RJ-45 interconnects, along with Ethernet cables, are used to network computers, game systems, phones, routers, and switches together. All these devices connected together make up our LAN (Local Area Networks) and Home Theater Networks. Ethernet cables carry data at various speeds depending on the type of network and type of cables used.
Speeds available are:
- 10 Mb/s
- 100 Mb/s
- Gigabit (1000 Mb/s)
- 10 Gigabit (10,000 Mb/s)
Types of Ethernet cables are:
- Cat 3 - used for 10 Mb/s speeds
- Cat 5 – used for 10/100 Mb/s speeds
- Cat 5e – used for 10/100/1000 Mb/s speeds
- Cat 6 – used for Gigabit or 10 Gigabit Ethernet
- Cat 7 – not standardized yet, but will be used for Gigabit or 10 Gigabit Ethernet
Ethernet cable standards are:
- 10BASE5 – the original implementation of Ethernet that used Cat 3 cable. Limited to 10Mb/s and a maximum length of 500 meters.
- 10BASE-T – Limited to 10Mb/s and a maximum length of 100 meters. Can use Cat 3, 5, 5e, or 6 cables.
- 100BASE-T - Limited to 100Mb/s and a maximum length of 100 meters. Can use Cat 5, 5e, 6 or 7 cables
- 1000BASE-T - Limited to 1000Mb/s (Gigabit) and a maximum length of 100 meters. Can use Cat 5e or Cat 6 cables.
To summarize, a 10/100 Ethernet port will support 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T. A 10/100/1000 Ethernet port will support 10BASE-T, 100BASE-T, and 1000BASE-T.
The RJ-11 interconnect is used for phone lines and to connect a DSL modem. A RJ-11 plug will also fit into a RJ-45 socket. However, the reverse is not true. Without digital technology, phone lines have an upper data rate limit of 56 kb/s. A DSL modem is necessary to get data rates in the Mb/s range.