A Brief Guide to CAT6 Ethernet Cables and Their Workings

CAT6 Ethernet Cable is one of the most popular Ethernet cables. It was standardized by Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (EIA). This article will provide you with all the information about CAT6 Ethernet Cables and its types.

The working of CAT6 Ethernet Cables

Being the sixth version of twisted pair Ethernet cabling, CAT6 was built in order to support the Gigabit Ethernet Data rates. i.e 1 gigabit/second (Gbps) It has four pairs of copper wires and all the copper wire pairs can be utilized for signaling and obtaining superior quality performance. The best part about it is that it can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections for a distance of 50 meters or 164 feet. Here are some more facts about it:

  • The enhanced version of CAT6, known as CAT6A and it can support the speed of upto 10Gbps.
  • Similar to the previous versions of Ethernet Cables, ends of CAT6 cable use the same RJ-45 standard connector.
  • The cable cover of this Ethernet Cable has “CAT6” printed on it.

​CAT6 vs. CAT6A: The Difference

CAT6 supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet. However, it covers the distance only of up to 50 meters. Category 6A of Ethernet Cables was introduced to enhance the performance of CAT6 cables. It also enables 10 Gigabit data rates on a single cable run; but runs up to 100 meters. This is twice as compared to CAT6. Due to its higher performance, CAT6A ethernet cable costs more than CAT6 and is thicker in density. It uses the standard RJ-45 connectors.

CAT6 vs. CAT5e: The Difference

In order to improve the previous versions of CAT5 Cables, two efforts were made. One out of them came to be known as CAT5e (CAT 5 enhanced) and the next one was named CAT6. Some technical enhancements were lacking in CAT5e which were than made in CAT6. However, if you are looking for a cable that supports Gigabit Ethernet installations at lower costs, CAT5e is a good choice. As CAT5e cable offered a fair performance for Gigabit Ethernet at cost effective rates, it gained a lot of popularity for wired Ethernet installations. Quite similar to CAT6, CAT5e also utilizes a four wire pair signaling to provide smooth data rates. CAT5 cables on the other hand have four wire pairs out of which two remain inactive.

Disadvantages of CAT6

Costs: CAT6 is more expensive as compared to Cat5e cable. Also, if you can resolve the network speed issues with CAT5e, it is better to buy that instead of CAT6. CAT5e is economical and offers a good quality performance. It can also be obtained in different colors.

Speed not guaranteed

Buying CAT6 cable doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get an entire gigabit network. It can offer speed optimization only if every element in your network works at gigabit speed. If one of them is not gigabit rated, the network will work at the slowest device’s speed.

There are times when users end up buying CAT6 Ethernet cables only because they are the latest version. What they need to know here is whether they will be suitable to their network. Hence, make sure you conduct proper research before buying these cables.