Cat6 VS Cat6A Ethernet Cables
As more advances enter the network technology market, businesses will fall behind. Is there a way for companies to prevent their technology from becoming outdated?
Yes. One way to achieve upgrading or future-proofing networks is to update existing ethernet cables. First, however, you need to know what network cable would best solve your businesses' problems.
Various types of ethernet cables exist on the market. However, this ethernet cable guide will cover Category (CAT) 6 and 6A cables.
CAT6 vs CAT6a ethernet cables—which one will best suit your personal or business needs?
Keep reading to learn more about what differentiates these internet cables. Some of the differences covered will include speeds, length, data transfer, and more. Also, we will go over who these cables will best serve.
What Does the “A” in CAT6A Mean?
The 6A part of the Category 6A cable stands for augmented. The cable earns its name due to the increased frequency rating and data transmission.
CAT6 Vs CAT6A Ethernet Cables
Explore this ethernet cable guide to learn the vast differences between the CAT6 ethernet cable and its CAT6A counterpart. Throughout this section, we will explain the differences between the two internet cables and when they are best applicable.
CAT6 vs CAT6a Comparison chart
|10 Gbps over 180FT
1 Gbps over 180FT-328FT
|10 Gbps over 328FT
|up to 500MHz
Upon first impression, both of these internet cables may look identical. For example, both versions come in unshielded and shielded variations and have cable spines.
Regarding design differences, the CAT6A cable has 4+ twists per cm that are tighter than its older counterpart CAT6 with 2+ twists per cm. Moreover, the CAT6A has additional insulation, which protects the cables from crosstalk and electromagnetic interference.
Category 6A cables were around 50% larger than the CAT6. However, manufacturers have recently reduced its size by about 10% without sacrificing the cable's quality.
Why is the CAT6A so large?
The thicker size is due to the ethernet cable's thicker shielding, which gives it more protection from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and other hazards.
Due to the Category 6A ethernet cable's massive size and lack of flexibility, installers will need to pay more attention to the details when installing. Because of this, the installation will require the help of an in-house expert or a third-party professional.
When first looking at the two ethernet cables' speeds, you will not notice a difference. Why? Because CAT6A cables do not enhance data transfer speeds.
However, Category 6 ethernet cables transfer more speed over a longer distance than CAT6 cables. Here is what we found:
- CAT6A: 10 Gbps over 330FT (100M) of cable
- CAT6: 10 Gbps over 110–165FT (33–55M) of cable
CAT6A cables achieve these speeds due to further twisting wire pairs over flexible plastic support.
While many of you may not think of it, the minimum radius that can bend a cable without damaging the inner wires makes a difference. If you bend a cable too much, the pressure will damage its inner workings.
To figure out how susceptible both cables are to bending, you will need to know their bend radius. If a cable has a lower bend radius, that means you can bend it more.
Due to their larger size, Category 6A cables require more room and thus call for a larger bend radius than CAT6 cables.
Ethernet cable frequencies serve as rates that signal change states within your network that simultaneously go from 1 to 0, and afterward, the signals reverse. Therefore, you would need higher megahertz (MHz) speeds to support higher operating frequencies.
With that information in mind, Category 6 cables only support a maximum of up to 250MHz, while the CAT6A offers double the speed—up to 500MHz.
The costs vary by manufacturer and the length of ethernet cable that you would need. However, when shopping for cables, you may find that CAT6A cables cost at least 20–35% higher than CAT6 cables.
Moreover, CAT6 cable manufacturers will charge at least 20% more than CAT5E cables.
Fortunately, it is possible to use both cables on an older system due to their compatibility with 100BASE-T and 10BASE-T standards. However, when upgrading to newer networking devices in the future, using CAT6A cables will save you the most money.
Both ethernet cables use a Registered Jack-45 (RJ45) connector, which means you can easily upgrade from a CAT6 cable to a CAT6A.
With more accurate rendering than their counterpart, Category 6 cables can handle large files that can transfer critical information to staff members when needed.
Where would transfer rates like the above mentioned get the most use?
A CAT6A ethernet cable works best in data centers or server rooms. A great use case would involve transferring data throughout medical facilities or deliveries for commerce buildings.
If you have an area that has less space to fit wires, CAT6 ethernet cables will offer some of the best, while not the most reliable, results.
Reasons to Choose CAT6A Ethernet Cables
More users will rely on a quick and reliable internet connection at home and in businesses. Moreover, everyone will need to support future network installations.
Investing in CAT6A cables future-proofs commercial and residential networks and eliminates the need to waste time and money later. That way, you can integrate into the market's the newest technology without the hassle caused by opting for an older ethernet cable.
However, there are various reasons why Category 6A cables triumph over their previous versions. Explore an article that we wrote about why you should choose CAT6A cables to learn more.
Final Thoughts on CAT6 Vs. CAT6A Cables
CAT6 vs CAT6a ethernet cables—who is the winner?
If you don't need a lot of speed and shorter wires, CAT6 cables will serve as your best bet. However, choosing the older variation of this internet cable will put you at a disadvantage when upgrading your network devices in the future.
CAT6A ethernet cables otherwise triumph over older ethernet cables in various areas. Moreover, their superior reliability can make an enormous difference in critical places like commerce or medical facilities.
Improve your home or business and invest in one of SatMaximum’s 1000FT UTP CAT6A Ethernet Cables.
Still have questions and would like to know more about the difference between Cat6 and Cat6E. Contact our team. We are here to help you make a right choice for your project.