Category Cable: Which Type Do I Need?
As many know, category cable comes in different varieties based on different levels of performance in attenuation, signal bandwidth, and crosstalk. Throughout the years, category cable has evolved from category 1 cable which was only capable of 1 MHz all the way down to category 8 cable, which has maximum capacity of 2000 MHz. What type of category do you need today? Primus Cable is here to help you figure it out.
Not only is category cable one of the most versatile types of cable, but it generally easy to figure out which type gives you the best signal for your home entertainment or office space. Let’s consider these basics:
CAT3 or “station wire” is traditionally used in telephone wiring applications today. Able to carry data at 10 Mbps, this cable used to be used for 10Base-T ethernet in the 1990’s. Today, modern data networks run at much higher speeds, so more advanced technology is required.
The most universally well-known category cable, CAT5E cables offer 100 MHz bandwidth, perfect for use in structured cabling for computer networks such as 10Base-T, 100Base-TX and 1000Base-T. For most basic networking applications, CAT5E capabilities are enough to support gigabit networks and be reliable at the same time. However, when your project demands more speed, bandwidth and the like, there are a few more options out there.
CAT6 and CAT6A (“augmented”) are continuations of the line of category cable. These cables have more muscle than the CAT5E, with greater specifications in regards to crosstalk and system noise. CAT6 cable can also provide 250 MHz of bandwidth and can even offer 10G speeds at up to 37-55 meters. With CAT6A, you can enjoy 10G speeds and also 500 MHz of bandwidth. However, keep in mind that you can only expect these speeds while running this cable up to 37 meters.
While CAT7 has not been approved as a cable standard for telecommunications, category 7 cable is great for data centers where signal clarity and EMI shielding are a great concern. With 10G operating speeds, CAT7 cable contains individually shielded pairs that work to repel electromagnetic interference (EMI) in electrically noisy environments. Our CAT7 Cable also features an overall tin-copper braid for even higher interference protection. Required on all shielded cable, CAT7 cable also contains a tinned copper drain wire which grounds electricity after cable termination. These features allow CAT7 the bandwidth capability of pushing 600 MHz. With that said, F-Type CAT7A Cable has a jagged interior jacket that allows for more bandwidth at up to 1000 MHz.
This newer category of cable offers blazing speeds when run up to 30 meters starting at 25G with max capabilities at 40G. Category 8.2 offers these amazing 40G high speed results to a greater extent due to its higher level of shielding and greater insulation. We recommend category 8 cable to our data center customers. While these perks are promising, greater measures of care must be taken to ensure you get maximum use of this cable, such as ensuring you have the proper keystone jacks, connectors, patch panels, etc. in your network.
What are you waiting for? Primus Cable has the essentials when it comes to ethernet networking and we are always willing to help our customers out. Let us help you pick out which category of cable is right for you by giving us a call today.