What are CAT 6 cables?
Meet the Connector: CAT 6 Cable
CAT 6 is a twisted pair cable for Ethernet-based computer networks. It is used in phone lines, PCs, televisions, CCTV cameras, and other networking devices.
CAT 6 (Category 6) is the standard for the sixth generation of twisted pair cable for Ethernet-based computer networks. Following CAT 5 and CAT 5e, the specifications for CAT 6 are more stringent for crosstalk and system noise, and CAT 6 enables higher speeds and more robust data transfer. While more expensive than CAT 5/5e, it remains a cost-effective option due to higher speeds and more robust data transfer.
The Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) defined CAT 6. It consists of four twisted pairs and allows frequencies up to 250 MHz. CAT 6 is used in 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet), and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet) applications. It is terminated by an RJ45 or terminated on a patch or a keystone jack.
Unlike CAT 5e cable, with CAT 6 all four wires work together to handle the signal instead of just two. However, CAT 6 has a maximum length of 55 m when used for 10GBASE-T, compared to 90 m maximum for CAT 5e and 100 m maximum for CAT 6A.
The CAT 6 cable standard specifies performance of up to 250 MHz, compared to 100 MHz for Cat 5 and Cat 5e, and 500 MHz for CAT 6A.
Backward compatibility: CAT 6 cables are compatible with CAT 5/5e standards.
Shielding: CAT 6 cable is available shielded and unshielded.
Jacket ratings: Both shielded and unshielded CAT 6 cable come in every type of jacket rating.
- Outdoor rated: Limited resistance to combustion but designed for use outdoors. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) jacket protects from the UV radiation in sunlight and is resistant to water and severe weather.
- Riser rated: Some fire resistance and is designed to be used within the interiors of buildings, except for plenum spaces (areas involved in air handling).
- Plenum rated: More fire resistant and designed to be used in the plenum spaces of buildings (typically above suspended ceilings or below raised floors) due to low toxicity smoke emitted in case it burns.
- Wire gauge: 23 AWG
- Shielding: 100 % aluminum mylar foil with tinned copper braid
- Impedance: 100 ohm
- Types of CAT 6 cable: UTP (unshielded twisted pair), FTP (foiled twisted pair), SFTP (screen foiled twisted pair). Cables are specified based on transmission requirements and surrounding interference.
- Colors (for standard CAT 6 cable based on EIA 568): 1) white and orange, 2) solid orange, 3) white and green, 4) solid blue, 5) white and blue, 6) solid green, 7) white and brown, and 8) solid brown.
- Testing: A Fluke DSX or other industry-standard cabling tester calculates whether the link passes the desired standards and is at its most efficient, indicating the result with a green tick or a red cross.
- CAT 6A (Augmented) builds on the benefits of CAT 6. The main advantage is that CAT 6A enables 10 Gigabit Ethernet data rates over a single cable run up to 328 feet, versus CAT 6’s 164 feet of cable length. CAT 6A cables have even higher performance specifications and often have improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).
CAT 6 is used for data transfer, phone lines, PCs, television, CCTV cameras, and other networking devices.
- CAT 5/53
- CAT 6A
- Ethernet cables