With more people connecting to networks every day — coupled with the greater demands being placed on those networks because of graphics, music, streaming video, etc. — existing cable eventually will lack sufficient bandwidth to do the job.

Currently, Cat. 5e is used for most applications. The “e” means “enhanced.” After Cat. 6 was made available, it was quickly replaced by Cat. 6a. The “a” means “augmented.”

Although much faster than Cat. 5e, Cat. 6 is much more expensive; thus, most applications stick with Cat 5e. Cat. 7 has also been developed, but it has not become generally accepted yet. All of these choices (beyond Cat. 5e) will inevitably become moot as the price of optical fiber drops and simpler installation hardware becomes available.