Cat 8 Ethernet Cable: Supercharge Your Internet

Rosslyn Elliott / Updated Mar 18, 2024 | Pub. Nov 14, 2023

Cat 8 Ethernet cables are the newest and fastest Ethernet cables available. They can transfer data at speeds up to 40 Gbps. Yes, that’s 40 Gigabits per second, or 40,000 Mbps!

In other words, these cables can move data much faster than even the fastest residential internet connections.  For people looking for lightning-fast Internet speeds, Cat 8 cables are the way to go.

But do you need that much speed from an Ethernet cable? Let’s look at the basics of Cat 8 cables and whether you can benefit from using them.

Why Use a Cat 8 Internet Cable?

Unparalleled Speed

Cat 8 Ethernet cables can achieve transfer speeds of up to 40 Gigabits per second (Gbps). This is 4 times faster than Cat 6 cables and 10 times faster than Cat 5e cables, which are still in common use. The super-fast 40 Gbps speed allows Cat 8 cables to handle very data-intensive tasks like 8K video streaming without any lag or buffering.

Shielding for Reduced Interference

Cat 8 cables have extra shielding compared to lower category cables. This shielding blocks electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). The shielding ensures a clean, reliable signal and stable connection.

Compatibility

To achieve 40 Gbps speeds, Cat 8 cables use new RJ45 connectors. This means they can only be used with Ethernet ports and devices designed for Cat 8. They are not backward-compatible with older Cat 5e/Cat 6 Ethernet ports.

 

ethernet cable twisted in artistic curve

Benefits of Cat 8 Ethernet Cables

Upgrading your current Ethernet cables to Cat 8 offers several advantages. Here are some of the key benefits:

Lightning-Fast Downloads

With transfer speeds of 40 Gbps, Cat 8 cables can download files and media content in seconds. Large downloads that used to take minutes will complete in the blink of an eye.

Smooth Gaming Experience

The fast speeds and minimal latency of Cat 8 cables are perfect for online gaming. Games will run smoother with no choppiness or lag during fast-paced action.

 

Smiling woman points to ethernet cable

4K Streaming Without Buffering

Cat 8 cables have more than enough bandwidth to handle multiple 4K streams at once. You can stream, download, and game in ultra HD without any annoying buffering wheels.

Future-Proofing

While most devices today don’t even come close to using 40 Gbps, Cat 8 cables future-proof your network. Your infrastructure will be ready when super-fast 100+ Gbps connections become more common in the next 5-10 years.

Ethernet Cable Capacities

Cable Type Speed Frequency
Cat 5 Up to 1 Gig Up to 100 MHz
Cat 6 Up to 1 Gig Up to 250 MHz
Cat 6A Up to 10 Gigs Up to 500 MHz
Cat 8 Up to 40 Gigs Up to 2000 MHz

 

Installing and Maintaining Your Cat 8 Ethernet Cable

Like all Ethernet cables, Cat 8 cables use RJ45 connectors. They snap into Ethernet ports easily but require Cat 8 compatible devices. The cables can be bent and twisted during installation without signal loss. Maximum cable length is still limited to 100 meters like lower category cables. Keep the cables away from heat sources and use cable management for a clean setup. And know the signs of a bad Ethernet cable.

 

Cat 8 ethernet cables against glowing field of fiber optic lights

Make Sure Your Ethernet Ports are Compatible

For people looking for the absolute fastest Ethernet connection speeds available today, Cat 8 cables are the answer. The 40 Gbps transfer rate can handle bandwidth-heavy tasks like 8K video and provide reliable gaming connectivity. While the cables are more expensive than lower category cables, they provide future-proof performance. Just be sure your devices have Cat 8 compatible Ethernet ports to handle the speed.

FAQs: Cat 8 Ethernet Cables

Are Cat 8 Ethernet cables worth the investment?

For most everyday users, Cat 6 or even Cat 5e cables are sufficient. Cat 8 cables are recommended for people who need to transfer extremely large files and need the 40 Gbps speed. The added cost is only worth it if you have Cat 8 compatible devices.

Can I use Cat 8 cables with my old router?

Unfortunately, no. Cat 8 cables can only be used with Ethernet ports designed for Cat 8. Older routers use Cat 5e/Cat 6 ports which cannot handle the 40 Gbps speeds. You would need a router with Cat 8 ports.

Do I need special connectors for Cat 8 Ethernet cables?

Yes, Cat 8 cables require new RJ45 connectors capable of the faster 40 Gbps speed. They will not be compatible with the connectors on lower category Ethernet cables.

What’s the maximum length for Cat 8 Ethernet cables?

Like previous Ethernet cables, Cat 8 cables are still limited to a maximum length of 100 meters or about 330 feet to sustain 10 Gbps speeds. The super-fast 40 Gbps speed can only be maintained over shorter distances, usually around 30 meters or 100 feet.

Where can I get Cat 8 Ethernet cables?

Cat 8 Ethernet cables can be purchased from most online retailers that sell network cabling and hardware. They may also be available at select local electronics stores. Prices are higher than lower-category cables.

 

Woman calmly using her home computer with an ethernet cable

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About the author

Rosslyn Elliott has over a decade of experience as a writer, editor, and in-house journalist. She earned a B.A. in English from Yale University and has written professionally in many fields including technology and IT. She has won kudos for her work helping tech startups establish their brands. Having lived all over the USA, Rosslyn has first-hand knowledge of the strengths and quirks of top internet service providers. She now writes on all things internet, including Wi-Fi technology, fiber infrastructure, satellite internet, and the digital divide. As a TV fan, she also enjoys reviewing channel choices and cool gadgets for satellite TV and streaming services. Her personal experience as a researcher, career changer, and remote worker inspires her to guide others to their own online opportunities. After work, she likes to kick back with a good craft beer and speculate about A.I. with friends.