cable can be defined as the standard LAN cable, using the standard transmission frequencies

Cat. 5e FTP

EN 50288-2-1

Cat. 6 UTP

1-250 MHz

EN 50288-6-1

Classe E

100 m 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX, 2.5GBASE-T, 5GBASE-T

55 m with 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet)
This type of cables is ideal for home use andis characterized by a higher ratio/signal/noise and zero connection errors

Cat. 6 FTP

EN 50288-5-1


1-500 MHz


Classe Ea

Cat. 7 (FTP)


EN 50288-4-1

Classe F

100 m con 10GBASE-T (10 Gigabit Ethernet)

Cat. 7A (FTP)

1-1000 MHz

EN 50288-9-1

Classe Fa

50 m with 40 Gigabit Ethernet

15 m with 100 Gigabit Ethernet

The cable is suitable for multiple applications, including 40 Gigabit Ethernet transmission up to 50m, on 100 Gigabit Ethernet up to 15m and CATV (bandwidth up to 862 MHz). Each pair provides up to 1,200 MHz of bandwidth.

LThe best type of cables on the market today, ideal for company connections, they are equipped with double shielding and support to the highest standards.

How to wire a cable

You can see our video section, with network cable installation guides