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Cat6a Cables vs. Cat 6 or Cat5 .... The Data Cable Dilemma

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. There is a whole lot of confusion in the market about which cable is the better one.

All of the cables make use of RJ-45 end. This is something that is plugged into the Ethernet jack that goes in to switches, routers, and your computer. However each cable has its own proper way to install according to the way that suits its particular design. The one notable difference between all these lies in the price. It is estimated that whatever vendor you approach to get these the Cat 6 will cost you around 30 percent higher than Cat 5. Cat6a too is approximately 30 percent more costly than Cat6.

However, there is no single factor that can help you judge for sure that one is better than the other. To be able to tell which cable is superior, there are plenty of different aspects that need to be assessed for each.

Cat 6a , Cat 5 Cat 6 Cat 6a , Cat 5 Cat 6

How Well They Work

Cat6 and Cat6a are designed specifically for Gigabit Ethernet, and several other typical network protocols. Both of these can work on 1000BASE-TX, 100BASE-TX, and 10BASE-T. So how exactly does one gauge the difference between these? It’s easy. You look into the distance and speed for each. Cat6 is noted to perform at 250 MHz. It also comes with a reduced maximum length of 37 to 55 meters, but only when used with 10GBASE T applications.

The Cat6a on the other hand goes up to twice as much as that, recorded to perform at exactly 500 MHz. Obviously this allows for 10GBASE T to be run farther.

The Cat6 is packed with a tighter twist in cables. This is something that allows for two way communication on every pair of wires. Cat5 does not come with this particular feature.

Crosstalk Possibility

Crosstalk occurs when a signal interferes with another signal that is emitting from a different circuit. Nobody wants that. Premium insulation in these cable wires can help prevent this. The attenuation for this was noticed to be a lot lower after the Cat6a cable came out; unlike with the earlier versions like Cat5, crosstalk is lower.

Important Physical Properties

When the first batch of Cat6a cables hit the market in 2008, they were a lot larger than the Cat6 cables we were used to. With that a lot of manufacturers tried their best to tone down the cable size without compromising on any of its features. That being said, it may look like it had a good run in cross fit, it is still the fattest cable out of the lot. Also unlike Cat6, Cat6a has extra twists. And we thought Cat6 had too many of them.

This clearly demands greater bandwidth. All installers believe in this area that Cat6a is better and a smarter choice, something that is there to stay and pave the way for the future. The size of the cable does not matter as much once you see the impressive speed and crosstalk prevention.

When you chose Cat6a cable, do remember a few things as you go.

Unlike Cat6 or Cat5, Cat6a is 50 percent heavier. This means you might have to rethink the number of cables you can fit inside the fancy cable tray you bought. So if you bought the new cable, you might want to look up cable trays with more space capacity as well. Also remember that expert installers recommend that you do not bundle more than 50 Cat6a cables at a given time. Also be smart about cable placement, since the cable Cat6a is the heaviest out of the lot you might have to place it at the bottom of the tray so that it does not crush other small cables.

When Installing Cat6a You Are Going To Need More Testing

Cables like these are capable of speeds higher than 500 MHz, which means that Cat6a could definitely do with more testing than the categories that went by before it. If you are calling in a professional installer you might want to budget extra for tests like far end crosstalk, near end crosstalk, PSAFEXT etc.

Cat6 Comes With 164ft Limitation on 10 Gigabit Network

The Cat 6 came out a little time after the Cat5e did. The cable allows for the ability of 10Gigabit network. During much of the first decade of the 21st century Cat6 was used for the link between switches and routers while Cat5 was used only in workstations.

Cat6 makes use of 23 gauge. You may even notice a piece of plastic in the cable that separates these pairs apart. This is supposedly done to limit crosstalk as much as possible. There is no technical proof of this separator making much of a difference when it comes to performance functionality. The Cat6a also makes use of the 23 gauge, but it is far more thick than the one present in Cat6. That also is in turn a lot thicker than the one available in Cat 5. This could be because of unnecessarily thick plastic that is present next to the wires, and also because of how tightly the wires are wound so as to reveal more copper for every inch.  Cat 6a works with 10 Gigabit for each second, if you view Ethernet with the distance of 328 ft.

Therefore, it is safe to assume that if you are in the market looking for a cable that can work long term, than go with the better performing at full distance cable: that is Cat6a. But if you do not have any cables that extend over 140 or 150 ft, then Cat6 might be the ideal choice for 10 Gigabit Networks.   Cat5e works wonders for a lot of people. There are tons of organizations that prefer placing servers on cloud. Because of this there is little need for internal networking. The only thing that you have to consider then is the speed of the internet service and the cable type.

Cabling, cat5, cat6, cat6a, cloud, Data, data cables, installation, network infastructure, networking, Uncategorized


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