How to Choose the Right Cat6a Cable for Your 10G Networks?

Introduced in 2002, 10G or 10GE is an IEEE standardized Ethernet application. It offers lightning speeds of up to 10 GBit/s over 100 meters. Also known as 10BASE-T in technical terms, the 10 Gigabit ethernet is used in residential and commercial networks. This technology continues to evolve and provide seamless connectivity in all kinds of local and wide area networks.

To use 10G in a local or a wide area network, you need to have an ethernet cable that supports this speed. For regular use in commercial and residential settings, the Cat6 and Cat6a cables are the ones you will need. But there are certain factors that you need to consider in order to buy the right cable for a 10G network.

In this blog, we will walk you through the process of choosing the right Cat6a cable for your 10G network. Let’s get right into it. Be sure to read till the end.

What is a 10G Network?

A 10G network is any local area network (LAN) or a wide area ethernet network (WAN) that can transmit data at lightning speeds of up to 10 GBit/s.

These kinds of networks were introduced almost 20 years ago but they caught on slowly. And today, almost all kinds of residential or commercial wired networks use the 10G technology, also known as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GE for short).

A 10 G network is used particularly in spaces where the performance requirements of the network are higher. Such as in corporate offices and other such kinds of institutions.

There are many ethernet cables that can support the 10 G ethernet. Such as the Cat6, Cat7, and Cat8. But Cat6a is the most commonly used cable because it offers the best specifications at the best possible price.

Ethernet cables such as the Cat7 and Cat8 are used mostly in corporate data centers where the cable does not need to be run at long lengths.

What is the Cat6a Cable?

Cat6a is the 6th augmented category of ethernet cables. Introduced after the Cat6 and 5e, this cable offers more speed and suppresses electromagnetic interference better.

The Cat6a cable is more reliable in terms of performance and lasts for a very long time. It is also backward compatible with the Cat6 cable which makes it more convenient.

Furthermore, this cable features 4 twisted pairs of 23 AWG conductors at its core. These conductors are made from bare copper in the Cat6a cable. The cable is insulated in a plenum or a riser jacket – depending on its use. For indoor horizontal and outdoor runs, the cable is insulated with a plenum jacket whereas the riser is used for indoor verticals, and outdoors.

The Cat6a ethernet cable not only supports the 10G application but is also ideal for 1000BASE-T applications, PoE, PoE+/++, etc. It is also certified by the EIA/TIA and complies with the RoHS standards.

Why Cat6a for 10G Networks?

Before you get the Cat6a Cable, you need to know why it is ideal for 10G applications.

As mentioned, there are other ethernet cables that can support the 10 Gigabit ethernet applications. For example the Cat8. but the problem with these cables is that their performance is limited to a short run length as opposed to the 100 meters of the Cat6a.

Cat6a Cable on the other hand is ideal in specifications for this application. You can run it at up to 100 meters and still get a 10 Gigabit performance effortlessly. It is easier to install and maintain. And lastly, it can be used with the Cat6 cable as well.

Because most residential and commercial LAN networks utilize the Cat6 Ethernet cable, it is simply easier to just use the compatible Cat6a cable for 10GE networks.

How to Choose the Right Cat6a?

Well, there are a few types of Cat6a cable and you will need to choose the right one.

The types are distinguished by the type of conductor (solid or stranded), shielded/unshielded, and the jacket type.
Mainly, you will need to choose a certain type of conductor, then you will decide whether you need shielding or not. And then, the jacket.

For example, for indoor runs in a residential network, you will first choose the solid conductor. If the network is crowded, you will choose the shielding as well and if the cable is going to be run vertically, you will choose the riser jacket, otherwise the plenum.

Bottom Line

This is how you choose the right Cat6a cable. We hope this article was of help to you.

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