Cisco Multi Gigabit Ethernet Technology / NBase-T Technology and NBase-T Alliance

New wireless standard – 802.11ac supports upto 6.8 Gbps wireless speed.

Mostly cables used between wireless access points and switches are Cat5e, which are limited to 1Gbps speed. Because of this, we cannot get full advantage of  802.11ac (Wave 2) and subsequent technologies without upgrading the cabling infrastructure.

We can see this situation in following diagram.


This creates a market need for supporting speeds that are faster than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e cables. So, the solution for this situation is NBase-T technology.

N-BaseT - 2

NBase-T technology work in conjunction with standards bodies to standardise speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e.

Following standards are used for wireless :

Traditional –

802.11a, 802.11b         > 11 Mbps

802.11g                        > 54 Mbps

Currently using –

802.11n                        > 450 Mbps

802.11ac (wave 1)       > 1 Gbps

802.11ac (wave 2)       > 3.5 Gbps / 6.8 Gbps

Future –

10 Gbps / 100 Gbps

The benefits of Multi Gigabit Ethernet Technology can be grouped into three different areas:

  • Multiple speeds: Cisco MultiGigabit technology supports auto-negotiation of multiple speeds on switch ports. The supported speeds are 100 Mbps, 1 Gbps, 2.5 Gbps, and 5 Gbps on Cat 5e cable and up to 10 Gbps over Cat 6a cabling.
  • Cable type: The technology supports a wide range of cable types including Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6a or above.
  • POE power: The technology supports POE (15.4W), POE+ (30W), and UPOE (60W) for all the supported speeds and cable types.

The Cable types and Speeds supported with Cisco MultiGigabit Ethernet Technology :

Cable Type 1G 2.5 Gbps 5 Gbps 10 Gbps
Cat 5e ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ NA
Cat 6 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ (55m)
Cat 6a ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️

➔ For Detailed comparison check below chart from




4 thoughts on “Cisco Multi Gigabit Ethernet Technology / NBase-T Technology and NBase-T Alliance

    • Vaibhav i see there i auto-negotiation happening on the interfaces but if the cable connected on the interface is not capable to take the traffic of more that 100 MB then how will this work…..

      “not a question just a thought….”


      • Hi Nilesh,

        Cat5e cable supports upto 1Gbps and Cat 5 is limited to only 100 Mbps.

        But when you use MultiGig switch, then the same “Cat5e” cable can support upto 5 Gbps using N-BaseT technology.



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