Not all Ethernet cables are the same, so what is the difference and how do you know which you should use? Ethernet cables are grouped into sequentially numbered categories (CAT) based on different specifications; sometimes the category is updated with further clarification or testing standards (e.g. CAT5e, CAT6a). On top of this, they have the option of shielding to further protect the cable from interference.

These categories of Ethernet cable and shielding identifiers are how we work out what type of cable we need for a specific application. Manufacturers are required to adhere to the standards, which makes choosing the right cable even easier.

The code before the slash designates the shielding for the cable itself, while the code after the slash determines the shielding for the individual pairs: 

TP = twisted pair, U = unshielded, F = foil shielding, S = braided shielding