A Look at the Different Types of Cat6 Cables

Cat 6 cable is an ethernet cable designed to work optimally at a maximum distance of 328 feet or 100 meters. The Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) defines it as the standard for ethernet cable, often referred to as cat6 cable. It is fast becoming the cable of choice for cabling infrastructure and fast ethernet applications. 

Cat 6 cable is a set of sheathed copper wire cables that supports the quick transfer of large amounts of data. It is backward compatible with previous versions, such as cat5 and cat3 cables, and is usually identified by labeling on its outer cover. There are multiple versions, or types, of Cat 6 ethernet cable and it is important to use the right one for your specific purposes. Utilizing the proper Cat 6 cable helps improve performance, speed, and reliability. 

Here are the main types of cat6 cables and their common uses. 

Shielded Twisted Pair (STP)

Shielded twisted pair Cat 6 cable is a twisted pair of cables that are confined in a mesh or foil shield. This extra protection helps prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio-frequency interference (RFI). It helps curb cross-talk and interference from surrounding equipment or competing cables. 

Shielded twisted pair Cat 6 cables help ensure the integrity of the cable’s performance and the data being transferred but shielded cables must be grounded to work properly. Shielded and unshielded cables can not be used together. Anything connected to shielded cables must also be shielded and grounded to work properly.   

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)

Unshielded twisted pair Cat 6 cables are composed of 4 twisted pairs of copper wires that are insulated and color-coded. Each pair of cables is twisted at a different rate to help minimize crosstalk and each bundle of cables is nestled under a jacket for protection. Unshielded cable is simple to terminate, which helps reduce time and cost. Unshielded Cat 6 cables are suitable for inside use, such as between a computer and a printer or the wall.

Stranded Cat 6 Cable

Stranded Cat 6 cable utilizes a series of copper cables twisted together for the electrical conductor. There are usually 6 or 7 wires used to surround a single wire center. Stranded cable is flexible and ideal for use at a desk, or anywhere it may be frequently moved. Stranded cable runs should be kept short to minimize or prevent signal loss

Solid Cat 6 Cable

The solid cable utilizes a single piece of copper as an electrical conductor. It is not as flexible as stranded cable but is much more durable. Solid cables are a little more costly but are much better for long-distance runs. They are better suited for permanent applications and are ideal for use in permanent installations like inside walls and outdoor use. 

Get Your Cat6 Cable Today

While cat6 cable used to be cost-prohibitive, it is quickly becoming the industry standard. The cost has been substantially reduced with increased bandwidth and higher transfer rates. It has quickly become the basic requirement for new installations and basic applications. No matter the job or application, cat6 cable can improve the user experience. Just be sure to use the right cat6 cable installation for the specific job at hand to ensure reliable data transfer with minimal interference. Get your appropriate Cat 6 cable today.



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