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What is CAT6A Cable?
Last Updated: 01/31/2017

Category 6A (CAT6 Augmented) Twisted Pair Cable

CAT6A Unshielded CAT6A Shielded CAT6A Shielded Connector
CAT6A CAT6A Shielded CAT6A RJ45 Modular Plug

Description:

Conductor Gauge: 23 AWG
Construction: bare copper insulated conductors, assembled in tightly twisted pairs, in an overall jacket; includes a core separator between pairs; may or may not be shielded
MHz: 500 minimum
Speed: 10 Gigabit
Distance Limitations: up to 100 meters (328 feet) maximum
Maximum Bend Radius (4 Pair): four times the outside diameter of the cable (roughly 1.25" for most cables)
Maximum Pulling Tension for 4 Pair 23 AWG UTP: should not exceed 25 pounds force (25 lbf or 110 Newtons)

Application:

Data transfer within a network at 500MHz and 10 Gigabit speeds

Installation Considerations:

If maximum bend radius or pulling tension is exceeded and results in damage to the cable, it is assumed to be irreversible and the cabling is typically replaced. Repositioning or easing the tension does not necessarily undo the damage.

When suspending a cable run it is generally recommended to space the support fixtures every 48"- 60" to avoid undue stress.

Conductor pairs should not be untwisted more than 1/2” when terminating to avoid performance problems.

Cable with a plenum rated jacket has a minimum installation temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Installing below this temperature could result in the jacket developing cracks.


Common Options:

  • CAT6A UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair)

  • CAT6A STP (Shielded Twisted Pair)

  • CAT6A F/UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair with an overall Foil wrap)

  • Plenum, PVC or Riser jacketed

  • Outdoor rated

  • Solid or stranded conductor

  • Mini CAT6A - 28 AWG pure copper conductors and .19" overall diameter (versus standard .275") used for short runs (typically 55 meters or less) in high density data center applications

Popular Manufacturers:

Related industry Terms/Acronyms:

  • MHz (as it relates to category cable) – a unit of measure used to designate the frequency (transmission speed) of a cable.

  • OSP - Outside Plant cable is designed for use in an outdoor environment and suitable for direct burial, aerial, or underground conduit applications.

  • Plenum - plenum-rated cable has a special insulation that has low-smoke and low-flame characteristics. Plenum rated cable is mandated to be installed in any plenum (air handling space).

  • Riser - riser-rated cable will not have the plenum characteristics, so the cost will be lower making it more cost-effective when installing in non-plenum areas (such as vertically between floors – hence “Riser” terminology).

  • Crosstalk - unintentional transfer of signals between channels (i.e. between 2 conductors within a network cable)

  • Insertion Loss - signal loss due to the insertion of an additional component or the creation of a splice within a continuous path.

  • UTP - cable consisting of Unshielded Twisted Pairs surrounded by an outer jacket.

  • STP (ScTP) - Shielded Twisted Pair cable encases the conductors in a shield (usually foil) as a means of reducing the potential for electromagnetic interference (EMI). The shield may also be composed of a braided screen (ScTP).

  • Cable OD - outside or overall diameter of a cable.

  • Bend Radius - the minimum radius a cable can be bent without kinking it, damaging it or shortening its life. When cabling is bent beyond the specified minimum it can cause transmission failures.

Comparison Charts:

CAT5e CAT6 CAT6A
Megahertz: Minimum 100MHz Minimum 250MHz Minimum 500MHz
Speed: 1 gigabit *1 - 10 gigabit 10 gigabit
Distance Limit: 100 meters max. 100 meters max. 100 meters max.

*10 gigabit speeds may be attained in lengths under 150 feet

Note that Category 6A offers better performance particularly in regards to alien crosstalk compared to CAT5e or CAT6

See Also:

Further References:

  • BICSI article: Cat-6A UTP and Shielded with Component Rating
  • BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International)
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.)
  • ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
  • TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association)
  • ANSI (American National Standards Institute)

Associated Videos:

How to use the CAT6A Connector from Platinum Tools



Panduit Enhanced Giga TX Jack Termination



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