Ethernet Cable Vs. Phone Cable [Difference]

Is Ethernet Cable the Same as Phone Cable? [7 Differences]

Are you curious to know if you can use your Phone cable for your Internet? If yes, you’re at the perfect place, as here I’ve listed the difference between them.

Before jumping into the difference, we should first know whether these cables are the same or different.

So, Are Ethernet and Phone Cable the same?

Both the cables look similar, but they are entirely different. It would be best to have a network cable to connect your computer to network devices like switches and routers, such as Ethernet patch cables.

The regular phone cable will not work, even though it looks like a network cable. Now let’s jump into the difference between Ethernet & Phone Cable.

7 Major Differences between Ethernet & Phone Cable

So here are the main difference between an Ethernet or Internet cable and a Phone cable or landline telephone cable.

1. Size

Compared with Ethernet cables, phone wires are narrow and made up of four wires, whereas Ethernet cables, also known as CAT cables, are much broader than phone cables and contain eight wires.

Ethernet cables are generally thicker and round than the regular telephone cable; the connector used at the end of the cable is different.

2. Bandwidth

Ethernet cables have higher bandwidth than phone cables, and larger bandwidth allows users to receive more data quicker.

The phone cables have a smaller bandwidth, and also the time taken to transmit is very long.

3. Speed of Transmission

It’s simple for a good experience. You need a higher speed, which depends completely on the cable type.

Ethernet cable is much faster than telephone cable and is more appropriate for long-haul transmission.

Telephone cords can only operate up to 1-2 Mbps, while the Ethernet cable can go up to 10 Gbps with CAT 6 and above cables. If your needs limit some area within a short distance, you can go with telephone cable.

4. Connector

As previously mentioned, Ethernet and telephone cables look the same, but the connectors are different.

The connector used in the Telephone cable is the RJ11/RJ12 connector, whereas the Ethernet cable uses RJ45; RJ11/RJ12 only uses 4-6 while RJ45 uses 8 pins.

This results in RJ11/RJ12 being physically smaller than RJ45, as it does not have to have as many pins.

5. Budget

Network cables are more expensive than telephone cables. However, they are worth the money. If you’re on a tight budget, telephone cable is also an option.

The advantages of Cat6 cables (network cables) are the availability of prefabricated cables, the possibility to run the Ethernet wire any place you wish to, and the speed of data transfer.

However, you will require specific equipment such as hubs or switches to use this cable.

These hubs and switches are far more expensive than conventional telephone connection equipment and can cost hundreds of dollars.

6. Usage

Which cable is best for you depends on your usage and needs? Phone cables are generally used for telephone line connections.

Ethernet network cables are typically used to interconnect computers and network devices such as hubs, routers, switches, etc.

So if you’re someone whose needs are minimum and speed does not matter for you, you can go with the telephone wire, but if you want good speed and stability, you should go with the Ethernet cables.

7. Security

Telephone cable and Ethernet cable are both highly secure. However, some types of network wire are fragile under specific conditions, such as damp, squirrels in forests, trucks with high clearance, etc.

As a result, telephone cabling is more secure than network cabling.

You might also be wondering how much electricity bill they might use? Here you can check this article for the average cost of internet and cable.

Which Is Better Ethernet or Phone Cable?

After reading the above comparison, you might have a clear picture of which wire will suit best for you, but if you’re still confused about which is better, it depends on your need for speed and your available budget.

If you’re more concerned about the speed and reliability of the wire, you should go with the Ethernet cables, for those who are into gaming should prefer this wire.

You can also make connections throughout your house. And if you want a cable to connect small areas and a budget-friendly cable, then phone cables are best for you.

Can A Phone Cable Be Used As an Ethernet Cable?

The answer is No; the CAT3 phone wire is of low quality and is outdated to support modern Ethernet (requires Cat5 or higher). The phone cables have 4 wires, 2 pairs, whereas Ethernet cables have 8 wires, 4 pairs.

cat 3 vs cat 5 vs cat 6
[Image Source: NerdTechy]

So you can see in the image that there are fewer twisted pair wires in CAT 3 Ethernet cable than in CAT 5/5e and CAT 6. So definitely you understand the speed of the Cat 3 is slow [as telephone don’t need high-speed connection].

Also, the connector is different; the phone cables use an RJ11 connector, and Ethernet cables use RJ45 wires, so you cannot connect the phone adapter.

In addition, Ethernet lines and telephone lines have different end connections, so they cannot be interchanged.

Here’s a video you can watch, where this guy is actually converting a phone cable into an Ethernet cable.

Can I Convert the Phone Jack To Ethernet?

Yes, it is possible to convert your phone jack to Ethernet. You will require a DSL modem that enables a computer to connect to the internet.

A telephone line must be connected to the DSL modem to receive and send online signals.

If you want to convert a telephone jack into an Ethernet jack that can be connected to a computer, install a DSL modem in your house using the telephone jack.

Tip: Don’t use a length greater than 10 to 15 feet for the telephone cord, as this weakens the signal passing into the modem.

** My recommendation is not to convert it. Instead, you can buy some cheap but best-quality Ethernet cables on Amazon [click here]. They also have a free return policy.

Is Cat 5 Ethernet Cable a Phone Line?

No, Cat 5 cannot be used for telephones; these cables can only be used for high-speed internet and are not made to use for the telephone.

Can You use Cat 6 Cable for the Telephone?

No, Cat 6 cannot be used for the telephone. These cables can only be used for high-speed internet and are not made to use for the telephone.

So, in summary, I would recommend not to use an Internet Ethernet cable for your Phone line or a Phone cable for your Internet, they both are different, and you might have an issue if you do so.