If you administer a Local Area Network (LAN), you probably know the hassles of maintaining the old networking cables. You have to constantly troubleshoot the ethernet cables to diagnose faults and errors. You are always uncertain when a cable will give up and you will have to replace it.
Well, we all have been there. But fortunately, you can get rid of all those hassles once and for all by getting the Cat6a ethernet cables for your network. Cat6a is a durable, high-performing, and affordable ethernet cable that require minimum to no maintenance. Cat6a cables are also easy to use and backward compatible with the Cat6 and 5e cables.
Let’s explore why upgrading your network with the Cat6a ethernet cable is a great idea.
Cat6a Ethernet Cable
Cat6a Ethernet Cable is the 6th augmented category of ethernet cables. It is a twisted-pair cable designed for commercial and residential networks with a high-performance requirement.
Cat6a cable is produced in only plenum and riser jackets with bare copper conductors to ensure its premium quality.
Shielded vs Unshielded Cat6a
When you are upgrading your network with the CAt6a cable, you will have to choose between the shielded and unshielded Cat6a.
The shielded (STP) Cat6a cable features extra layers of protection to keep the EMI and external noise at a minimum. Shielding is either a metal foil (usually aluminum) or a braided wire mesh. It can be both as well. So, this added layer of protection either reflects or absorbs the incoming and outgoing interferences. Consequently, your network will function better and the difference will be noticeable. Particularly over long distances. If you are planning to run the cables at long distances, be sure to get the shielded Cat6a cables.
The cost of shielded cables is higher and is more difficult to install as compared to unshielded ones.
Unshielded (UTP) Cat6a cables lack this added protection against EMI and external noise. This lack of shielding will not affect the performance of the cable if the network is thin. Meaning in networks where there aren’t too many cables, shielded Cat6a isn’t required. But in business networks, particularly in data centers, and server rooms, you must use the shielded Cat6a ethernet cables.
UTP Cat6a cables are more affordable as compared to the shielded ones and fairly easy to install as well. The reason behind this is that shielding material underneath the cable jacket adds to the cost of the cable and also makes it stiffer – which ultimately makes it difficult to install.
Cat6a ethernet cable can be used for the following ethernet applications: 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet, 1000BASE-T (IEEE802.3), 100VG-AnyLAN (IEEE802.12), 750 MHz Broadband Video Voice, T1, ISDN 155/ 622 Mbps ATM PoE (Power over Ethernet), and indoor voice, data, video, and security networking applications in general.
Speed and Bandwidth
Speed and bandwidth are without a doubt the most important feature of an ethernet cable. Get whichever network cable you want, but if it does not provide the necessary speed and frequency, it is useless. Isn’t it?
This is where the Cat6a cable comes in. It offers a blazing 10 GBit/s data transfer speed of over 100 meters. The bandwidth capacity of this cable is quite voluminous too; at 750 MHz.
Upgrade your LAN network with the Cat6a cable and you can use the 10G Ethernet effortlessly. This cable will future-proof your network.
The Cat6a cable core features 23 AWG pure copper conductors: 8 in total, twisted into 4 tight pairs. Its jacketing material is either plenum-rated or riser-rated. Both types of jackets have their use and are quite durable.
You can pull the cable without worrying about damaging it. Its plenum and riser jackets are built to last.
The Cat6a plenum is particularly durable compared to its riser counterpart. Originally designed for indoor horizontal runs, it can also be used outdoors. The plenum jacket is thick and made from outstanding materials which can withstand high temperatures, humidity, and other uncertain weather conditions. This jacket gives the Cat6a plenum the durability it needs to properly function in indoor and outdoor spaces.
The riser-rated Cat6a cable is quite durable too. But you cannot use it in indoor open spaces because of fire-safety reasons.
Easy to Install
Cat6a cable is effortless to install. Since it comes with bare copper conductors, it is malleable and ductile. You can twist it, turn it, and pull it without causing it any problem.
Its flexibility makes it the most popular among network installers. Terminating its 23 AWG wires is just as simple as running it.
Pertinent to mention here is the fact that its plenum jacket can make it a little tricky to pull through indoor spaces. Because the plenum cable jacket is thicker than the riser jacket, you will need a little more expertise to get it through tight ducts.
Ethernet cables lose data packets regularly in transmission which has a major effect on their performance. The more the cable loses data packets, the less efficient it becomes. Bare copper Cat6a cable in this regard is a gem. It’s highly efficient and ideal for high-performance applications.
It keeps the EMI (electromagnetic interference) and external noise at a minimum which significantly improves its performance. With it, you will be able to rely comfortably on the local area network. Even if you use it for power over ethernet, the Cat6 Cable will not overheat. It is designed with such high-performance applications in mind.
Cat6a cable is backward compatible. Meaning that you can use it with the previous category ethernet cables. If you have Cat6 or Cat5e ethernet cables already installed in your network, you can pair this cable with them.
It is backward compatible because its speed and performance specifications are far greater than its preceding counterparts: cat5e and cat6.
It is terminated in RJ45 connectors and Keystone Jacks with 23 and 24 AWG gauges. Moreover, terminating the cable is fairly simple because of 1.) the better quality of connectors and jacks and 2.) copper cables are easy to terminate compared to CCA.
In a nutshell, the Cat6a ethernet cable is a high-performing solution for LAN networks. Its cutting-edge specifications can take any wired LAN network to another level of efficiency and functionality. Additionally, it is affordable for the value it provides.
What is the difference between Cat6 and Cat6a?
The Cat6 cable has a data transfer speed of up to 1 GBit/s over 100 meters whereas the Cat6a has 10 GBit/s. Bandwidth capacities of both cables are also different: Cat6 350 MHz, 6a 550 MHz. Moreover, the Cat6a Cable is produced in only bare copper conductors whereas the Cat6 is available in both copper and copper-clad aluminum conductors.
Is Cat7 better than 6a?
Both Cat7 and Cat6a cables have different uses. Cat7 cable is designed only for data centers and server rooms whereas the Cat6a cable is more versatile. It can be used in residential buildings as well as in commercial and data centers, server rooms, etc.
Does Cat6a require special connectors?
No, it can be terminated in the 8p8c RJ45 connectors like all the other twisted-pair ethernet cables. But be sure to get the compatible 23 or 24 AWG connectors. Also, it can be terminated as per the T568 A or T568 B wiring config.
Is it worth upgrading from Cat6 to Cat6a?
Yes. Upgrade now with these affordable, high-performing, and easy-to-install Cat6a ethernet cables for better speed, efficiency, and minimum interference.