Considered to be the best performing twisted-pair cabling supporting 10 Gig speeds in wide use, Cat6a has been in existence since its introduction in 2006. However, two older categories, Cat 5e and Cat6, respectively 18 and 21 years old, still hold significant shares of the market. Cat6 currently exceeds the installations of Cat6a.
As technical demands grow, it will become increasingly harder to justify the installation of any cable category that is less than Cat6a. For example, as the users of wireless LAN exceed the users of wired LAN, new Wi-Fi standards delivering speeds approaching 10 Gig will make Cat6a a necessity. Below are the technical comparisons of the current common cable categories.
Standard Bandwidth Maximum Data Rate
Cat5e: 100MHz (up to 350) 1Gbps
Cat6: 250MHz (up to 550) 1Gbps
Cat6a: 500MHz (up to 550) 10Gbps
Cat7: 600MHz 10Gbps
Cat8: 2000MHz 25Gbps or 40Gbps
Recommended by Current Standards
For new installations, today’s TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) standards recommend Cat6a cable for commercial buildings, education facilities, healthcare, and intelligent buildings. The newest ISO/IEC (International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission) standards also make the same recommendations. In order to comply with industry standards, institutions, facilities, and buildings are typically required to install Cat6a for all their new cabling projects.
HDBaseT, a consumer electronic (CE) and commercial connectivity standard for transmitting uncompressed HD video and audio via common category cable, also recommends Cat6a for attaining the entire 100-meter distance. In contrast, Cat5e and Cat6 can only respectively attain 10 meters and 40 meters.
Provides Better PoE Support
As Type 3 and Type 4 PoE (Power over Ethernet) devices that require more power, such as wireless access points and surveillance cameras, exceed the number of conventional AC-powered devices, Cat6a will grow in usage. In addition, Cat6a dissipates heat better than Cat5e and Cat6 because of its greater gauge size.
Part 2 will discuss New Wi-Fi Standards and Comparison of Cat6 and Cat6a.
Progressive Office Cabling
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