Modular or Network connectors are electronic connectors that were initially designed for telephone wiring but they rapidly evolved technologically. Finding its use in many applications, these connectors are now also used for data networks and low-speed serial connections. Also called RJ connectors, they have a tab for locking the jack and plug in place when connected.
Developed by AT&T in the 1970s as part of a coding system (Universal Service Order Code or USOC) to classify telephone equipment and services, RJ stands for “Registered Jack”. It’s basically a standard that’s used to specify the capabilities of different types of jacks.
What is an RJ45 Connector?
An RJ45 connector is the most common type of twisted-pair network connector that generally has an 8-position, 8-contact modular plug and jack (8P8C). It’s used to connect computers with Ethernet-based LAN or Local Area Networks and can be commonly found on Ethernet cables. T568A and T568B are two wiring schemes that are used to connect the cable to the connector interface.
Types of RJ45 Connectors
There are several types of RJ45 connectors available. While the older FCC RJ45 connector has become obsolete in the current telecommunications industry, the other types are very popular.
- Category 5
Commonly abbreviated as Cat 5, it was originally made for a rated line speed of 100 Mbps, transmitting at 100 MHz frequencies. It has a maximum cable distance of 100 metres and generally uses two twisted pairs. At a later phase, Category 5E was developed for providing a line speed of 350 Mbps. It introduced new cables to accommodate four twisted pairs.
With a good signal and over short distances, Cat 5 and Cat 5E can transmit Gigabit Ethernet speeds.
- Category 6
This type of RJ45 connectors has stricter standards and significantly more enhanced shielding. It’s designed to provide a native speed of 1000 Mbps over a 250 MHz frequency. It supports 10-Gigabit Ethernet mode by reducing the maximum cable range from 100 metres to 55 metres.
Category 6A is a more advanced technology as it increases the transmission rate to 500 MHz from 250 MHz. With a grounded foil shielding, it also effectively reduces noise interference.
- Category 7
It’s designed to support 10-Gigabit Ethernet speeds at a transmission frequency of 600 MHz. It has the same enhanced shielding introduced by Cat 6 along with the added advantage of individual shielding for each of the four twisted pairs. Cat 7 modular connectors have a maximum cable distance of 100 metres and are also compatible with Cat 5 and Cat 6.
There is also an advanced variation of this type of connector which is known as Category 7A. It can support future 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet speeds by increasing the transmission rate at 1000 MHz frequency. It also allows transmission of lower-frequency cable TV streams.
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