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How to Determine Good Cat6 Cables

Cat6 cables are excellent cables that are meant for installation in plenum, riser, outdoor, and underground spaces for robust connectivity purposes. So let’s dive a bit deeper to explore types of Cat6 Ethernet Cable, their conductors, data transfer rates, and other magnificent features.

Cat6 Cable: Data Transfer Speed

The Bulk Cat6 cable renders a maximum data transfer speed of up to 10 Gigabits per second for cable runs up to 50 meters or 164 feet. Likewise, the Cat6 1000ft cable renders a minimum data transfer rate of up to 1 Gigabits Per Second if the cable run is up to 100 meters or 328 feet.

These lightning-fast data transfer rates are supported by 550 MHz bandwidth. It means that a standard Cat6 1000ft can support applications such as Supports PoE, PoE++, and PoE+.

Cat6 Cable Conductors 

The 6th generation ethernet cable is available in 2 types of conductors: pure copper conductors and copper-clad aluminum conductors. 

Be it Cat6 Pure Copper Cable or CCA, the number of conductors is 8. For protection against crosstalk, these conductors are tightly bundled together in 4 twisted pairs. Bundling conductors in twisted pairs also keeps electromagnetic interference at bay. 

Performance-wise, pure copper conductors cable has a significant edge over CCA conductors. This superior performance emanates from pure copper conductors that have less attenuation, far less than CCA. Attenuation is loss of signal strength – the more the attenuation, the poorer the connectivity. 

Also, pure copper conductors are very efficient as they transfer more energy into signals. Thus, the energy transferred into heat is reduced, and more data packets are shared between the devices. 

Be it pure copper conductors or copper-clad aluminum conductors, the value for the wire gauge stands at 23AWG for Cat6 cables. 

Types of Cat6 Cables

Bulk Cat6 Cable is available in three varieties:

  • Plenum
  • Riser
  • PVC

Cat6 Cable Plenum

This type of cable has a plenum-rated or CMP-rated outer jacket that comes with fire-retardant properties. The name indicates that plenum Bulk Cat6 Cable is specifically designed to be run in vulnerable plenum spaces of the buildings. With also a formidable UV-resistant feature, you can run this premium cable in other areas such as outdoor and riser spaces. 

Cat6 Cable Riser 

The riser cable has a CMR-rated outer jacket that also comes with fire-retardant and UV-resistant features. You will require a riser Bulk Cat6 Ethernet Cable when you need to run one in the riser or vertical spaces of the buildings. The data transfer rates and bandwidth capacities remain the same for riser and plenum variants. The only thing that differentiates the riser from the plenum is the jacket rating or material.

Cat6 Cable PVC

PVC cables are made from low-quality polyvinyl chloride because they are to be run in open spaces. However, these cables have excellent protection against extreme weather conditions and chemicals. You can identify a PVC cable from PVC marking on the outer jacket.

There is another type of Cat6 cable that is classified as Cat6 direct burial cable. These Bulk Cat6 Cables carry CMX jackets or LLDPE jackets. CMX jacket has waterproof tape, whereas LLDPE jackets use gel that is filled in the core. Direct burial cables are meant for installation in underground spaces, and therefore they come with excellent protection against water, microorganisms, and bio-organisms. The data transfer rate and bandwidth remain the same as the plenum, riser, or PVC Cat6 cable.

Shielded vs. Unshielded Cables

STP Cat6 cables fall in shielded ethernet cables, where STP stands for shielded twisted pair cables. Usually, ethernet cables are run along with several other cables like electric wires. It causes crosstalk and electromagnetic interference, and the whole signal quality is compromised. Due to this, you often feel disrupted or have extremely poor connectivity. Such environments where crosstalk and EMI are present in excess are termed the harsh environments in the ethernet multiverse. For such places, cables have an extra layer of protection. As per this additional protection, a foil sheet is either wrapped around all 4 twisted pairs collectively, or four foil sheets are wrapped around each twisted pair. Such Bulk Cat6 Cables are called shielded twisted pair cables or STP cables. Remember, STP cables carry a price tag that is way higher than UTP cables.

Then, there are other forms of cables that are called UTP cables or unshielded twisted pair cables. These cables do not have any extra layer of protection, are meant for peaceful environments (places where crosstalk is less and EMI is non-existent), and are much cheaper than the STP Cat6  Etherenet Cable.

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