An Overview of Plenum-Rated Cat6 Cable & its Applications

An Overview of Plenum-Rated Cat6 Cable & its Applications

Ca6 cables have always been a talking point among the Ethernet community since their inception. These cables were expensive when launched initially. But over the years their price has drastically come down. Cat6 plenum-rated cables have become a key factor in installations to get higher bandwidth and maximum speed.

In this article, we’ll demystify cat6 cable and its network applications. So, let’s begin. 

What is Category 6 Cable?

Cat6 is a shorter form of the category cat6 plenum Ethernet cable. Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA) have set the standard for this particular cable. This sixth-generation cable consists of four pairs of copper wires. There are eight conductors in total in this cable. The maximum speed of this cable is 10Gbps. The data transfer rate is 550MHz.

The highlighting features of this cable are its outer jacket, internal structure, and frequency. We’ll talk about those in this article.

Difference Between Cat5 & Cat6

Category 6 cables are relatively newer cables. Unlike category 5 cables, cat6 can deliver data at a higher speed. This cable supports a 10Gbps data transfer rate which is much faster than the older categories. This cable meets all the modern requirements for data transfer applications in all sorts of data centers like hospitals, government websites, and schools.

The internal structure of the cat6 cable has 23AWG copper wire. There are eight wires in total twisted together in four pairs. Not only that, but this cable also has a thicker jacket as compared to cat5. These features provide better resistance against all sorts of crosstalk and other data leakage.

Crosstalk is a phenomenon that occurs when signals from two passing cables mix. This can affect the integrity of your data packages. Although cat6 seems like a pricy option to many people, in the long run, you’ll get the complete value for your money.

Backward Compatibility

Both cat5 and cat6 utilize the same end piece. These cables plug into the same port. The main difference lies in their capabilities as well as the materials that manufacturers use. All the Ethernet cables have the same end with an RJ45 connector. You can plug them into any computer, router, switch, and other devices.

Cat6 is backward compatible. You can use it for older categories such as cat5e and cat5. This quality makes the cat6 plenum-rated cable the best in business.

Length of Cat6 Cable

A single run of cat6 Ethernet cable works best at a length of 100 meters. If you are running it longer than this distance, you might get some performance issues like connectivity issues and an effect on performance. The maximum length of the cat6 cable consists of 90 meters between the patch panel and the wall jack. If you are looking to get 10GBASE-T, your cable should not exceed the 55-meter mark.

Typical Cat6 Applications

Most installers use cat6 1000ft cable with fiber optics at the backbone of any network. Even though this cable has a big price tag, the performance outweighs the price of cat6 cable. Unlike cat5e or cat5, this cable is a good fit for 60W and 90W Power over Ethernet applications. Since it has the potential for higher speed and better compatibility, cat6 dominates domestic and commercial networks as the cable of choice. 

Cat6 Cable Shielded vs Unshielded

The basic difference between shielded and unshielded cable is a foil or a mesh around the twisted pairs of the cable. An unshielded cable, the wires are twisted together to reduce crosstalk. Whereas the shielded cable has a mesh around those twisted pairs to avoid electromagnetic interference or EMI. This type of cable is ideal for high-speed data centers with 10GBASE-T speed. These higher-speed networks are more sensitive to EMI.

In a nutshell, cat6 unshielded is ideal for your computer and wall, and shielded cat6 is good to go for big data centers. 

Additional Cat6 Cable Products

If you are looking to get the maximum performance out of your Ethernet cable, there are certain products you should use with your Ethernet cable.

Patch panels – this product is a must-have for your network. Cat6 patch panels come with various port options. These panels exceed the TIA-568 Category 6 standards. They also have a configuration for T568A/B. 

Keystone jacks – these jacks are also known as the Rj45 connectors. This product is standard for terminating and connecting Ethernet cables. These jacks are an integral part of any high-speed network. 

Rj45 Plug – you can use these plugs to terminate your Ethernet cable to connect your cable to keystone jacks and other RJ45 inserts. These plugs come in a variety of selections. You can choose according to your networking needs.

Cat6 plenum-rated cables can be a valuable addition to your network technology. Though they seem pricey we can assure you that you’ll get the complete value for your money.


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