Cable types have evolved for communication, data, and television uses as the advancements in equipment and technology have evolved. The faster speed, bandwidth, and amounts of data that can be transferred has dictated that cable keep up with the technological advances in equipment and formats in the ability of the cable to handle the increased speeds and bandwidth requirements which have resulted in the development of cat6 cable. From the early days of cable tv and computer networks which adapted the use of coaxial cable which was a general-purpose cable that was not primarily designed for use with computer systems, it became apparent that the development of cables able to support the equipment.
This needs for advanced cables in computer networks gave rise to twisted pair cables, more commonly known as ethernet cable. These cables were developed in two different formats called unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable and shielded twisted pair cable (STP) which had different levels of shielding with the obvious advantage of the STP cables having additional shielding which provides superior protection from noise and electromagnetic interference.
These twisted pair cables gave rise to a new set of standards for these cables, known as TIA/EIA 568 were released in 1991 and been continually revised since then to set specific standards for the cable. TIA/EIA 568 set forth the categories for the cables starting with the most basic which were categorized as CAT 1 which consisted of two twisted pairs of cable that did not support the speed and bandwidth requirements for data transfer, CAT2 and all further levels of these Ethernet cables all contain a minimum of 4 twisted pairs and first used in computer networks. The next category CAT 3 was the first ethernet cable to be used in the high-speed applications of Local Area Networks (LAN). As requirements became further advanced the development of CAT 4 and CAT 5 which were used in more advanced LAN networks, and the variant CAT 5e which is now the minimum required cable for modern LAN networks. CAT6 cable was developed to block cross talk between the twisted pairs through use of a plastic core, with CAT 6a further developed to further reduce cross talk and attenuation issues and it has the probable additional advantage of advancing the length limit of the cable beyond the current 100-meter limits.
At this time further categories of ethernet cables are under development, but the CAT 6 and CAT 6a categories of cable represent the evolution of cables needed to handle the lightning-fast speeds and enormous amounts of data that need to be transferred.