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Are Ethernet Cables And Network Cables The Same?

by Dennis Carlson

You might have heard the terms ‘ethernet cable’ and ‘network cable’ many times in your daily life. Some people even use it interchangeably. But what exactly are these cables and what is the difference between them? Read more to find out. 

Network cables are the general term used to refer to all cables that transmit data between a network and computers. It is a broad term that consists of different types of cables for different applications. 

Ethernet cables, on the other hand, are network cables used only for the ethernet, such as the Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), and Metropolitan Area Network (MAN). An ethernet connection refers to all the systems that need network cables to connect, like any wired electronic device at home or workplace. Ethernet cables are used for devices like switches, routers, and PCs.

The “Ethernet” is used to represent the standard area network access method and not a cable in itself. Any network cable that makes a part of a LAN, MAN or WAN is an ethernet cable. So basically, it means that ethernet cables are a part of the wider category of network cables.  

So here is how you can differentiate between an Ethernet cable and other network cables. 


Ethernet cables are usually made of copper or aluminum but network cables consist of a large variety of cables within itself, such as patch cable and glass optical fiber cables. Since network cables are any cables that connect to a given network, they span a wide range of cables and wires made of different materials to suit different needs. 


Ethernet cables are classified by standard categories like STP (shielded twisted pair) and UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) and UTP is its most common variant. This popular cable type is available in different grades. The most common forms are Cat5e cable and Cat6 cable while others with higher performance are Cat6a, Cat7a. For network cables, ethernet cables themselves form a single category. Now, ethernet cables are developed to run on coaxial and fiber optics wires as well. 


Ethernet operates at the speed of 10, 100, 1,000, or 10,000 megabits per second (Mbps) while other network cables can operate in speeds faster or slower than this according to their functions.

Now that the difference between ethernet and network cables is clear, you can easily look online at Primecables.ca for premium quality, high-speed Ethernet or network cables.