Cat 7 Vs Cat 8: What Are The Main Differences?

Our guide looks at the main differences between Category 7 and 8 cables to determine which you need for your setup.

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Whilst networking cables aren’t the most glamorous subject matter, it’s definitely worth understanding the main differences between Cat 7 Vs Cat 8 if you’re planning on redoing your networking or LAN setup.

When it comes to re-cabling our homes or businesses for networking purposes, there is a tonne of category cables to choose from (Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7, Cat 8). This, for the most part, just confuses consumers – making the entire process that little bit more difficult. Fortunately, understanding the differences between said cables is fairly straightforward when you know what you’re talking about.

For that reason, in the following article, we’ll be going over all the main differences between Cat 7 vs Cat 8 networking cables. We’ll be breaking the subject matter down into something a little easier to digest – concluding with what we believe is best for home, office, or business usage.

So, with plenty to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!

Check out our complete guide on Cat 5 Vs Cat 6 here.

Check out our complete guide on Cat 6 vs Cat 7 here.

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What Is A Category 7 Cable?

Similar to Cat 6 cables, Cat 7 cables are also used primarily for networking thanks to their ability to transmit high-speed ethernet communications up to 10 Gbps. Like most Cat cables, Cat 7 is also fully backward compatible with Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 cables.

As far as length is concerned, Category 7 cables offer up a 100-meter 4-connector channel that makes use of a shielded design to help reduce alien crosstalk interference – all while transmitting signals at a frequency of 600MHz (6 times that of Cat 5).

Category 7 cables utilize a four twisted copper wire design that is similar to other Category cables. However, Category 7 network cables do offer the requirement of full shielded (via screen shielded twisted pair or screened foiled twisted pair) helping to further reduce noise. Alongside noise reduction, this type of design will also help completely eliminate alien crosstalk as well. With this extra stability, the Category 7 cable offers up greater lengths at higher speeds when compared to lesser Category cables.

What Is A Category 8 Cable?

Category 8 cabling is another type of networking cable that is recognized by IEEE and EIA. It is mainly used for ethernet or LAN scenarios, offering up both RJ45 and non-RJ45 connectors. As far as speeds go, Category 8 is the official successor to Cat 6 cabling, offering up a max frequency of up to 2GHz (2000MHz). Having said that, the Cat 8 cable is limited by a 30 meter 2-connector channel design.

Like cat 7, Category 8 cables offer a similar shielded design that helps reduce noise and alien crosstalk. Most impressive, however, is Category 8 cable’s ability transmission speeds of up to 40Gbps – making it the fastest of the two by some four times. Again, Cat 8 cables are also fully backward compatible with older versions of the networking cables, allowing users to diversify their networking setup.

Main Differences Between Cat 7 Vs Cat 8

So you can better understand the main differences between Cat 7 Vs Cat 8 cables, the following table outlines what we consider to be the main differences between the two Category cables:

Cat7Cat 8
Max Length100m30m
Maximum Transmission Speed10 Gbps25Gbps/40Gbps
Number Of Connectors42
Cable ConstructionShieldedShielded
Connector TypeNon-RJ45Class I: RJ45, Class II: RJ45

Which Category Cable For My Business?

So, you understand the main differences that seperate the two high performance category networking cables, it’s now time to look scenarios which suit them. Let’s start off with business usage.

If you’re the kind of business that prioritizes speed over anything else, the Cat 8 cable will offer you the highest levels of performance. Not only does it provide up to 40Gbps transfer speeds, but it also allows for frequencies up to 2000MHz – four times more than Cat 6 alternatives. With a shielded design that helps reduce noise and crosstalk, the Category 8 cable also provides one of the most stable connections you can get – offering yet another reason why you might want to choose it for your office needs.

Unfortunately, Cat 8 cables are limite dto a max length of 30m, making them unsuitable for some scenarios.

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Which Category Cable For Home Use?

But what about home users? Well, that all comes down to your requirements. Again, you must take the pros and cons of each cable and decide which best suits your needs. Of course, the Cat 8 cable offers the greater performance, with up to 40Gbps transfer speeds and up to 2000MHz frequencies. However, they are one of the most expensive cables on the market – with much of the performance not being utilized by a home network. Is it really worth the investment when you aren’t utilizing the cable to its maximum potential?

The same applies for Cat 7 cables aswell. The better value for money lies within the CAt 5-6 cables, where you can still get a high-performance experience without breaking the bank too much.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, our comprehensive guide to Cat 7 vs Cat 8 networking cables. Hopefully, this quick guide has aided in your decision-making process, explaining the differences between the two Category types.

Like we always say, it all comes down to your requirements when deciding which cable type is best for your needs. That being said, there are clear differences between the two cat cables that do make one considerably better than the other. Performance-wise, there’s no doubting that Cat 8 cables are the better of the two. They offer greater frequencies and general transmission speeds when compared to Cat 7. However, Cat 8 is limited in ways that Cat 7 isn’t- mainly in the max length of the cable.

Cat 8 cables are limited to a max length of 30m, meaning they are unsuitable for certain networking or LAN setups. Cat 7, on the other hand, offers up a max length of 100m – making them much more versatile. Whilst that is the case, Cat 7 cables do fall short of Cat 8 in almost every other area.

This has been our guide to Cat 7 vs Cat 8 networking cables. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a comment in the section below.

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Monitor & PC Product Specialist
For as long as he can remember, Charlie has always been interested in computers and gaming. It all started with the Sega Mega Drive and then evolved into PC gaming in his early teens. CS 1.6 was his first go at competitive gaming which soon evolved into CS:Source and now CS:GO – a game that he still plays (almost exclusively) today. Throughout that period he has also been a keen PC builder and enthusiast – dedicating a large portion of his time to the craft. My current rig is an ASUS 5700XT with AMD’s Ryzen 3600X.

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