Cat6 VS Cat6e

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cat6 vs cat6a


The infrastructure of CAT6 cabling offers a number of advantages and benefits in comparison to CAT5E cabling. CAT6 was initially approximately fifty percent more expensive than CAT5E, which rendered it unaffordable for a number of different installations when it was first made available. However, over the course of a number of years, CAT6 prices have fallen by a sizeable amount, bringing them nearly in line with those of competing technologies. In addition, CAT6 is superior to CAT5E in terms of both the amount of available bandwidth and the maximum data transfer rate it can support. As a result, CAT6 has evolved into the fundamental requirement for all brand new cable installations. In addition to having the capacity to support network speeds of 1 Gbps, CAT6 also has the ability to support data rates that are 10 times higher. Nevertheless, 10Gbps support is only available over shorter distances ranging from 37 to 55 metres.


The maximum data transfer rate that can be supported by CAT6A is 10Gbps, and the maximum bandwidth that can be supported is 500MHz. In order to reduce the amount of crosstalk that occurs, CAT6A cables have additional twists that are both tighter and more numerous. CAT6A is also compatible with CAT6 and CAT5E; however, speeds are always limited and can perform to the lowest category of cable or connector that is installed within the link. CAT6A is also backward compatible with CAT6. Because it is considered to be a cable that can withstand changes in technology in the years to come, CAT6A is rapidly becoming the most cost-effective solution. Components rated CAT6A are used in Class EA networks, as described by ISO/IEC 11801 and TIA/EIA 568 respectively.

The actual size and weight of the cable is considered to be one of the perceived disadvantages of the CAT6A standard. When it was first introduced in 2008, CAT6A had a size that was 50 percent more expansive. Since then, cable sizes have been cut down by 10%, making them more compact. Because of the additional weight, the number of cables that can be stored in a cable tray and the locations in which they can be stored are both reduced. Because of this, the size of the bundle can be reduced while the cable tray and conduits can be increased. The additional space is necessary because the cable bend radius needs to be accommodated within the cable tray, patch panel, and behind wall outlets respectively.

In addition, it was found that the termination procedures and times were problematic for CAT6A installations. New modular jacks and outlets, on the other hand, can be terminated in approximately two to three minutes, which has resulted in a reduction in both the time and cost required for installation.

The ability to future-proof the network is one of the strongest arguments in favour of installing CAT6A infrastructure at this time. Because of this, CAT6A should be taken into consideration as an alternative whenever the expected lifespan of a replacement cabling system is five years or more. On the other hand, if the lifetime of the network is expected to be at least ten years in the future, CAT6A seems to be the optimal choice for the solution.

When contemplating the use of CAT6A components within a Class EA network with 10Gbps throughput, it is important to take into account the following factors:

CAT6A is strongly recommended for use in brand new installations in the healthcare industry.

CAT6A is strongly recommended for use in brand new installations in the Educational Sector.

The performance of Power over Ethernet is improved with the use of CAT6A. (PoE)

CAT6A is compatible with wireless systems that think 10Gig is sufficient.

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CAT6A – Additional considerations to take into account

Comparing Unshielded and Shielded Cat 6a

The final consumers even have the option of selecting either a shielded or an unshielded solution to meet their needs. A CAT6A cable that has been shielded will typically have an outer foil shield surrounding each pair of copper conductors or all 4 copper conductors. In addition, modular jacks, outlets, and patch panels all have a metal housing that wraps around them to provide additional protection from damage. Each potential solution has a role to play, in addition to presenting its own distinct set of benefits.

There is a wide variety of CAT6A cable available on the market today. The terms F/UTP (shielded) and U/UTP (unshielded) are frequently used to refer to shielded and unshielded cables, respectively.

The initial letters denote some kind of general shield, whereas the remaining letters denote protecting on each pair and, consequently, the balanced element.

If a cable is labelled CAT6A U/UTP, it indicates that it has four unshielded twisted pairs but no outer shielding. If a cable is labelled CAT6A F/UTP, it indicates that it has four twisted pairs that are unshielded. On the other hand, it has a protective outer foil layer. Therefore, this is typically a cable that is shielded. There is also something called CAT6A S/FTP cable, which stands for “screened/foiled twisted pair.” This type of cable is normally a CAT7 cable, but it has four pairs that are shielded individually and an outer screen braid that surrounds all four pairs.

It’s possible that a CAT6A U/FTP cable is one of the most recent products to be added to the lineup of CAT6A shielded cables. Instead of having an outer foil shield, this particular cable configuration has each of the four pairs individually shielded. These cable’s general test results and performance have been quite impressive overall.

Additional advantages of a solution based on shielded CAT 6A cables

Defends against the effects of ANEXT

An improvement over the unshielded CAT6A variety; provides more headroom across a wider range of test parameters

Reduces EMI and RFI, which is advantageous for both industrial and healthcare networks.

The amount of time necessary to terminate shielded components has decreased over the course of time. In the past, shielded products required significantly more time to install. However, installation time has been cut down thanks to die-cast metal jacks that don’t require any special bonding to the shield. This has brought the installation time for UTP and STP up to the same level.

potential for a three-decibel (dB) improvement in RL


Up to 328 feet of support for speeds of 10, 100, and 1000 megabits per second (Mbp/s) (100 meters)

Constructed with a total of eight conductors made of copper, which are then twisted into four pairs.

Finished according to the requirements of the TIA 568A or B code

Have jackets made for various installation needs (e.g., riser-rated)

Have what is called a spline, which is a cross-shaped skeleton made of plastic and placed inside to keep the pairs apart.

are frequently unprotected or protected by shields


Cat6A cable is formed and terminated to much more precise standards than its predecessor, Cat6 cable. It would appear from this that the copper conductors are twisted more tightly. This requires patch panels, wall jacks, and RJ45 connectors with a higher standard of specifications.

The speed of a Cat6A connection must be at least 500 MHz. This enables a maximum transmission distance of 328 feet at 10 Gbp/s (Gigabits per second) (100 meters). Nevertheless, the maximum speed of a cat6 connection is 250 MHz. As a result, it can only support 10 Gbp/s to a distance of 165 feet (55 metres) under ideal conditions and significantly less in environments with heavy cross talk.

Conductors and jackets of Cat6A cable typically consist of a more substantial amount of copper. Because of this, installation will be more difficult, which will result in an increase in cost.

Equipment Requirements:

The requirements for the cable are frequently determined by the equipment that is already installed or that is scheduled to be installed in the not too distant future. Ethernet data cable speeds of 10 MBp/s to 1 Gbp/s (1000 Mbp/s) will be supported by approximately 99 percent of all network equipment. Assess the capabilities of the equipment you currently have. Does any of the equipment that you require or perhaps even support 10 Gbp/s, which is equivalent to 10,000 Mbp/s? Are there any plans to upgrade your equipment in order to take advantage of this higher speed? If the answer to the question is “yes,” then you should use cabling of the Cat6A variety. In most situations, the answer is “no.” However, in this scenario, upgrading to Cat6A speed cable will not be of any use to you, despite the fact that it will be significantly more expensive.

Installation that is both cheap and easy:

The expense of installing Cat6A cable is very different from the expense of installing Cat6 cable. When installing Cat6A cable to achieve a speed of 10 Gbp/s, the increase in cost is not solely due to the cost of the cabling. Because of the necessity for higher performance switches and additional networking hardware, additional costs have been incurred. One component of the network infrastructure, like the cable, cannot be upgraded to meet the requirements of the Cat6A standard but does offer faster speeds. This will remain the case until the infrastructure of the entire network is upgraded.

The installation of Cat6A cable results in an increase in both the material and labour costs of the project. Cat6A cable is more rigid and heavier than its predecessor, Cat6 cable. In order to properly terminate it, additional attention to detail is required. If you do not have the in-house expertise required to properly install Cat6A cabling, it is recommended that you hire a network cabling contractor.

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Enhancements to the Performance:

Although Cat6a does not increase the amount of speed or data that is transmitted — it still transmits up to 10 Gbps — it does double the bandwidth frequency at which data is transmitted, going from 250 MHz (Cat6) to 500 MHz. This is a significant improvement over Cat6, which only transmitted up to 250 MHz. This enables more reliable data transmission, even across greater distances. These accomplishments are made possible by the Cat6a standard, which accomplishes them by further twisting the twisted wire pairs around an equally twisted and versatile plastic support.


The most recent iteration of network cables are constructed from tightly twisted pairs of copper wires, with each cable containing anywhere from four to ten individual pairs. Data transmission takes place over these wires; however, cable and interference can pose challenges to the process of transmitting information. Both issues can be resolved, or at the very least, reliability can be improved, by using wire pairs that are more tightly woven, which is why one of the most significant differences between older and newer versions of coaxial cable typically boils down to the wiring.

Cat6 cables were manufactured in accordance with a stricter standard than those used in the production of earlier iterations of Ethernet cables in order to enable data transfer rates of up to 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps). This higher standard, which is known as the 10GBASE-T standard, was also implemented to improve the signal-to-noise (interference caused within the cable itself and, as a result, the peripherals it is connected to) and crosstalk ratios (interference caused by the presence of other nearby cables).

Maximum Lengths:

The maximum lengths that Cat6 cables can be are heavily dependent on the network speeds and the crosstalk conditions. For example, in lower speed networks such as 10, 100, or 1,000 megabit systems (the 10/100/1000BASE-T standards), the maximum cable length is 100 metres (330 feet), with approximately 90% of that length being used to transmit data between systems and the remaining 10% being used for the connection itself. In higher speed networks, the maximum cable length is 1,000 metres (3,280 feet). On the other hand, the maximum length of the Cat6 cable that can be used in higher-speed 10 gigabit (10GBASE-T) networks when crosstalk conditions are ideal is 55 metres (165 feet). Nevertheless, the distance is only 33 metres (110 feet) when there is a high possibility of crosstalk, such as when several cables are bundled tightly together in one location.

Cat6a cables take advantage of their higher standards by enabling full 10GBASE-T transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbps, with a signal bandwidth of 500MHz, over a distance of up to 100 metres (330 feet).

After installation, the data transmission speeds have to be subjected to an electrical test in order to determine the level of crosstalk present in either coaxial cable.


The Cat6a cable is noticeably heavier and more cumbersome than the Cat6 cable due to the addition of a central column support and ubiquitous shielding. As a direct consequence of this, cable trays are not going to be able to store nearly as many Cat6a cables as they can store Cat6 cables.

Ethernet cables may have a sturdy appearance on the outside, but their inner workings are actually quite fragile. In other words, it is essential to avoid bending the cables an excessive amount, as doing so will damage the wiring and result in a decrease in the quality of the performance. The smallest radius that can be bent into a cable without causing any damage is referred to as the bend radius. When the bend radius is smaller, the cable can be bent more easily, which indicates that it has a greater degree of flexibility. The cable diameter is approximately multiplied by four to arrive at the bend radius. Cat6a cables are more cumbersome than Cat6 cables, so they take up more space and have a larger bend radius.

Table of Differences Between Cat6 and Cat6a




cat6 cat6a

Frequency 0 – 250 MHz (minimum); 500 MHz maximum Up to 500 MHz

The maximum length of a cable should not exceed one hundred metres for slower network speeds (up to one thousand Mbps), but it should be shorter for faster network speeds over shorter distances. For Gigabit Ethernet, the maximum distance is 55 metres, with 33 metres being the maximum distance in high crosstalk conditions. 100 metres in any and all systems and under any and all conditions for gigabit Ethernet.

Theoretical Maximum Speed 10 Gigabits per second over a cable length of 33-55 metres (110-165 feet) 10 Gigabits per second over a cable length of 100 metres (330 feet)

Conductors with standard gauges include 22-24 AWG wire and 16-20 AWG wire.

Connectors RJ45 (also known as 8P8C) RJ45 Connectors (aka 8P8C)

Compatible with the Mobile Phone, Yes, Yes

Yes, this item is compatible with the office network.

Compatible for Use on a Private Network YES YES

No and yes, if it applies to the data centre.

Supported Networks Include 1000BASE-TX and 10GBASE

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User Questions:

1.Should I invest in CAT 6 or Cat6A cables?

Cat6a, also known as Category 6 Augmented, is the best option to go with if you want to ensure that your Gigabit Ethernet network will be successful over the long term. It is true that it is more expensive than Cat5e or Cat6, but the hardware that you will be connecting to your network will only become more advanced, not less so, as the technological landscape evolves.

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2. Which is superior for gaming: Cat6 or Cat6A cables?

Cat7 cables are typically not any better than Cat6a cables, and they do not use the header connections that are readily available on the majority of gaming PCs and consoles. Cat5e versus Cat6 Ethernet cables are at the centre of an important debate when it comes to gaming because of their superior ease of use. and possibly Cat6A if you do a significant amount of data transfers that are particularly heavy.

3. Is the Cat6A cable thicker than the Cat6 cable?

Cat6 and Cat6a cables are differentiated from one another by identifiers that are printed on the cable jacket itself. These identifiers read “Category 6” and “Category 6a,” respectively. Cat6a cables can be easily distinguished from Cat6 cables by their noticeably greater thickness and volume. This is another easy way to differentiate the two types of cables.

4. Which is better for a home network: Cat6 or Cat6a?

5. Which is better for a small home: Cat6 or Cat6a?