If you’re getting ready to set up a wired network at your home, you’d be wondering if you should use Cat6 or Cat6A.
Don’t worry, as this is a hot topic & people wanted to know about it. So, I’ll shed some light on this topic to simplify as much as possible for a novice person to understand.
Should I use Cat6 or Cat6A?
I‘ve done a lot of research to answer this question but it is quite confusing to answer exactly what should you choose. Well, if you’re looking at cat6 and Cat6A, you should keep one thing in mind that Cat6A has the 10Gigabits/s speed ratings up to 100 meters (~330ft). Now the people who are looking to have the fastest internet service at a longer distance. Whereas the Cat6 has the standard rating of 1Gbit/s speed ratings at 100 meters (~330ft). But, if you run the Cat6 cable up to 30 to 50 meters <~100ft to 160ft>, it can easily transfer 10Gigabits/s speed. But few things should be strictly considered, the best pulling, proper environment, and no electromagnetic, electrical, or any other interference. Once all these conditions are observed properly, one can enjoy the high-speed transfer of 10Gigabits/s at the above-mentioned lengths only.
We offer Cat6 to our regular customers of home or small office use where the cable length will not exceed 160ft as the performance would be as cat6A but the price would be quite low compare to Cat6A. These days, due to the demand for high-speed data transmission in Healthcare centers. Cat 6A shall be considered the ideal cable to rely on.
Once you install the Cat6, you are safe for up to 5 years at least with regards to technology upgrades on the other hand if you are willing to extend this period up to 10 or more years, Cat6A is the best choice because, with the technology upgrades, this cable will still be reliable until the coming 12 to 15 years.
In the case of Cat6A, one can surely enjoy the highspeed data transfer of 10Gigabits up to 100 meters (~330ft). But it should also be carefully installed, properly pulled, and should not have any tight bends and the termination has to be perfect.
In a simplified table below, it would be further easy to save in your mind.
|Lengths||Cat6||Cat6A||Frequency||Required for Best Results.|
|100ft to 160ft Max||5 to 10 Gbps||10 Gbps||Up to 500 MHz||Safe environment, proper pulling, perfect termination, no interference|
|100ft to 330ft Max||Less than 1 Gbps||10 Gbps||Up to 250 MHz|
Cat6A has tighter twists and has thicker insulation to reduce the crosstalk further than Cat6. It seems quite bulkier. The Cat6A has the most reliable bandwidth frequency i.e. 500MHz to transmit the data across greater distances.
Identification Between Cat6 VS Cat6A
Well, both wires have a similar construction even both the cables use the same RJ45 connectors. The best and the quickest way to identify a cat 6 and Cat6A cable is their thickness.
A 23AWG Cat6 usually has an Outer diameter of 0.24 inches whereas a 23AWG Cat6A has an outer diameter of 0.35 inches. So, the cables can be easily identified.
The third method that is certainly the most reliable one is the printing on the cable.
Two typical Jacket Types:
It is made of a fire-retardant substance called FEP ( fluorinated ethylene polymer ) It is used in plenum spaces to be installed in horizontal spaces. Like Air circulation ducts, above the ceiling or below the floor as it’s less toxic and slows down, stops the spread of fire, or at least reduces its intensity. It’s a bit costlier than Riser.
It is best considered for riser spaces and to be installed in vertical conduits, inside walls, and between floors or in the lift shafts. This is less fire retardant. The riser cable at times can be substitute with plenum jacketed cable but can not be considered as all the substitutes for the plenum.
|Outer Diameter||0.24 in||0.35 In|
|Application||High Speed Lan||High Speed Lan|
|Application Industry||Small House, Office, Schools etc.||Huge Universities, Healthcare Centers, Gaming centers etc.|
|Frequency||Up to 550 MHz Max||Up to 750 MHz Max|
|Suitable for PoE, PoE+||Yes||Yes Enhanced Performance|
I hope that I am able to deliver the easiest and simplest comparison between the two cables.