Part 2 will discuss the characteristics and features of Cat6 and Cat6a cabling.

Category 6 (Cat6)

Cat6 was introduced in 2002, the year after Cat5e. It features thicker sheathing, more tightly wound cable pairs, and a nylon spline within the center, decreasing crosstalk inside and outside and resulting in improved performance.

Although its performance only matches Cat5e at distances of 100 meters (328 feet), Cat6 cables can provide faster rates of up to 10 Gbps at shorter cable lengths. Thus, Cat5e is often used to connect computers and devices on the network, while Cat6 is utilized mainly for the network’s backbone due to its distance limitations.

Category 6 Augmented (Cat6a)

Introduced in 2008, Cat6a is manufactured with more tightly wound copper cable pairs, along with a thicker outer sheath than Cat6 cables. These features improve protection against crosstalk, including alien crosstalk, which is the interference generated by other cables.

In contrast to Cat6, Cat6a cables can transmit at rates up to 10 Gbps over 100 meter distances. Cat6a cables are more costly and difficult to install than Cat6 or Cat5e. Due to their improved shielding resulting in much greater thickness, Cat6a cables are more suitable for enterprise installations.

Cat6a cables can be built with shielded twisted pairs (STP) or unshielded twisted pairs (UTP). In addition to the outer sheath, STP cables also feature a layer of shielding around each copper wire pair, providing additional protection from interference, which is useful in areas where there are devices producing electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Cable Comparison Table

Cat5e Cat6 Cat6a
Speed 1 gbps 10 gbps 10 gbps
Distance 328 feet 164 feet 328 feet
Bandwidth 100mhz 250 – 500 mhz 550 mhz


Cat6a’s features allow the transmission of increased data at greater speeds and longer distances, along with much less interference, than its predecessors, Cat5e and Cat6.

Cat6a’s qualities can help a company future proof its IT infrastructure as new technologies come into play. As a result, data centers, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions have made Cat6a cabling the minimum standard for their new installations.

Progressive Office Cabling

Founded in 1986, Progressive Office’s success has been a direct result of years of commitment to seeking cost-effective solutions. Working together, Progressive teams are committed to getting your data cables installed and operating while minimizing disruption and downtime. Call our toll free number (800) 614-4560 today.