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Cat6A Cable - Bulk

What is the difference between standard Cat6 and Cat6A cable?

Cat6A cable is double the capacity of standard Cat6e cable. This means Cat6A bulk cable provides a bigger pipe that can send signals much further. The standard Cat6 cable has a transmission range between 40 to 50 meters where a Cat6A cable can send a signal successfully up to 100 meters. When we say it is a bigger pipe it is because the pairs on a Cat6A cable are 23 gauge, and on a standard Cat6 cable they are 24 gauge. This means there is more copper and more surface area for signals to travel. The lower the gauge the thicker the conductors are and the more copper that is used.

What is the true Cat6A standard?

CAT 6A is the ANSI/TIA 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) over copper standard. It defines 10-Gigabit data transmission over a 4-connector twisted-pair CAT 6A copper cable for a distance of 100 meters. This ensures that the system is ready to support IEEE 802.3an, the IEEE standard for 10GBASE-T, which specifies using Class E-augmented cable.

What is the purpose for using the Cat6A cabling solution?

The Cat6A cabling is the latest and greatest copper cabling technology designed for high speed 10 Gigabit network requirements. Cat6A is also designed to increase network performance in long distance cable bundle requirements and PoE applications. Cat6A cable is also offered in UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) and STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) forms, so there is a solution for even the most challenging environments. Although Cat6A has been used in some residential applications, it is most popular in data center and big business network installations.

Will Cat6A cable work with Cat5e and standard Cat6 connectivity products?

Cat6A is backward compatible with standard Cat 6 and Cat5e cabling, but there really is no purpose for doing this. In fact, if you use Cat6A cable with lower standards you will do nothing to increase the performance of your network and you will be making the Cat6A cable worthless. In order to build a 10Gig copper network you need to make sure that every component within the network is Cat6A certified. This means all the bulk cable, patch cables, patch panels, connectors, jacks, and any other electronic components must be Cat6A rated. Since your network is only as fast as its weakest link, using Cat6A cable with lower standard products will be a complete waste.

What is the best alternative to using Cat6A cabling?

If you have an application where 10Gig is a requirement than the best alternative is using fiber cabling. Cat6A cable is not inexpensive, and since it is copper based it is highly affected by global copper prices. It really all depends on your applications and if you are cabling to the desktop or in a data center environment. Using Cat6A in a cabling to the desktop applications is usually much easier than fiber because the installation is just like Cat5e or Cat 6 cable installations. You are using Cat6A keystone jacks at the desktop and punching down everything on the rack side like you would with lower cabling standards.

What is the cost of a Cat6A cable network?

Implementing a Cat6A network is not cheap. The Cat6A bulk cable is twice as expensive as standard Cat6e cable, and the connectivity products are about 50% more. Knowing this you could implement at Cat5e network for a fraction of the cost. Installing a complete Cat6A network could be expensive, so it is important to evaluate your network needs and decide if it is really something you can benefit from. For some homes and businesses they will never have the equipment that could utilized the speed and bandwidth offered by Cat6A. So it may be an expense that really will not make a difference for you.

Why does Cat6A bulk cable have a spline?

The main purpose of the spline is to separate the cable pairs to maintain the proper twist of the wires. The additional separation of the cables pairs is meant to further eliminate near-end crosstalk (NEXT) and far-end crosstalk (FEXT). The category 6 standard does not mandate that a cable must have a spline, so the spline is purely and option that some manufacturers like to include in their manufacturing process. A spline has not been found to increase performance in a Cat6A cable.

Is the installation of Cat6A cable different than installing Cat6 and Cat5e cable?

There is not a big difference in the installation process between Cat6A, Cat6, and Cat5e. You still have to terminate the cable into connectivity products like jacks, patch panels, and connecting blocks. But you will find that the actual cable installation itself is much different. Cat6A is heavier and larger than your tradition Cat5e and Cat 6 cables. Actually the outer diameter of a Cat6A cable is about 50% bigger than a standard Cat6e cable, and a Cat6A cable is more than twice the weight of a that same standard Cat 6 cable. This increase in size and weight will heavily change installation requirements for routing and handling as well as the design of pathways and spaces.

Due to its increase in size and weight Cat6A bulk cables are is sold on spools. The increase in size of Cat6A also means it requires a bigger bend radius, so it is important to properly plan your cables pathways and ensure you have plenty of room for your cable bundles. The thicker cable will also require larger cable tray, cable D-rings, and cable J-hooks for support. Use properly sized J hooks and other supports to accommodate the larger bundle sizes. If you are using existing cable management you may run into space issues. In new installations just make sure you have the cable management products to properly support the heavier and larger Cat6A cable runs. Take the outer diameter dimensions of the Cat6A cable and choose the best products to support the number of cable runs you have in your bundles. Pulling Cat6A will also take more effort. The maximum pulling tension for a 4-pair balanced twisted pair cable must not exceed 25 lbs. (110N). Exceeding this tension will result in transmission degradation and may affect the system’s ability to pass certification testing.

Do I need a special tool to terminate bulk Cat6A cable?

Cat6A cable requires a traditional 110 punch down tool to terminate it onto Cat6A jacks and patch panels. You will want to make sure you have a heavy duty punch down tool because the pairs of Cat6A bulk cable are stronger and thicker. You do have to make sure you use Cat6A jacks and Cat6A RJ45 connectors in your terminations.

What is the definition of 10Base-T?

This IEEE standard, 802.3an, defines 10 Gigabit Ethernet running 10Gbps over balanced twisted pair cabling. (10 Gigabit baseband over twisted pair)

What is AXT or Alien Crosstalk?

AXT (alien crosstalk) is electromagnetic noise that can occur in a cable run alongside other signal carrying cables. The term “alien” arises from the fact that this form of crosstalk occurs between different cables in a group or bundle, rather than between individual wires or circuits within a single cable.

How do I terminate a Cat6A jack with Cat6A bulk cable?

-  Remove about 3" of cable jacket and center spline

-  Determine whether to use wiring scheme T568A or T568B on the Cat6A Jack

-  Leave the cable jacket within 1/8" of the connector side, then route the wires for termination using the selected wiring scheme.

-  Use your fingers to carefully seat wires into the IDC slots on the Cat6A Jack.

-  Maintain wire pair twisting to within 1/2" of the IDC.

-  Set a 110-style impact tool to low and position it perpendicular to the connector.

-  Seat and trim the cable one pair at a time to prevent crushing the inside pairs.

-  Place the termination cap over the terminated wires for secure connection and guaranteed CAT 6A performance.