How to Choose the Right Cable Category

Why do I need a different category of cable?

In the past, networks relied on Category 3 and Category 5e cables for voice and data transmission. However, as technology evolved, these cables became outdated. Category 6 cables emerged to meet the demand for higher data rates and accommodate future advancements. Unlike their predecessors, Category 6 cables support gigabit Ethernet and offer improved performance, making them essential for modern networks.

Different Grades of Category 6

Similar to car models offering various features, cable manufacturers provide different grades of Category 6 cables to meet diverse performance needs. For instance, Proterial Cable America offers Category XS™, Plus™, Premium™, and Category 6 Shielded F/UTP grades, each tailored to specific performance requirements. 

Shielded vs. Unshielded Cables

When selecting Category 6A cables, consider factors like shielded or unshielded designs to mitigate interference and ensure optimal performance. Shielded cables offer superior protection against electromagnetic interference, making them suitable for demanding environments. Manufacturers offer various shielded designs like U/FTP and F/UTP, each with unique benefits to meet specific installation requirements.

Why Category 6 Cabling?

Category 6 cables surpass the limitations of Category 5e, supporting higher data rates and ensuring better transmission quality. With their enhanced design and construction, Category 6 cables minimize delay skew and crosstalk issues, crucial for reliable network performance. As bandwidth demands increase, Category 6 cables provide the necessary infrastructure for streaming media applications and future-proofing network setups.

Category 6A: The Ultimate Solution

Category 6A cables represent the pinnacle of network infrastructure, accommodating 10 gigabit Ethernet and supporting higher frequencies up to 500MHz. Designed to overcome challenges like alien crosstalk, Category 6A cables offer unmatched performance and compatibility with evolving network technologies. Investing in Category 6A infrastructure guarantees superior throughput and prepares networks for future advancements. Proterial manufactures both a Category 6A Supra 10G UTP and a Category 6A Supra 10G-XE UTP cable.

The key difference lies in the construction and focus of the cables. Proterial Cable America’s Category 6A Supra 10G-XE, has a smaller outer diameter, allowing for more cable to be installed in the same space and boasts a Noise Control Barrier technology. Both products are suitable for PoE applications up to 100 watts.