Category 6 Structured Cabling: good or bad?

Category 6 (CAT 6) is the fastest most reliable copper technology available on today’s market, no-risk performance and soaring headroom. This category enhanced cabling products like Patch Panels, Couplers, Cords and Connecting Blocks.

Category 6 is cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet and other interconnect that is backward compatible with Category 5 cable, Cat-5e and Cat-3. This cabling is specified in the frequency range of at least 1-250 MHz by the category 6 standards as determined by ISO, TIA, CENELEC and others.

Over the past 5 years, the majority of new buildings that call for structured cabling systems install category cat 6 cabling. Its features are more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise.

Cat 6 cable is good for end-users who need backward compatible structured cabling systems that support 10BASE-T / 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet) connections. The cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs, although each twisted pair is made up of slightly larger 23 gauge copper wire.

Use of Cat 6 cable in home installations has various effects. Some of these are:

  • Due to this cabling, no longer does the installer have sufficient buffer to allow for expedient installation.
  • When failures occur, this coupled with the need to revisit terminations that has made for tedious and frustrating installations, with lost time and money for all involved. The requirement for more controlled terminations has not existed for Cat 5 or Cat 5e installation standards.
  • Work practice variation would amount to some degree of variation within the tested result but sufficient headroom ensured adequate buffer for such anomalies.
  • Now with Category 6 standards, it is paramount that the structured cabling system of any high-speed network must be capable of minimizing or eliminating inconsistent installation methods that cause costly performance variations.
  • Once you get to the 250 Mhz limit for Cat 6, the wire is acting just like a wave-guide.
  • Cat 6 indicates that up to 2dB of NEXT can be saved by maintaining the twist up to the point of termination.