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Difference between Cat6a and Cat6 Plenum Cables

Cat6 & Cat6a Ethernet Cables

by harryneils525
Cat6 Plenum Cable

It is a major task for a network administrator to select the right type of Ethernet cable for their networks. A huge variety of Ethernet cables is available in the market. Each of them comes with specific features and qualities. Some of them are getting outdated with time and some are taking their entries in the field of networking. The most common names we heard these days are Cat6 and Cat6a plenum cable.

Both these cables belong to category 6 Ethernet cables. They are known as the best present-day Ethernet cables with the best specs. Cat6 is the older version in comparison to Cat6a cable. There is little difference between these two versions of Category 6 cables. We will discuss those differences in this article. We hope after reading this article, everyone can distinguish between both these versions easily and would be in a much better position to take the right buying decision.

The real difference between Cat6 and Cat6a: –

Cat6: –

It is the first Ethernet cable introduced in category 6. Before the introduction of this cable, the only choices available to the network engineers were Cat5 and Cat5e. These cables belong to category 5 Ethernet cables that are not as advanced as Category 6 cables are. This is why Category 5 cables are getting obsolete with time and they are taken over by category 6 cables.

Cat6 Plenum Cable is the first cable of Category 6. It comes with 4 twisted pairs of conductor wires. You will find different versions in Cat6 cable from which you can select one according to the needs and requirements. It is designed for enhanced performance and show.

Some versions of Cat6 come with shielded conductor wires and some have unshielded versions. Similarly, it comes with better resistance against interference factors like crosstalk and EMI.

Cat6a: –

This is an enhanced version of the Cat6 plenum cable. The letter “a” in the name represents “augmented”. This means an improved and enhanced version of the cable. The improvement in the performance and working of the cable. It has better specs and features in comparison to the Cat6 cable.

It is capable of delivering high data transfer speed to longer distances in comparison to Cat6 cable. Similarly, other performance features of this cable is also improved in comparison to its older variant Cat6 cable.

Some major differences between both these cables are described below.



It is cheaper.

It is more costly.

The conductor wires used in it are 23 to 24AWG.

The conductor wires used in it are 20 to 22 AWG.

Cat6 conductor wires are thinner.

Cat6a conductor wires are thicker.

Cat6 comes with thinner jackets.

Cat6a comprises thicker jackets.

It is more flexible which makes it easier to install.

Due to thicker conductor wires, it is less flexible and harder to install.

Cat6 is best to use at homes, offices, and commercial networks.

Cat6a can be used in all types of networks, even in data centres as well.

Cat6 is capable of delivering 1Gbps up to 100 meters.

Cat6a is capable of delivering 10Gbps up to 100 meters.

The maximum frequency range of Cat6 is 0-550MHz.

The maximum frequency range for Cat6a is 0-750MHz.

The conductor wires are not twisted tightly.

The conductor wires are twisted tightly.

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