Cat 5e, Cat 6 & Cat 6A Cable: which is best for your network?
One of the most common questions asked when it comes to industrial and commercial network design and data cable installation is, which category of cable is best suited to my needs? In the following we describe the differences between Cat 5e, 6 and 6a cable, and why you might choose one over the other.
All three categories of cable look the same from the outside and they all have the same RJ-45 end, which can plug into the Ethernet jacks on your computers, routers and switches. This, however, is where the similarity ends, as each has distinct differences that can impact on which one you decide to install.
Firstly, there is a noticeable difference in price, with each category costing more per metre than the previous category. However, just because later categories are more advanced in terms of performance, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to install the more expensive cable; this very much depends on the current and future demands placed on your network.
About 15 years ago, when it was first released, Cat 5e cable (the ‘e’ stands for ‘enhanced’) was the first glimpse of the potential of a 1 Gigabit network, although at that time, the hardware required to support it was prohibitively expensive for the average user. Over time, as the cost of the hardware decreases, 5e has become the minimum standard in data cable, eventually rendering Cat 5 obsolete.
Made up of 24 gauge twisted pair wires, the 5e delivers 1 Gigabit network speed at distances up to 328 feet. While Cat 5 was potentially capable of 1 Gigabit speeds (dependent on the network connections), 5e incorporated improvements in isolation between the wires, reducing the level of ‘crosstalk’ — the interference between the wires — and increased the frequency of the cable up to 100MHz.
Although Cat 6 cables have been around for just for a few years less than Cat 5, historically the 10 Gigabit cable has been used for the backbone of networks, with 5e being run to individual workstations. This is not only due to cost but also because the bandwidth of the Cat 6 can only run to 164 feet. Beyond this distance, the bandwidth can rapidly decrease to 1 Gigabit, the same as the 5e.
Physically, the Cat 6 is made up of either 23 or 24 gauge twisted pair wires, with 2 plus twists per centimetre (as compared to 1.5–2 in the 5e). The frequency in the Cat 6 has increased to 200MHz, which can also potentially increase crosstalk. For this reason, the Cat 6 cable has an internal nylon spline and is contained within a thick exterior sheath. In some cases, this can eliminate crosstalk completely.
The Cat 6a (‘a’ stands for ‘augmented’) is the most advanced version of data cable, anticipating a future where the 10G network is the standard. It not only has a bandwidth distance of the full 328 feet of Ethernet cable, but its frequency has doubled to 500MHz, which further improves its range. That said, Cat 6a is also the most expensive of the cable options.
Which cable should you choose?
Generally, the consensus seems to be that Cat 5e 1GB cable is currently adequate for a network where most servers are based in the Cloud, but may not support network demands in the future. Again, this is very much dependent on your business or industry’s needs in terms of network design and use.
Cats 6 and 6a clearly future-proof your network in terms of faster data speeds, greater range and reduced crosstalk, but gaining these benefits relies on your router being gigabit-compatible and your computers being gigabit-capable. It’s also important to point out that data speed is not the same as Internet speed. Upgrading your data cable to 6a is not going to have an impact on the speed of your internet; rather it will improve data transfer, upload and download times. Therefore, the choice of cable really boils down to what you’re using your network for, and how you think you’re going to use it in the future.
Before making any decisions about data cable installation or upgrade, talk to an expert Caslec electrician and we’ll help you find the right solution for your business or industry’s network needs. Call us on 1300 659 273 today.
How to reduce your business’ energy use & save money
Keeping costs down is a concern for any business. Effective management of costs means increased cash flow, and that can only mean good things for the company. As it turns out, one of the most effective ways to cut costs for your business is to keep your energy use down.
Who’s Your Supplier?
If you are looking to reduce your energy costs, you might want to consider changing suppliers. Check out some of the deals being offered by suppliers in your area, most of which will have negotiable tariff rates. Do a bit of research and talk to a consultant or two about your particular business’ energy use, so you can work out a plan that not only meets your needs but reduces your costs.
Most of what you can do to reduce your energy usage relies on making a number of simple changes within the workplace. There are probably many habits you and your colleagues have, which are increasing business energy costs. For instance, if you routinely keep computers and other electronics on at night, make it a rule that everything is switched off at the socket when the office is empty. Or engage your commercial electrician to install motion sensors to switch the lighting on and off when staff enter or leave a room. These simple steps will dramatically reduce energy consumption and save on your power bills..
A particularly effective means of reducing the power usage in your business is having an energy efficient electrical installation. If you use a professional team of electricians who really know what they’re doing, you’ll find yourself with an installation that is set up from the start, to be much more efficient in its use of energy. This means that most of the hard work is done for you. Along with concerted efforts to reduce your energy usage, you can
save your business a great deal of money in the long-term.
What’s the difference between an industrial & a commercial electrician?
What is an industrial electrician?
Industrial electricians are highly skilled specialists who are trained to install, maintain and repair electrical and data & communications systems for manufacturing and production facilities, power plants and other large industrial projects. Their role requires them to ensure the safety and efficiency of large electrical systems and maintain and repair complex equipment, such as industrial motors, fans and control systems.
Industrial electricians are called in at the construction phase of any industrial facility, to install and test new equipment and systems to ensure they meet the relevant regulations and standards. At Caslec, our industrial electricians are regularly re-trained and tested in order to meet the demands of an industrial landscape where the technology and related standards are always evolving. This includes our ability to design and install a Programmable Logic Control System that incorporates Variable Speed Drives and Soft Starters to suit any industry’s processes and drive greater efficiency.
What is a commercial electrician?
A commercial electrician installs, maintains, repairs and tests electrical and communication systems in businesses or public facilities such as hospitals, schools, shopping centres, restaurants and retail outlets, to name just a few. Fundamentally, commercial electricians are responsible for wiring the instruments that control the power, lighting, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration units in commercial buildings.
At Caslec, our commercial electricians are highly qualified in working with security and communications systems, the installation of commercial lighting, including energy efficient options such as LED, and the installation, testing and inspection of commercial/workplace electrical equipment so it meets Australian Standards.
Like an industrial electrician, commercial electricians are called in at the installation phase of new buildings and commercial projects. At Caslec, our commercial electricians work with you to determine the best electrical and lighting solution for your business or project, ensuring that you are provided with the highest standards of safety and efficiency.
Most importantly, whether you’re an industrial or commercial business, government workplace health & safety regulations require you to have your electrical equipment tested on a regular basis. Call Caslec on 1300 659 273 to book your industrial or commercial Test Tagging today.
Power factor correction
Power Factor Correction is an increasingly important tool in the effort to help large power consumers like factories save on electricity bills.
To increase your energy savings rate commercial electricians from Caslec would like to assist you with the installation and maintenance of Power Factor Correction units.
If your installation has poor power factor, your company’s electricity bills can be too high. A Power Factor Correction unit (PFC) can save you a lot of money by correcting this low power factor.
For commercial or industrial premises, particularly those with many inductive loads such as motors, pumps, inductive lighting or where the installation has low power factor – Caslec is here to help.
Our team of experts can use a Power Analyser to check your power factor, then design a Power Factor Correction unit with the appropriately sized capacitor steps to correct your power factor as close as possible to unity power factor, meaning you will pay less for electricity. The best news is that many of these power factor correction units can be paid for with the savings generated on your electricity bill, meaning you are not out of your pocket for the installation.
Main causes of power outages
No matter where you are, power outages can happen anytime. That’s why in today’s blog, commercial electricians from Caslec would like to point out some major causes of electricity failures and who you should contact when such event occurs.
Nothing brings the household together quite like an unexpected electricity outage. While playing games or eating dinner under candlelights can be fun for children, power faults are no joke.
Electricity power outages usually occur without any warning and can be stressful if you don’t know the proper steps to getting out of the dark. To make things easier for you, we prepared this article, so you will know what to do when the power is out.
Common causes of power outages
Sydney’s weather can be a real problem when high winds or flying debris damage power lines. Torrential rains and flooding can also damage electrical infrastructure.
A temporary increase in the power supply voltage can result in an electricity outage. These are usually caused by lightning strikes, tripped circuit breakers or short circuits.
Motoring accidents resulting in broken poles or causing power lines to touch can lead to an outage.
For the safety reasons, electricity supplies are often disconnected in bushfire emergency.
What you should do if there is a power outage
When the power goes out, calling your retailer might be your first thought. While your retailers sell electricity to homes and businesses across the country, they are purchasing it from the commercial power distributing companies. These companies own and operate the poles, wires, etc, so they are responsible for their maintenance.
Your retailer will usually help you to get in touch with the right people to get your electricity back; they actually can’t do as much as distributors.
Alternatively, during an outage, they can provide you with information about when the power should be switched back on.
If the outage is widespread, the phone lines could be busy with many people calling for information. In this case, electricity distributing companies often prepare pre-recorded messages offering updates on the situation.
Metering for your business
Before you start using electricity on your business premises, it needs to be metered in order to monitor usage and record consumption. Metering equipment can be purchased from the relevant supply authority like Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy and is installed at standard locations. The meter box on the side of your house or the main switch room in a high density residential or commercial premises are common locations for this sort of device.
Caslec Level 2 services provides metering services for a vast number of situations including switchboard upgrades, three phase upgrades, new installations, temporary builder’s services and supply separation.
Our services also include multi-residential properties and high-density retail developments across Sydney.
With many years of experience, Caslec level 2 service provider has secured and completed metering contract projects for many businesses in Sydney.
Commercial and industrial properties have a way bigger demand for electricity than your average domestic installation. As a result, large industrial switchboards are utilised and in turn, alternate methods. Caslec is proficient in providing metering services for facilities up to 400A for permanent and temporary supplies.
3 tips on how to find good industrial electricians.
In today’s article, Caslec industrial electricians would like to tell you about the differences between residential and industrial electricians, so it could help you find the right professional for your needs.
You would typically assume that the rules of finding a good industrial electrician are the same for every type of specialist in the industry. In a sense, you are correct, but at the same time, it’s worth becoming familiar with the set of skills that an industrial electrician has and the type of training they undertake to get where they are in their profession or trade.
Industrial electricians work in specific environments and over time, either by training or through experience on the job, have distinct, knowledge of particular electrical installations and types of equipment. For example robotics and other highly specialised electrical equipment that might be used in the mining or manufacturing industry.
As the field of expertise is very broad, most of the industrial electricians choose to specialise in certain areas. One of the very popular in the last ten years is the motor vehicle industry. As you would probably be aware, every model of the vehicle produced these days has new and specialised electrical equipment and naturally, this requires highly specialised technical expertise to install, repair and maintain.
So what are the characteristics of a good industrial electrician that might make choosing one easier for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the things you should pay attention to:
- Good industrial electricians have the experience and knowledge and, most importantly, the training required to work with highly specialised pieces of electrical equipment. It is of particular importance to check that their training is of sufficient depth to be able to work with the equipment required efficiently.
- They should always possess the capacity to communicate well and be a good team player so that they can work as a part of a harmonious work environment.
- Working as a part of an overall team is one thing, but specialised team members such as industrial electricians should also be able to communicate effectively with customers where necessary.
Naturally, every work environment has particular skill requirements and supervisors need to be careful to ensure that the industrial electrician they choose ticks every box, not just those listed above.
If you are still not sure about which industrial electricians you should choose.
What do you know about electrical transformers?
You may think that the way of delivering electricity to homes and businesses is pretty standard all over the world, but its voltage and frequency varies between countries or every region within a single country.
Essentially, electrical transformers are used to change the voltage of electricity so that it is suitable for different appliances and locations.
Where are transformers used?
Electrical transformers are commonly installed at the top of power poles or in electrical appliances. Sometimes they can be as small as a fingernail and used in items like radios, or they can be large and heavy devices that are used in power grids. Power grids have very high voltage so that the electricity can be transported long distances, but it must be reduced to become suitable for our homes. The voltage is lowered down through the transformer and then put into local wires at a substation where it may be stepped down again and again so we can use it.
For example, the power from the grid may have a voltage as high as 765,000 volts, which can be lowered down to 7,200 volts through a substation. Then a local power pole transformer may drop the voltage further down to 220-240 volts before it is sent to your home. Larger appliances like water heaters may use this 220-240 volt electricity, but others like TVs and microwaves may need it even lower at 110-120 volts.
How do the electrical transformers work?
Transformers usually have two coils of wire in them, and some have more coils than the other.
When electricity in one of the windings transfers to a coil with fewer windings, the power steps down. And if the electricity in the coil with fewer turns in the wire is transferred to a coil with more turns, the voltage goes up. One coil is connected to an input circuit and the other is attached to the output circuit.
At the end of this article, we would like to mention also another type of transformers known as an autotransformer which is equipped with only one coil. Both circuits are connected to it at different points so that one circuit has more of the coil and more turns in the wire than the other. These transformers are often preferred because they are lighter, smaller and have better overload tolerance and voltage stability.
How to buy and use energy efficient appliances
Using energy efficient appliances has become very popular in Australia over the last few years, but it can be hard to know what to look for.
In today’s article by Caslec commercial electricians, we would like to list some simple steps that can help in choosing the right product.
Energy star rating
The item’s energy star rating can help in making a quick judgement about its energy efficiency. The more star, the more energy efficient the appliance is.
Guides and product manuals
Many appliances have energy saving functions built in. It’s important to read the manual to learn how these can be used as it can save you a lot of money.
Electrical appliances can be hazardous to dispose of, so it’s worth to find a retailer that can collect old items when they deliver the new product.
If your primary motivation for investing in energy efficient products is to save money, then remember the appliances that are not in use should be unplugged rather than left on standby. New televisions should also be set for the ‘home use’ mode which lowers the brightness on the screen and saves power.
For a free assessment of your circumstances contact Caslec Commercial Electricians in Sydney.
Type of cabling you might need for your business
For those who aren’t interested in the subject, cables are cables, but there is a distinct difference between electrical cabling which runs electrical current and communication cables that include all types of Data Cabling. Other common names for Data Cabling are Network Cabling and Data Network Cabling.
Commercial Data Cabling which is basically the same as Commercial Network Cabling refers to industries in which Communication Cabling is commonly used.
Data Cables are usually made of copper or optical fibre. Each of them has the capability to serve both data and communications, but each has varying strengths and purposes, for example, Telephone Cabling.
When Data Cabling is arranged in a certain fashion it is known as Structured Data Cabling or just Structure Cabling.
Structured Cabling design and installation is managed by a set of standards that specify the wiring of data centres, shops, offices, factories, schools, residential buildings etc for data or voice communications using various types and categories of data cabling with modular connectors. These standards describe how to display data cables in different typologies in order to meet the needs of the customer, typically using a central patch panel from which each modular connection can be used as required. Each outlet is then fixed into a network switch for data network use or into an IP or Private Box Exchange telephone system panel.
Wireless networks extend data and communications cabling beyond the physical range of data cables.
Our experts from Caslec in Sydney are qualified to service all kinds of Data Cabling and Electrical Cabling in accordance with all Electrical, Data and Telecommunications standards, which not all Electricians or Electrical Contractors are qualified to do so.
We are looking forward to discussing the specifics of your business electrical system