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Things you need to know about Category 6 UTP Cable

by: Kenneth Tello | 14 Dec, 2010 12:30:42

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Basic Information about cat6 cable and Installation tips

Prominent telecommunications organization EIA/TIA (Electronics Industry Association/ Telecommunications Industry Association) created standards for UTP cables in response to the popularity of UTP cables in network cabling. The established standard for UTP cable categorized it into 6 categories of wire: cat1, cat2, cat3, cat4, cat5/cat5e and cat6. However, among the 6 identified cable categories, only the cat3, cat5/cat5e and cat6 are used in Ethernet networks.

Though cat5/cat5e UTP cable standards create reliable and fast gigabit Ethernet network connections, an argument was raised by major cable suppliers saying “cat5e is only a short-term solution” in terms of data transfer capacity. The result is the establishment of an additional category to UTP cables – the category 6 or cat6 UTP cable.

Category6 cable or cat6 is an innovation of the cat5 and cat5e. It is a cable standard primarily used in Gigabit Ethernet network connections. Other uses of cat6 cables are in telephone services and security systems. It is made up of 4 pairs of twisted 23 AWG wires. Here are some of the facts you need to know about cat6 as well as its advantages over its predecessors.

Category 6 UTP cable is more advance

Indeed, cat6 cable offers the most advanced data transmission mechanisms in Gigabit Ethernet networks with its much improved strict elimination of noise and crosstalk. When setting up a network, using cat6 for network cabling ensures reliability of data transfer while reducing interferences during data transmission.

Category 6 UTP cable is faster and high capacity

Cat6 offers larger data transfer rate than its predecessors. Cat6 cable has the capacity to transfer 1 gigabit of data per second (1000 Mbps) – the main reason why cat6 is used in Gigabit Ethernet networks. In addition, cat6 is also able to operate at a bandwidth of 255 MHz. Cat6 cable provides you the unusual combination of high capacity transfer at a fast rate.

Category 6 UTP cable is backward compatible

Upgrading your network cabling from cat3 or cat5/cat5e to cat6 is not a problem since cat6 supports backward compatibility; meaning all the protocols, hardware, software etc. supported by its predecessor is also supported by cat6 – no compatibility issues whatsoever.

Category 6 UTP cable supports multiple Ethernet Standards

Cat6 cable is a standard cable for Gigabit Ethernet; to be specific it also supports wide range of network standards: 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet). Cat6 also expected to support 10GBASE-T (10 Gigabit Ethernet) Ethernet standards. Using cat6 gives you the flexibility to what specific Ethernet technologies to use on your network. The maximum segment length of cat6 is 100 meters (300ft) when used on 10/100/1000BASE-T networks.

Tips on Installing Category 6 UTP cable

It is important to know in advance that installation of cat6 cable is a bit difficult compared with cat5 and cat5e cables primarily because the twisting is tighter and is very difficult to split. Both ends of cat6 are terminated by a RJ-45 connector, using either the T568A or T568B color coding. To help you get rid of difficulties, here are some of the installation tips on category6 network cable.

  • Make sure that the cable length is not to short. Remember that once you crimped the RJ-45 connector, there’s no way you can detach it.
  • Once you have the desired wire length, cut the tip of the cable wire using a pliers or a scissors so that each of the eight wires are of the same length.
  • When splitting each wire, use your hand to avoid damaging the wires. As much as possible, be careful with splitting wires.
  • After inserting the RJ-45 connector, check first if the tip of the wires reached the innermost (metal) part of the connector before crimping.

Follow these tips in installing cat6 UTP cable and you’ll be sure to have a working cat6 UTP network cabling. 

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