If you are a regular user of ethernet LAN applications, you will know the importance of a good quality ethernet cable. One of the best ethernet cables on the market for both average and heavy-duty use is the Cat6a cable. It comes in two different variants: Cat6a plenum and Cat6a riser cable. These variants are differentiated based on their jackets. There are other specifications of the cable that make its different variants unique such as the cable conductor type, shielding, etc.
In general, though, the Cat6a ethernet cable provides an ideal solution for LAN networking with its wide range of features to choose from and it’s high standards of construction quality. No Cat6a ethernet cable is produced with substandard materials. And an ethernet cable has to undergo and pass rigorous safety and performance tests to be qualified as an augmented category 6 (Cat6a) ethernet cable.
Know the Cat6a?
Cat6a is the successor of the previously used Cat6 ethernet cable. It is an improved and augmented version of its predecessor with even more tightly twisted conductor pairs that prevent electromagnetic interference (crosstalk). It has four pairs of 23 AWG conductors that are made from bare copper. In some variants of the Cat6a cable, the conductors are made from solid copper, and in others, it is made from stranded copper. Unlike Cat6 and 5e ethernet cables, Bulk Cat6a cables are only made from pure copper conductors.
The Cat6a cable 1000ft supports a mammoth 10 GBit/s data transfer speed of over 100 meters. It offers a 750 MHz bandwidth capacity that is ideal for all high-speed ethernet uses. You can use it to connect all of your electronic devices to your network. In addition to its high-speed data transfer rates, the cable is ideal.
Solid vs Stranded Specification
Solid conductors are made from a single piece of material. Cat6a ethernet cables with solid conductors are used for long-distance transmissions. Particularly, in outdoor environments, the shielded cables are better equipped for transmitting signals with better integrity, low attenuation levels, and most importantly, low EMI.
Stranded conductors of the Cat6a cable are used commonly in indoor uses. The cables with stranded conductors are more flexible due to their construction which makes them easier to install.
Cable Shielding Feature
Shielding of the cable is an aluminum foil that is wrapped around the cable conductors to keep the crosstalk out of the network. It works by simply deflecting or absorbing EMI. Although very helpful for keeping the EMI levels low, it can make the Cat6a cable 1000ft to be a little tricky to install. At the same time, cable shielding also makes the cable more durable and better performing.
Why Cat6a Cable?
Well, why Cat6a? The reason is simple: it is a high-performing cable with unparalleled features. It is also an affordable solution as compared to the Cat7 and 8 cables. Not to mention its versatility. Not only can you use the Cat6a cable for heavy-duty data transfer tasks, but you can also use it at different lengths and for a wide range of ethernet applications. For PoE use, this is one of the best ethernet cables out there if not the best.
When Not to Use the Cat6a?
While you might be tempted to use the Cat6a cable for all kinds of applications, it is necessary that you first identify the correct use of this cable. Yes, the Cat6a cable is not necessarily the ideal one for all kinds of uses. For instance, if you need an ethernet cable for a small home network with average or below average usage requirements, you can simply go for a Cat6. It will be cost-effective as well as the right choice for such applications.
The Plenum vs The Riser?
While buying the Cat6a ethernet cable, you will encounter this dilemma. You will need to choose between the Cat6a plenum and the Cat6a riser. The simple trick is to make the decision based on the type of run you need the cable for. For instance, if you need the cable for indoor horizontal runs, you will choose the plenum cable. Also for all kinds of indoor open runs, you will get the plenum Cat6a cable. Because the plenum cable does not catch fire or emit any toxic smoke, it is a safe solution for use in indoor open spaces such as dropped ceilings and raised floors.
The Cat6a riser cable can be used best in indoor vertical runs. Particularly in the runs that are contained. Because the riser-rated Cat6a cable can emit toxic smoke in fire hazards, it is recommended to be used in spaces where smoke cannot escape in case of a fire event. Also important to mention here is the fact that it is very unlikely for this cable to catch fire in the first place. Its riser-rated jacket is designed to be heat resistant and the low-voltage rarely causes a fire hazard. It is still recommended to be careful though.
In short, you need the Cat6a ethernet cable for your LAN network if you are looking for a cost-effective and high-performing solution. Essentially, you need the Cat6a ethernet cable, either the plenum or the riser variant, or both, if you need the best in the market.