Copper Patch Cables

Cat6a Ethernet Cable—an Augmented Version of Cat6 Ethernet Cable

Due to the growing requirements of the network, the data transmission speed of the Ethernet network has constantly increased, from initially 100 megabits per second in Fast Ethernet network to 1 gigabit per second in Gigabit Ethernet network, even to 10 gigabits per second in 10 Gigabit Ethernet network nowadays. With the appearance and popularity of the 10 Gigabit Ethernet network, the performance of the Ethernet cable for the network connection was also needed to be improved, which brought a big challenge for the traditional Ethernet cable.

In order to face the challenge, the Cat6a Ethernet cable was published with the efforts of the experts, designed on the basis of the Cat6 Ethernet cable and specially used for 10 Gigabit Ethernet network connection. To better know about the Cat6a Ethernet cable, let’s compare the Cat6a Ethernet cable with the Cat6 Ethernet cable and find the advantages and disadvantages of the Cat6a Ethernet cable.

cat6 vs. cat6a cable

Cat6a Ethernet Cable Overview

Cat6a Ethernet cable, also referred to as Cat6a cable or Cat6a patch cable, is a standardized twisted pair cable, commonly used for 10 Gigabit application. It is easy to learn that the letter “a” in its name stands for “augmented”, hence the Cat6a Ethernet cable is an improved version of the Cat6 Ethernet cable, which greatly improves the alien crosstalk characteristics. Meanwhile, it is more thicker than Cat6 Ethernet cable, making itself more durable. When the Cat6 Ethernet cable is put into use, it has the ability to perform up to 500 MHz, allowing 10GBASE-T to be run for 100 meter distance. It is really an optimize cable solution for 10GBASE-T network.

Cat6a Ethernet Cable Advantages

As we all know, the Ethernet cable can be divided into two types. The one is shielded twisted pair (STP) and the other is unshielded twisted pair (UTP). Compared to the unshielded Ethernet cable, the shielded one always has one or more additional jackets surrounding the inner twisted wire pairs for insulation, protecting the Ethernet cable from electromagnetic interference (EMI). As for the Cat6a Ethernet cable and the Cat6 Ethernet cable, both of them can be shielded or unshielded. But if you purchase in the store, you’ll find that the Cat6a shielded Ethernet cable is more common while Cat6 Ethernet cable is always with unshielded feature.

The second advantage is that the Cat6a Ethernet cable can transmit 10G signals for a longer transmission distance. For the Cat6 Ethernet cable, it is more commonly used in the applications where the data transmission rate is 10, 100 or 1000 Mbps, with the distance up to 100 meters. But if the data transmission rate is increased to 10 Gbps, it can only support the transmission with the distance up to 55 meters. What’s worse, if it works in a high crosstalk environment, the maximum transmission distance can only be 33 meters. Considering that both the speed and the crosstalk have bad effects on the transmission distance of Cat6 Ethernet cable, Cat6a Ethernet cable has great improvements in these two aspects which can support the 10G Ethernet network with the distance over 100 meters, even if working in the application with high crosstalk.

Furthermore, the higher durability is also an important advantage of the Cat6a Ethernet cable. How to achieve this? As we know, when laying the cables on the trays, highly bending the cables will damage the wiring and influence network performance. As the Cat6 Ethernet cable is thinner than the Cat6a Ethernet cable, it is easier to be bent. Hence, the Cat6a Ethernet cable is much more durable than the Cat6 Ethernet cable for its bulkier structure when used for the network deployment.

Cat6a Ethernet Cable Disadvantages

After knowing the advantages of the Cat6a Ethernet cable, it is also necessary to talk about its disadvantages, providing a comprehensive knowledge for this kind of cable. The first disadvantage you should take into account is the cost issue. There is no denying that the cost of the Cat6a Ethernet cable is much higher than Cat6 Ethernet cable. Meanwhile, the cost of its matched connection components is another important issue that determines the whole connection cost. Except for the high cost issue, big diameter is another disadvantage for cabling. As the Cat6a Ethernet cable is thicker and heavier than the Cat6 Ethernet cable, the cable tray can not hold as many Cat6a Ethernet cables as the Cat6 Ethernet cables.

Conclusion

The Cat6a Ethernet cable is an improved version of the Cat6 Ethernet cable, which greatly improves the alien crosstalk characteristics, supports the 10G Ethernet network with longer transmission distance and higher performance, and has a much higher durability to avoid bending too much. On the other hand, it will be much more expensive and take up more space in the cable tray if you choose Cat6a Ethernet cable to deploy the network. Hence, you should consider all the factors before deploying the network.

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