cat6 vs cat6a

cat6 vs cat6a

Here we can see, “cat6 vs cat6a”


CAT6 cabling provides many advantages and benefits over CAT5E cabling infrastructure. When CAT6 was first introduced, it had been approximately 50% costlier than CAT5E, which made it cost-prohibitive for several installations. However, CAT6 costs have reduced substantially over various years to the purpose where costs are almost on par. In addition, CAT6 provides greater bandwidth over CAT5E and allows for higher data transfer rates. Therefore, CAT6 has now become the minimum standard for brand spanking new cabling installations. Also, as having the ability to support 1 Gbps network speeds, CAT6 can support higher data rates of 10Gbps. However, 10Gbps is merely supported over shorter distances of 37-55 meters.


CAT6A is capable of supporting data transfer rates of up to 10Gbps at a maximum bandwidth of 500MHz. CAT6A has additional and tighter twists, with additional insulation to scale back crosstalk. CAT6A is additionally backward compatible with CAT6 and CAT5E; however, speeds are always limited and can perform to rock bottom category cable or connector installed within the link. CAT6A is fast becoming the foremost cost-effective solution because it is seen as a future-proof cable. CAT6A components are utilized in Class EA networks as defined in ISO/IEC 11801 and TIA/EIA 568.

One of the perceived disadvantages of CAT6A is that the actual size and weight of the cable. CAT6A was 50% larger when it originally appeared in 2008. Since then, cable sizes are reduced and slimmed down by 10%. the extra weight increase also reduces the quantity of cable which will fit into a cable tray and where you’ll place them. This leads to a bigger cable tray and conduits and a smaller bundle size. The increased room is additionally required for the cable bend radius within the cable tray, patch panel, and behind wall outlets.

Termination methods and times had also been seen to be negative for CAT6A installation. However, new modular jacks and outlets, which may be terminated in around 2-3 minutes, have reduced installation time and price.

One of the most arguments in favor of putting in CAT6A infrastructure now’s to future-proof the network. Therefore, if the planned lifetime of a replacement cabling system is five or more years, CAT6A should be considered an option. On the other hand, if the planned lifetime of the network is ten years or more, CAT6A appears to be the favored solution.

When considering the utilization of CAT6A components during a 10Gbps, Class EA network, consider the subsequent factors:

  • CAT6A is suggested for brand spanking new Installations in Healthcare
  • CAT6A is suggested for brand spanking new installations in Education
  • CAT6A provides enhanced performance for Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • CAT6A supports wireless systems that believe 10Gig
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CAT6A – Additional factors to consider

Shielded Vs. Unshielded Cat 6a

End users even have the choice of choosing from either a shielded or an unshielded solution. Shielded CAT6A cable generally has an outer foil shield around each pair or all 4 copper pairs. Additionally, modular jacks, outlets, and patch panels also are protected by a metal housing around these components. Each solution has its place, also as its own set of advantages.

CAT6A cable is out there in various configurations. Shielded and unshielded cables are often mentioned as F/UTP (shielded) and U/UTP (unshielded) cables.

The first letters indicate the sort of overall shield while the latter letters indicate protecting on each pair and, therefore, the balanced element.

CAT6A U/UTP means the cable consists of 4 unshielded twisted pairs and no outer shielding. CAT6A F/UTP means the cable consists of 4 unshielded twisted pairs. However, it contains an outer foil shield. So this is often a shielded cable. There’s also CAT6A S/FTP (screened/foiled twisted pair) cable, normally a CAT7 cable with four individually shielded pairs and an outer screen braid around all four pairs. 

One of the newest additions to the CAT6A shielded cable range may be a CAT6A U/FTP cable. This cable configuration has all four pairs individually shielded instead of an outer foil shield. the general test results and performance of this cable have been quite impressive.

Additional benefits of a shielded CAT 6A solution

  • Protects against ANEXT
  • An improvement over CAT6A unshielded – more headroom across the varied testing parameters
  • Reduces EMI/RFI – Beneficial for Industrial & Healthcare networks
  • Termination time for shielded components has improved over time – Previously, longer installation times were required for shielded products. However, installation time has been reduced by die-cast metal jacks that don’t require special bonding to shield, making installation time for UTP & STP comparable
  • Potentially improved RL of 3dB


  1. Support 10/100/1000 Mbp/s (megabits per second) speed to 328 feet (100 meters)
  2. Made with eight copper conductors twisted into four pairs
  3. Terminated to TIA 568A or B code specifications
  4. Have jackets made for various installation needs (e.g., riser-rated)
  5. Have an indoor cross skeleton called a spline, made from plastic, to stay the pairs separated
  6. are often unshielded or shielded


  1. Cat6A cable is formed and terminated to tighter tolerances than Cat6. This suggests the copper conductors are twisted tighter. This needs higher specification patch panels, wall jacks, and RJ45 connectors.
  2. Cat6A speed is a minimum of 500 MHz. This enables 10 Gbp/s (Gigabits per second) up to 328 feet (100 meters). However, cat6’s max speed is 250 MHz. Therefore, it only supports 10 Gbp/s to 165 feet (55 meters) under ideal conditions—less in heavy cross talk environments.
  3. Cat6A cable often uses thicker copper conductors and jackets. This makes installation harder and drives up the worth.

Equipment Requirements:

Cable requirements are often dictated by the equipment that’s currently installed or is going to be installed within the near future. 99% of all network equipment will support Ethernet data cable speeds of 10 Mbp/s to 1 Gbp/s (1000 Mbp/s). Size up of your current equipment. Does any of your equipment requirements or maybe support 10 Gbp/s (10,000 Mbp/s)? Does one have plans to upgrade your equipment to support this higher speed? If the solution is “yes,” then you ought to use Cat6A cabling. Most of the time, however, the solution is “no.” during this case, Cat6A speed cable won’t benefit you in any way, but it’ll certainly cost more.

Cost and Simple Installation:

Cat6A cable installation is extremely different from Cat6 cable installation cost. When installing Cat6A cable to realize 10 Gbp/s speed, the cost rise isn’t only from the cabling. Extra costs are thanks to the necessity for higher performance switches and extra networking hardware. one piece of network infrastructure, like cable, can’t be upgraded to Cat6A specification and provides you quicker speeds. That’s until the whole network infrastructure is upgraded.

The cost of installation also increases with Cat6A cable from a labor standpoint. Cat6A cable is heavier than Cat6 and fewer flexible. It requires extra attention to detail to terminate properly. If there’s no in-house expertise to install Cat6A cabling properly, then a network cabling contractor is suggested.

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Performance Improvements:

While Cat6a doesn’t increase the quantity of speed or data transmitted — it still transmits up to 10 Gbps — it does double the bandwidth frequency at which data is transmitted, from 250 MHz (Cat6) to 500 MHz. This enables more reliable data transmission, even across greater distances. The Cat6a accomplishes these feats by further twisting the twisted wire pairs around an equally twisted and versatile plastic support.


The latest network cables are made from tightly twisted pairs of copper wires — from 4-10 pairs in each cable. Through these wires, data is transmitted, but cable and interference can get within the way of knowledge transmission. More tightly woven wire pairs can solve both problems, or a minimum of improving reliability, so one of the most important differences between older and newer coaxial cable versions usually comes right down to the wiring.

Cat6 cables were created under a more exacting standard than previous versions of Ethernet cables to facilitate data transmission speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps). This higher standard, referred to as the 10GBASE-T standard, was also implemented to enhance the signal-to-noise (interference caused within the cable itself and therefore the peripherals it’s connected to) and crosstalk (interference caused by the presence of other nearby cables).

Maximum Lengths:

For Cat6 cables, maximum lengths depend heavily on network speeds and crosstalk conditions. for instance, in lower speed networks like 10, 100, or 1,000 megabit systems (the 10/100/1000BASE-T standards), the utmost cable is 100 meters (330 feet), with about 90% of that length wont to transmit data between systems and therefore the remaining 10% for the connection itself. On the other hand, when crosstalk conditions are ideal in higher speed 10 gigabit (10GBASE-T) networks, the Cat6 cable is 55 meters (165 feet). Still, it’s only 33 meters (110 feet) when the potential for crosstalk is high, as when several cables are bundled tightly in one area.

Cat6a cables make use of their higher standards by allowing full 10GBASE-T transmission speeds of up to 10 Gbps, at 500MHz of signal bandwidth, over 100 meters (330 feet).

Data transmission speeds got to be electrically tested after installation to determine the extent of crosstalk in either coaxial cable.


Due to its new central column support and ubiquitous shielding, the Cat6a is far heavier and bulkier than the Cat6. As a result, cable trays won’t hold nearly as many Cat6a cables as they will Cat6 cables.

Though Ethernet cables can seem sturdy on the surface, their inner workings are fragile. In other words, it’s important not to bend cables an excessive amount, as this will damage wiring and reduce performance quality. The minimum radius of a cable is often bent without damage; it’s called the bend radius. The lower the bend radius, the more you’ll bend the cable, i.e., the more flexible it’s. The bend radius is roughly fourfold the cable diameter. Due to their bulkiness, Cat6a cables take up more room and have a bigger bend radius than Cat6 cables.

Comparison Table of cat6 vs cat6a

Frequency 0 - 250 MHz (minimum); 500 MHz maximum Up to 500 MHz
Maximum Cable Length 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short distances. For Gigabit Ethernet, 55 meters max, with 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions. 100 meters across all systems and conditions for Gigabit Ethernet.
Theoretical Top Speed 10 Gbps over 33-55 meters (110-165 feet) of cable 10 Gbps over 100 meters (330 feet) of cable
Standard gauges in conductors 22-24 AWG wire 16-20 AWG wire
ConnectorsRJ45 (aka 8P8C)RJ45 (aka 8P8C)
Applicable for Phone YESYES
Applicable for Office Network YES YES
Applcable for Home Network YES YES
Applicable for Data Center NOYES
Networks Supported 1000BASE-TX 10GBASE
Bandwidth250 MHZ 500 MHZ
Transmission Speed 1 Gbps 1 Gbps
Shieldingunshielded or shielded unshielded or shielded
Transmission Distance 37-55 meters or less up to 100 meters
Impedance 100 ohms = 15% —-
NEXT (Min. @ 100 MHZ) 44.3 dB 27.9 dB
Attenuation (Min. @100 MHZ) 19.8 dB —-
EL-FEXT (Min. @ 100 MHZ) 27.8 dB 9.3 dB
PS-ELFEXT (Min. @ 100 MHZ) 24.8 dB —-
PS-NEXT (Min. @ 100 MHZ) 42.3 dB —-
PS-ANEXT (Min. @ 500 MHz) —- 49.5 dB
PS-AELFEXT (Min. @ 500 MHz) 20.1 dB 23.0 dB
Return Loss (Min. @ 100 MHz) 20.1 dB 8.0 dB
Delay Skew (Max. per 100m) 45 ns —-
Cost HighExpense compared to cat6

User Questions:

1.Should I buy CAT 6 or Cat6A?

If you are looking to line yourself up for a successful long-term Gigabit Ethernet network, Cat6a (Category 6 augmented) is the right choice. Yes, it’s costlier than Cat5e or Cat6, but the hardware you will be connecting to your network will only become more sophisticated—not less—as technology grows.

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2.Is Cat6 or Cat6A better for gaming?

Cat7 cables are typically no better than the Cat6a cables and do not use the header connections easily found on most gaming PCs and consoles. The important debate is when it involves the simplest Ethernet cables for gaming is Cat5e vs. Cat6. and perhaps Cat6A if you furthermore may do tons of heavy data transfers.

3.Is Cat6A thicker than Cat6?

Cat6 and Cat6a cables have identifiers printed on the cable jacket itself — Category 6 or Category 6a, respectively. Other quick thanks to telling the 2 cables apart is to notice that Cat6a cables are much thicker and bulkier than Cat6 cables.

4.Cat6 or cat6a for home network

Cat6 or cat6a for home network from HomeNetworking

5.Cat6 vs. Cat6a for a little home

Cat6 vs Cat6a for a small home from HomeNetworking