Difference between internet speed and cable specification speed??

Hello! I am new to this forum and the world of networking and I am super confused. I know that there are many categories for a copper wire. The most popular categories right now are 5, 5e and 6. However, I am confused about the specification of those categories. For example, 1000Base T Ethernet is generally used for over category 5 or high UTP cable.

1) Does 1000Base T mean that the UTP cable will send and receive data at a speed of 1GBPS?
2) If my internet access plan offers a speed of 500mbps download speed and 500mbps upload speed, is there any need to have a cable that supports 1GBPS? How are the isp and the cable specification (1000Base T) link together?
3) What do you mean by ethernet? Is it a cable or a protocol?
4) Ethernet switches come in 10/100 or 10/100/1000 models. What do you mean by " 10/100 " "100/1000"?
Reply to Tian_1
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  1. Best answer
    #1 1000BaseT could receive data at 1Gbps, but almost all 1000BaseT ports also work at 100Mbit and 10Mibt -- Usually referred to as 10/100/1000 .
    #2 Yes. From my answer above you see that the only "speed" choices for the network ports are 10/100/1000. To achieve 500Mbit your ports will have to physically work at 1000.
    Any ISP above 85Mbit (approximately) require 1000BaseT physical connection. How does that work? Your 500Mbit connection is broken into a series of ethernet packets. Each packet can be received and transmitted at different physical speeds. There will just be idle time between packets on the 1000 side.
    #3 Ethernet is a set of standards. TCP, UDP, IP, PHY ... Lots of stuff make up "ethernet"
    #4 See #1 answer.
    Reply to kanewolf
  2. To add to the above comments. The key to understanding how different speeds work is to realize there are memory buffers in the device. If for example you have 1 cable at 100m and second at 1g the traffic does not actually go directly between the cables. The traffic goes from say the 100m port into a memory buffer, after the complete packet is received it is copied or moved into a buffer for the 1g port. It is then transmitted at 1g speed out of this buffer. So the 100m port always runs at 100m and the 1g port always runs at 1g. Now the risk you take is if for example the data was going from the 1g port to the 100m port. The end devices can hold a number of packets but there is a limit and when the buffer on the 100m port gets full you get data loss. This is not a huge problem though because the buffers are pretty big.
    Reply to bill001g
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