Ugreen Cat 8 vs Kinbeta Cat 7 Ethernet Cable Review – Is Cat 8 Ethernet worth it or an overpriced scam vs Cat 6a & Cat 7?

Sharing is caring!

On Amazon, there are a growing number of companies selling either Cat 8 or Cat 7 cables.

I have seen some Ugreen Cat 8 Ethernet cable posted on HotUKDeals a couple of times in the past year, and you always get people asking if it will help improve their Internet speed.

Will Cat 8 Ethernet increase my Internet speed?

There is a short and easy to that one, it is no.

In the UK, at least, it is unlikely that you will get above gigabit Internet speeds, and all modern Ethernet cables (Cat 5E and above) will happily transfer data at that speed. Cat 5E is rated at a gigabit for 100M, so there is no reason to invest in anything more expensive.

Do I need Cat 7 or Cat 8 Ethernet for 10Gbit/s connections over a LAN?

However, what about users such as myself that have a 10GbE LAN using semi-affordable multi-gig switches?

The answer is still no.

Cat5e can do 10GBase-T up to 45m if it is a solid core cable, and Cat6a has become the more common standard I choose as it is rated for 10Gbit/s connections at up to 100m.

However, the reality is a little more complex than this. If you are a network engineer or home lab/data hoarder enthusiast buying good quality cable reels and terminating it yourself, you probably won't have any issues.

However, I have found the quality of cables sold on Amazon varies quite a bit, and sometimes, the performance doesn't match the rating.

Cat 8 vs Cat 7 vs Cat 6a Ethernet – What's the difference?

The limited amount of documentation online for Category 8 cable is the first red flag. It has been ratified, and it is defined as up to 2000 MHz and only 40Gbps for distances up to 30 m or 36 m, depending on the patch cords used.

While it is rated at up to 40 Gbps, as far as I can tell, there are no switches on the market that can do this using 10GBASE-T. There are plenty of commercial switches that do 25, 40, or 100 Gbps using either SFP+ or QSFP.

It has been implied that Cat 8 cable is designed to be used in data centres for these possibly non-existent switches. However, 10GBASE-T and presumably 40GBASE-T use considerably more power than the DAC or fibre alternative and most serious data centres are already on 100 Gbps switches, so why bother with new 40GBASE-T switches?

Cat 6a and Cat 7 have much lower specifications, and there is not that much difference between them. Perhaps the main one is that Cat 7 is always shielded. Both are rated for 10 Gbps at 100m, and they should be more than enough for any needs, in theory.

Questionable quality with Cat 6a cables on Amazon

Most recently, when reviewing the Zyxel XGS1250-12 Multi-Gigabit Switch, the 10m Duronic shielded Cat 6a that I had bought from Amazon (in 2019) achieved less than half of 10Gbit/. Whereas some generic Cat 6a flat white cable (probably from a Netgear router), achieved significantly better speeds.

Even with iPerf, I was only able to hit 7 Gbits/sec with the Duronic Cat 6a.

With the mixed results I experienced, I decided I would try out a couple of Cat 8 and Cat 7 cables and see if they improved anything.

Somewhat flawed testing setup

I should warn most home lab, and data hoarder enthusiasts will likely be disgusted at my home server set up. I have a rats nest of cables and a mixture of switches and servers.  I have struggled to max out a 10GBase-T connection with file transfers. Due to the increased cost of electricity I am resigning myself to using TerraMaster with Unraid vs a self-built server, so I haven't looked too much into why my work PC doesn't read or write from my server at full 10Gbit/s speeds. However, the likely scenario is the SMB settings.

My setup currently consists of:

Ugreen CAT 8 Ethernet Performance & Review

Preview Product Rating Price
UGREEN CAT 8 Ethernet Cable High-Speed 40Gbps 2000MHz... UGREEN CAT 8 Ethernet Cable High-Speed 40Gbps 2000MHz... No ratings yet £10.99
  • iPerf:
    • Ubuntu: 9.46 Gbits/sec
    • Unraid: 5.55 Gbits/sec
  • File Transfer:
    • Ubuntu: 680 MB/s
    • Unraid: 304 MB/s

The Ugreen cable performed as well as the Netgear router supplied Cat 6a cable, but better than the Amazon bought Duronic shielded Cat 6a.

The cable itself looks good and feels well made. The braided design adds a bit of durability to it but is unlikely to make that much difference.

I am still sceptical of the Cat 8 claims, as the Cat 8 cables I have seen from proper networking vendors tend to be extremely thick due to all the shielding. This cable is thicker than the Kinbeta Cat 7, but it is no bulkier than a lot of other cables I have.

Ugreen advertises this as being compatible with the Xbox One, PS5, PS4 and routers, but this is true for all Ethernet cables. This cable will provide no advantages over any other cable when using it with a console.  

Kinbeta Cat 7 Ethernet Performance & Review

Preview Product Rating Price
Cat 7 Ethernet Cable 3m, KINBETA High-Speed 10Gbp 600Mhz... Cat 7 Ethernet Cable 3m, KINBETA High-Speed 10Gbp 600Mhz... No ratings yet £6.99
  • iPerf:
    • Ubuntu: 9.46 Gbits/sec
    • Unraid: 5.55 Gbits/sec
  • File Transfer:
    • Ubuntu: 680 MB/s
    • Unraid: 304 MB/s

Surprising absolutely no one, the cheaper Cat 7 from Kinbeta performs identically.

It is a little bit thinner than the Ugreen cable, but it still feels like good quality and looks good.

Price / Alternative Options and Overall Opinion

While Cat 8 Ethernet cable is a thing that exists, there should be absolutely no performance differences between Cat 8, Cat 7 or Cat 6a.

I like the overall build quality and aesthetics of both the Ugreen Cat 8 and Kinbeta Cat 7, and they provided superior performance to some of the other random Cat 6a cables I have bought from Amazon.

At the very least, I would expect that both Cat 7 and Cat 8 will always be of decent quality and capable of 10Gbps even with long cables.

I paid £11 for the Ugreen Cat 8 cable and £7 for the Kinbeta Cat 7, with both cables being 3m in length, and these are both braided.

Plastic coated Cat 6a cable costs from around £4 but generally around £6.

Overall, I am happy to pay £7 for a 3m Cat 7 cable, but £11 for Cat 8 is a rip-off.

Ugreen Cat 8 Braided Ethernet Cable Review

James Smythe

Overall

Summary

The cable itself is superb and can max out a 10Gbps Ethernet connection. However, there is no need for anyone to spend this much on an Ethernet cable, and I would be surprised if it even conformed to the Cat 8 requirements.

2

Kinbeta Cat 7 Braided Ethernet Cable Review

James Smythe

Overall

Summary

This performed identically to the Ugreen but costs 36% less. A braided Cat 7 cable it is still overkill for most people, but it reliably works with multi-gig switches

4

Last update on 2022-07-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.