The Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) established the standards and performance specifications for Category 6 (CAT6) Ethernet cables and connectivity. The CAT6 cable standard specifies a CAT6 cabling system should support Gigabit Ethernet data rates of 1 Gigabit per second up to 250 megahertz (MHz) and a Category 6A (CAT6A) system can accommodate 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 500 MHz.
Earlier generations of Ethernet, known as Fast Ethernet, are Category 5 (CAT5) and Category 5e (CAT5e). They can support a maximum frequency of up to 100 MHz. However, CAT5e Ethernet complies to more stringent standards specified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and has completely replaced its predecessor. While CAT5e cablefeatures 1.5 to 2 twists per cm, CAT6 cables are more tightly wound and feature 2 or more twists per cm.
A single CAT6A and CAT6 cable can both support 10 Gigabit Ethernet. However, CAT6A cable has improved alien crosstalk characteristics and can double the data transmission bandwidth, from 250 to 500 MHz. CAT6A and CAT6 can run 10 Gigabit Ethernet distances of up to 328 and 164 feet respectively. CAT6A cable tends to cost more and is much heavier and bulkier. Both cables use a four-wire pair signaling scheme to achieve the necessary data rates.
The trend in technology is leaning towards the greater use of bandwidth. Upgrading to a CAT6A and CAT6 cabling system can ensure transmission speed and sustained performance for processing needs. For business offices and data centers, investing into a higher-grade system will increase the network's capacity and performance.
Cat 6 cables came out only a few years after Cat 5e. This cable gave the ability to have a 10 Gigabit network. For much of the 2000's, Cat 5e was run to the workstations and Cat 6 was run as a backbone from router to switches. However, the 10 Gigabit network on Cat 6 cables is limited to 164 ft., including patch cables. After that distance, its ultimate speed is the same as cat 5e, i.e. 1 Gigabit.
Cat 6a, while also being 23 gauge, is considerably thicker then Cat 6, which in turn is considerably thicker then Cat 5. Partly, this is due to the extra-thick plastic around the wires themselves, and partly due to the tighter winding of the pairs themselves, creating more copper per inch. Cat 6a will do 10 Gigabit per second networking for the full distance of Ethernet (328 ft.) Cat 6a also reduces the crosstalk among the pairs, which further reduces the delay in the cables.
Ultimately all three cables will use an RJ-45 end, which will be able to plug into the same Ethernet jack on your computer, routers, and switches. Each has its proper place, and application, which best suits its design. The first most notable difference from one to the other is price. For budgeting purposes, and for the sake of this discussion, plan on Cat 6 costing roughly 30% more then cat 5e, and Cat 6A 40% more than Cat 6. Plenum adds about 40% over non-plenum, and shielded cabling (STP) also adds roughly 30-40% more over unshielded (UTP) cabling.
Milestone has a full staff of highly skilled and well trained technicians to install all of your copper cabling infrastructure whether you require cat5e, cat6 or cat6A cabling. Each cable is tested and certified so you know that your copper cabling infrastructure is working at optimal levels at all times.
Solutions that include music and paging systems, CCTV and security systems, and access control and sound masking systems.
We employ a full-time team of highly trained technicians to install and certify cables per TIA/EIA standards and follow BICSI Guidelines to ensure consistent performance from your installed cabling infrastructure. We can source, install, de-install and maintain all of your structured cabling needs and requirements so you can concentrate on doing what you do best…..running your business.