A: All three cable types are similar in design (four twisted pairs of wires inside a single casing) and function. The primary difference is the data transfer rate supported by each:
Cat 5: Up to 100Mbps at up to 100MHz
Cat 5e: up to 1,000Mbps (gigabit). Backward compatible with Cat 5.
Cat 6: The four pairs of wires are separated by a “longitudinal” separator, which reduces crosstalk and allows for faster data transfer rates — up to 10 gigabit at up to 250MHz. Backward compatible with Cat 5e and Cat 5.