Types of Ethernet Cable


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There are many types of computer cables for a wide range of special purposes, and even more terms used to describe them all. What type of cable should you use, and when? Some cable projects are so basic, your thirteen-year-old neighbor can set it all up for you. This is great and we love DIY-ers of all ages. But when the installation of Ethernet cables becomes more detailed and possibly requires drilling a hole or covering one up, you need to have all the correct information and know exactly what to use.

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Our experts here at cable supply are so good at what they do, they speak Ethernet. This article will break it down for you. This way, you know exactly what type of cable to purchase here at Cable Supply. Also, knowing about Ethernet cables and their types just makes you a solid conversationalist. You, at a cocktail party, your IT Professional truck parked outside. And people swarming about as you regale them with stories about the latest Ethernet installation you did out behind an avocado grove.

Oh, the stories you'll tell. Now let's get started.

PVC Cable / CMR Cable

PVC cable (or CMR cable) is the most common and least expensive type of indoor Ethernet cable. It is ideal for enclosed spaces that do not share airflow with areas of human habitation. We sell these types of Ethernet Cables here at cable supply but can always help you find the exact cut and fit for your job.

Plenum / CMP

Plenum-rated Ethernet cable (or CMP cable) is indoor cable encased in a jacket that conforms to more strict fire safety standards.

Plenum-rated cable is best for use in plenum airspaces (large ceiling areas that share airflow with inhabited rooms) to reduce the risk of harm in the event of a fire. PVC cable produces a deadly toxic smoke when it burns. Plenum-rated cable does not.

There are commercial building codes and workplace safety standards which may require the use of plenum-rated cabling. Check your local code then get back to Cable Supply to get the right Ethernet cable for you.


These gel-filled cables contain a clear gel substance inside the jacket that encases all the wires. What makes this Ethernet cable unique is that the gel is water-resistant, protecting the cable from moisture and water.

Regular Ethernet cable buried in the ground will be exposed to underground moisture, even when placed inside a conduit. All it takes is a small amount of moisture to deteriorate the cable. Gel-filled cable, however, can be directly buried; the gel will keep the moisture out and the cable will last much longer.

The gel is not harmful to the environment and will not harm skin upon contact. The gel itself is perfectly fine to work with but you should be prepared to clean up after the project is complete. This is because the gel can actually be quite messy. After you open the cable to terminate, you might find a mess on your hands so does keep a shop rag nearby.

Direct burial

Direct burial cable is another term for gel-filled cable. They both refer to the same thing and have the same characteristics. Direct burial cable is gel-filled and can be directly buried in the ground without conduit.


UV-protected cable (sometimes called "UV cable") possesses a jacket that is resistant to the ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by the sun.

Sunlight contains UV rays in addition to visible light. Regular indoor cable (CMR, CMP, PVC, and plenum) should not be used outdoors because it will deteriorate within a few years from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

If you plan to run cable across a roof or along a fence, you need to use UV-protected cable. It resists UV rays and holds up well in bad weather.

For added protection, consider UV cable with gel-fill – especially if you plan to run the same cable underground. Gel-filled UV cable protects against both ultraviolet light and moisture.


Ethernet cable is necessary when you're close to strong electrical interference. Nearby generators, electrical motors, and radio stations are sources of this interference and can disrupt signals passing through unprotected cable. (Shielded cable is NOT needed to protect against fluorescent lights.)

You must use shielded cable and shielded jacks to protect your data integrity, preferably with shielded patch panels and patch cords as well. The shielding must be grounded. Once grounded, the cable is protected from electrical interference.

The new code TIA1179 (hospital installation) requires cat6A shielded cabling or above.


Cat5E & Cat6 Flex Patch Cords

Cat5E and Cat6 Ferrari Path Cords are the latest and greatest in Patch Cord convenience with a new and exciting take on Snag-less Patch Cords. If you haven't tried Ferrari Cords, you need to give them a shot. Cat.6 and Cat.5 Ferrari Patch Cords have become popular because of their ease of use. Have you ever struggled in trying to remove a Patch Cord from a Switch, Router, Hub, Patch Panel, or network computer? We have found Ferrari Patch Cords to be much easier to install in comparison to Bubble Style Ethernet Cables. For some installers it is a preference as both types of cable have their strengths and weaknesses, but Ferrari Patch Cords have been shown to save time and frustration to cabling jobs. The cost and frustration that occurs when you are trying to be on time and on budget with an Ethernet Cable Installation can be solved using Ferrari Ethernet Patch Cords.

The core difference between Ferrari Patch Cords and Bubble Style Patch Cords is the boot being used. The boot for the Cat5e and Cat.6 Ferrari Patch Cables does not completely cover the clip on the sides of the clip. This makes it almost as easy to get the cable out of your networking hardware as a non-booted Ethernet cable. You still have the strain relief on the cable and the mod plug is injection molded, which is critical, but the horizontal side of the clip are exposed allowing easier pinching of the cable.

You aren't going to find this quality of cable available at these prices because CableSupply.com sells cable not only to individuals but also professionals and cabling companies at wholesale. Feel free to give us a call about any bulk pricing discounts. We work with both Do It Yourself Weekend Warriors and Professional Cable Contractors offering great deals whether you need to buy just one or one thousand.

What type of cabling solution are you currently using for your cabling jobs? Are you using Bubble Style Patch Cords for your Cat.5 and Cat.6E installations? One big benefit to using Ferrari Cat.6 Patch Cords or Cat.5E Ferrari Cables is actually in moving or replacing cables. I'm sure that many of you have dealt with Ethernet Cables that are hard to get out of a piece of network equipment because the cable is hard to get at or may have been in place for many years and isn't budging. Installers have gone as far using a screwdriver to remove network cabling or even snapping the tab because the boot is too hard to pinch by hand. This is not a recommended way of dealing with Network Cabling. This is where the Ferrari Patch Cords are advantageous.

The Ferrari Patch Cords are available in both Cat.5e and Cat 6. They are also available in varying lengths and colors. The lengths that we currently have in stock for Ferrari Cables are 1 foot, 2 foot, 3 foot, 5 foot, 7 foot, 10 foot, 15 foot, 25 foot, 50 foot, and 100 foot. The Ferrari Cat.6 and Cat5E colors that we have available are Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Orange, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow. We have these colors and sizes available for both Cat5e and Cat6 Patch Cables. Please let us know if you have any questions about ordering these cables.

Cat5E & Cat6 Booted Patch Cords

CableSupply.com offers the best in CAT5E, CAT6, and CAT6A Booted Ethernet patch cords from 1 ft. to 200 ft. lengths and are available in every color. Our premium high-quality RJ45 (8 position 8 conductor) patch cords are injection molded and feature boots to protect the RJ45 mod plug from breaking and from the cable being pulled out of its port. Each patch cord is fully tested and compliant with TIA/EIA standards. Use these patch cords to connect computers to your Ethernet connection via a RJ45 keystone jack or a patch panel.

Using different colored patch cords in your server room is a great idea because it’s an easy way to differentiate which cables are patching in what. For example: use all blue patch cords for work stations being patched in from a specific area or department in your building and then use black for another location or department and so on. Having booted patch cords can lengthen the life of the patch cord because of the extra amount of protection that the boot provides. The injection molding in the boot can help alleviate the stress of weight of the cable that would normally be directly on the mod plug, with a boot the weight is absorbed by the stress relieving sleeve and by the injection molding.  The boot features a bubble on top which protects the clip that holds the mod plug in place. Without this bubble protection the clip could be snapped or the mod plug could easily fall out of its port, causing that connection to fail.