What is a Cat6 Ethernet Cable?
Discussion on Ethernet Cable is incomplete without mentioning Cat6. Undoubtedly, it’s a basic requirement for new installations to support Gigabit network applications and support bandwidths of up to 250MHz.
Years ago, Cat6 was not used by installers because of cost. It was said that Cat6 Ethernet cables are the most expensive option for installers. But, today, the cost of the cable has been reduced substantially. It’s wholeheartedly accepted in the industry, offering several benefits.
In this post, we will discuss the Cat6 Ethernet cable in a bit more detail.
Cat6 Ethernet cable is the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet cabling, consisting of four twisted pairs. The cable is terminated by an RJ45 or on a path or a keystone jack. The maximum speed of the Cat6 Ethernet cable is 10Gbps.
How is Cat6 Ethernet cable used?
As a cost-effective option, the Cat6 is widely used for smart home installations, enterprise networks, and electronic labs. The performance of the cable is more stringent, enabling higher speeds and more robust data transfer.
Administrators use Cat6 Ethernet cables at the network’s backbone in conjunction with fiber optic. The potential for better speeds and less crosstalk of Cat6 dominate new enterprise and home networks.
As Cat6 is more reliable at longer distances, it’s a good fit for the wave of 60W and 90W Power over Ethernet technologies. Surprisingly, these technologies are currently on the market.
What are the different types of Cat6 Ethernet cables?
The Cat6 Ethernet cable is classified into different types based on different specifications:
- Shielding type- Shielded and unshielded Cat6
- Copper conductor- Solid and stranded Cat6
- Cable jacket rating- CM, CMR, and CMP Cat6
Shielded and unshielded Cat6 Ethernet Cables
Also known as UTP Cat6, the unshielded cable comes with twisted wires that are twisted together to reduce noise and crosstalk. On the other hand, the shielded Cat6 is a twisted pair cable that is confined in a foil mesh shield, guarding the cable against electromagnetic interference (EMI).
The shielded Cat6 Ethernet cable is used for high-speed networks such as data centers. In these data centers, 10GBase-T networks are used. In simple words, the shielded Cat6 Ethernet cable is used in areas with high interference and running cables outdoors or inside walls, whereas the unshielded Cat6 is used between your computer and the wall.
Solid and stranded Cat6 Ethernet Cables
A single piece of copper is used in solid cable for the electrical conductor. It isn’t very flexible but durable. Due to durability, the solid cable is ideal for permanent installations as well as outdoor and indoor walls.
On the other hand, the stranded cable uses a series of copper cables twisted together and is very flexible. It can be used at your desk or anywhere you move the cable around often. It’s said that stranded cable has high attenuation. So, you should keep the cable short to lower the chance of introducing even more attenuation into the system. The better lengths for stranded cables are under 6 meters.
Commonly, the stranded cable is used for connecting workstation network interface cards (NICs) and outlets or between concentrators and patch panels, hubs, and other rack-mounted equipment.
CM, CMR, and CMP Cat6 Ethernet cables
Cat6 CM cable generally has minimum jacket ratings of Ethernet cables, making them appropriate for installation inside a residence or a single-story commercial building. Cat6 CMR cable is referred to as “Riser-rated Cable”. The design of the cable is such that it prevents fires from spreading between floors through risers or vertical shafts.
Cat6 CMP cable is very different from CM and CMP cables. It is referred to as “Plenum-rated Cable”. The jacket material of the CMP cable retards the spread of flames and does not give off much smoke or toxic gas when burned. So, it is ideal for plenum spaces where the building’s air ducts are connected for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. For example, you will find Cat6 CMP cable in raised floors and drop ceilings.
What’s the difference between Cat6 and Cat5e?
Cat6 replaced Cat5e. People use Cat5e over Cat6 Ethernet cable only because of the cost.
The Cat6 Ethernet cable supports speeds up to 10 gigabits at shorter distances of 165 feet or less, meeting modern expectations for massive data transfer applications in deployments.
Compared to Cat5e, the Cat6 Ethernet cable offers more tightly wound wire pairs. The pairs are typically a spline, thicker copper conductors, and a thicker cable jacket than Cat5e. Because of these features, the Cat6 has better resistance to interior cable noise, which is also known as crosstalk. Other than this, the Cat6’s thicker sheath protects cable to cable (alien) crosstalk (AXT).
How compatible is Cat6 with Cat5e Ethernet cable?
Both Cat6 and Cat5e utilize the same end piece, meaning they can be plugged into the same ports. The difference is in their capabilities, as well as the methods and materials used to manufacture them. You can plug both Ethernet cables into any Ethernet jack on a computer, router, PoE switch, or other devices.
What’s the maximum supported bandwidth of Cat6 at a given distance?
When deploying NBASE-T switching technologies, the Cat6 Ethernet cable runs up to 5Gbps standard for up to 100 meters. For shorter distance runs, the Cat6 supports up to 10 gigabits up to 165 feet. It is desirable in environments where large data transfer is required such as hospitals, school districts, and data centers.
This is a standard consideration. Just keep in mind that each installation is different and performance should be certified by qualified professionals along with the documented results.
This is what the Cat6 Ethernet cable is. To know more, please connect with us via WhatsApp at +971585811786.