We often are asked by a number of business owners and IT stakeholders if they should use Cat 6 or Cat 6a for new data cabling installations or upgrades. We feel there is a lot of confusion amongst users and we need to clear some myths regarding the optimal use of these data cables.
First of all both Cat6 and Cat 6A are 10 Gbps bandwidth. However, there is a limitation on the distance for both the cables. While Cat 6 A can carry 10 Gbps of data up to a distance of 90 m, Cat 6 or Category 6 Cable can carry 10 Gbps data up to a length of 30 to 55 m. For Cat 6A to carry 10 Gbps, the cabling has to be literally perfect without any major bends or kinks.
Cat 6A is better immune to crosstalk due to the tighter winding of the cable between themselves. Cat6 A is much thicker than Cat 6 Cable and therefore is relatively harder to install and their price can be double that of cat six cables. As per our recommendation, if you’re cables for new installations are not over 150 feet, you can easily go with Cat 6 cable as it will suffice your requirement for 10 Gb network.
Category 6 A cable operates at 500 MHz which is twice the frequency of 250 MHz operated by Cat 6 cable. It is important to mention that category 6 cables are capable of achieving 10 GB per second speed at a shorter distance of up to 50 m. Category 6A cables are an enhanced version of Cat 6 cables as they have better shielding and protection against the alien crosstalk.
Here is the summary:
- Cat6 Cables are capable of 10 GB output but for shorter distances.
- If your cable runs are with 50 feet and you need 10GB output, go with Cat6 cables. If however, your network is susceptible to crosstalk or EMI, go with Cat 6A.
- Cat6A cables are expensive and hard to install. Their price is almost double that Cat6 cables.
- Cat5e: is capable of Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters
- Cat6 is capable of Gigabit Ethernet up to 90 meters while 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 55 meters
- Cat6a is capable of 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters