How We Choose
When it comes to gaming, an ethernet cable is an important component of your PC rig and it’s therefore important to get one that’s of a high enough quality that it can keep up with the demands of modern game titles. This will drastically reduce game lag and can result in a more fully immersive experience.
To help you find the best cable for your needs, we spent hours and hours conducting extensive research and exploring what options are available to gamers. We always want to make sure that the products we recommend are of the highest quality, which is why we also perform our own in-house testing on every product you’ll see on our site.
In order to narrow down the decision to just five choices, we screened each product according to a few key features that we believe you should consider when deciding which ethernet cable to buy, which we discuss in more detail below.
Things to Consider
We’ve come a long way since the world wide web became a part of modern life, with new advances in computer technology happening practically every day. To keep up with the improvements in the internet, ethernet cables have also seen multiple updates since then.
In the beginning, there was Cat3, shortly followed by Cat5 and Cat5e, then joined by Cat6 and Cat6a, and more recently we’ve seen the likes of Cat7 and Cat8 which are. The earlier categories are still available today but they deliver a slower and less reliable transmission performance compared to Cat7 or Cat8 which are designed for high-speed connections.
You should try to think about what you’re hoping to get out of your ethernet cable’s performance before purchasing one because then you can compare your needs to the limitations of each category to see which is the best option for you. As is often the case, the bigger the better, and the higher the category, the better the cable can handle the interface.
The information regarding the category of the ethernet cable will always be located somewhere on the packaging which makes it easier to find the one you need when you’re shopping, and it should also be written somewhere on the cable’s insulation.
Another highly important feature to think about if you’re replacing your ethernet cable is how well the copper wires will be protected by the shielding.
With good shielding, there’s no interference from the electrical conduit when you plug in your ethernet cable which will result in more consistent and reliable transmission speeds. There are few different types of shielding, and here’s what each option entails.
Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)
Ideal for home use, UTP cables can connect to numerous devices, but you’ll need to use a shorter cable and they’re not the best option for installations within the walls.
Foiled Twisted Pair (FTP)
Similarly, FTP cables have no shielding and in its place, you’ll find a global screen which helps to provide more protection and subsequently a more stable internet connection.
Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)
Slightly different are the STP cables which feature a conductive mesh that covers each pair and creates a barrier to block out the electrical white noise. There are more suited to wall installation compared to the previous two options due to this added protection.
Shield Foiled Twisted Pair (SFTP)
Lastly, there are the SFTP cables which are a unique combination of both types of protection. In addition to the mesh covering, each pair is coated in a special formula to eliminate electrical interference. They’re the best choice for anyone who anticipates long run times, but they are also on the slightly more expensive side.
Bigger is better when it comes to the category, but when you’re thinking about how long your ethernet cable should be it’s important to keep in mind that with a greater length there’s a higher chance of latency and loss of data.
Avoid getting an ethernet cable that exceeds your actual needs. You can easily check by measuring the distance from where your computer sits to the modem it must connect to. This way you can clearly see what type of length you should be looking for.
Don’t worry about trying to work out what color ethernet cable you need, as the color doesn’t indicate much beyond differentiation. It can be useful if you’re using multiple connections in one router or server, but aside from this, there’s no deeper meaning to the cable’s color.
Frequency and Connection Speeds
The final feature you can’t make your decision without thinking about is the frequency of the ethernet cable, which is different for every model despite the fact that they can achieve the same connection speeds.
Most of the time, higher frequencies will reduce the level of interference which leaves the internet speed free from such disruptions when it comes to gaming so you can make the most of its full capabilities.