Ethernet cable vs. phone cable

Updated July 19, 2017

Ethernet and phone cables look alike, and both send and receive information. But the cables differ in many ways.


Ethernet cables, also called CAT cables, are wider than phone cables and contain eight wires. Phone cables are narrower and are made up of four wires.


Ethernet cables have a larger bandwidth than phone cables. Users can send and receive more data, at quicker speeds, via Ethernet cables. Phone cables have a smaller bandwidth and data takes longer to move across a network.


Phone cables are most often used for home telephone lines and for Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections. Ethernet cables are typically used to interconnect computers and IP networks.


The end of the cable, called the plug, is rounder and thicker on an Ethernet cable. A phone plug is smaller and flat. The Ethernet plug is called an RJ45 while a phone plug is called an RJ11.

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About the Author

Lalah Brewer started freelance writing in 2010. She writes for eHow and Answerbag, focusing on topics related to education. Brewer holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Asbury University and a Master of Arts in reading and writing from Georgetown College.