Category 5 utp: Is "U" for "ubiquitous"?

Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair (utp) cable has become so widespread, it`s difficult to imagine life without it. In fact, because the industry is growing and people and organizations are constantly entering the field, for many, there never was life in cabling without Category 5 cable. That`s why viewing it as a breakthrough may require some readers to refocus.

Jul 1st, 1998

Patrick McLaughlin

Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair (utp) cable has become so widespread, it`s difficult to imagine life without it. In fact, because the industry is growing and people and organizations are constantly entering the field, for many, there never was life in cabling without Category 5 cable. That`s why viewing it as a breakthrough may require some readers to refocus.

John Siemon, vice president of engineering at The Siemon Co. (Watertown, CT), offers some perspective: "Although the Category 5 cabling classification is more than five years old, it has certainly had the single largest technological impact on the cabling and telecommunications industry over the past five years by enabling high-speed data transport over a stable, inexpensive, and robust cabling infrastructure."

Specified to 100 megahertz, Category 5 cable allowed users to jump from network speeds of 10 megabits per second to 100 Mbits/sec. Many users who installed new, 10-Mbit/sec networks also chose Category 5 cable as the transmission medium, anticipating eventual migration to 100-Mbit/sec networks. This thinking, perhaps as much as any other single factor, has contributed to the medium`s becoming a fixture in premises network infrastructures. While some of those early users have migrated to 100-Mbit/sec networks and others have not, Category 5 cabling has successfully handled the applications that have been thrown at it so far. And because the group drafting the 1000Base-T standard is committed to ensuring that the protocol will run over Category 5 cabling, you can expect Category 5 utp cable to stay around for quite some time.

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