Twisted Pair Categories
At the outset of this article I mentioned that we "techies" tend to refer to this type of cable as Cat 5. The reason for this is that the most common type of this cable is known as Category 5. While Twisted Pair encompasses the entire body of network cables that uses pairs of wires twisted around eachother, Cat 5 refers to a specific type that conforms to a set of standards, and that is incredibly popular in modern networks. There are various types besides just Cat 5, so lets talk about them briefly. Unless otherwise noted, all Twisted Pair cables mentioned here are capable of transmitting a full 100 meters in a single segment.
Category 3 - Category 3 is one of the earlier types of Twisted Pair cabling, and was used fairly extensively until faster speed Cat cables came along. Cat 3 supports a maximum data transmission rate of 10 megabits per second (Mbps), which in its time was still pretty fast. Its speed still supports use in telephone and VoIP systems.
Category 5 & Cat 5e - The original Category 5 was briefly on the scene as a replacement to Cat 3, offering a speed boost up to 100Mbps. A similar revised standard was released a short time after, called Cat 5e. Cat 5e has replaced the original Cat 5 alltogether, and supports speeds of 100Mbps and 1000Mbps (1Gbps or Gigabit).
Category 6 and Cat 6a - Category 6 TP cable isn't incredibly common, but is designed for Gigabit networks and has strict standards in regards to limiting crosstalk and interference. It can also support 10Gbps speeds but is subject to segment length restrictions under the normal 100 meters. The revised 6a standard is more suited for 10Gbps speeds, and will run over the full 100 meters.