PC Doctor April 6, 2020

Have your computer questions answered here! Search the PC Doctor archive or submit a question of your own at info@athollibrary.org

Dear PC Doctor:

I’m working at home for a while. I rearranged my home office and needed a longer network cable for my computer internet hook up. My old, shorter cable says CAT 6. The cable I found that’s long enough for my new set up says CAT 5E. I have internet, so I know it works – but what do those codes mean and will it matter?



Dear Ryan:

CAT 5E and CAT 6 cables are Ethernet cables, and their job is to connect your computer to a network. The way to know what kind of cable will serve you best is to know the speed of your network. If you have a really fast connection but use an old cable, you’re not getting the full benefit of that speed.

For example, for a CAT 3 cable the maximum transmission speed is 10 Mbps and for a CAT 7 cable it is 10,000.

If you are moving large files or streaming video, a better Ethernet cable can make a huge difference. Your router speed will also impact your experience. You can contact your home internet provider and find out the top capacity for your equipment and what cable they recommend.

Until next time,

Happy Computing!

PC Doctor

Editor's Note: Questions should be directed to PC Doctor, care of the Athol Public Library, info@athollibrary.org or Athol Public Library, 568 Main St., Athol, Mass. 01331, or dropped off at the library.