The invisible Category 4

What can you say about the Edsel of the cabling industry? In retrospect, Category 4 cabling systems appear to be short-sighted and unnecessary. Billed as an improvement--however slight--in performance over Category 3 for handling premises network upgrades, Category 4 has led a relatively innocuous, sedentary existence, never developing as a stepping stone to Category 5, as had been foreseen in 1991.

Ron Karjian

What can you say about the Edsel of the cabling industry? In retrospect, Category 4 cabling systems appear to be short-sighted and unnecessary. Billed as an improvement--however slight--in performance over Category 3 for handling premises network upgrades, Category 4 has led a relatively innocuous, sedentary existence, never developing as a stepping stone to Category 5, as had been foreseen in 1991.

Today, conversations about categories of cable for office buildings and residences start with Category 3 and jump to Category 5, with seldom a mention of Category 4. When Masood Shariff, a distinguished member of technical staff at Lucent Technologies` Bell Laboratories (Middletown, NJ), said that the cabling industry seven years ago was yearning for a "better cable" than Category 4, he wasn`t kidding.

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