Written by Stu Kushner

Future Proof Your Business with Cat6a Cabling – Part 1

Although Cat5e and Cat6 Ethernet cables are thought to be solid choices for many structured cabling installations, there are good reasons why Cat6a is a better selection.

Although more costly, installing Cat6a might give companies a better return on their investment. Cable installations should remain capable enough to last beyond two or three technological cycles to justify its investment. An average of 10 years passes before a company re-cables its whole facility, unless it is forced to make the costly outlay prematurely if the previous cable installation becomes so technologically inadequate business is impacted.

Cat6a is certainly more capable that Cat5e and Cat6 in supporting new technologies. Power and bandwidth requirements will continue to increase as technological advancements are made. For example, Type 4 PoE (Power over Ethernet) technology will require at least Cat6a cable to deliver its inherent higher levels of power. Unlike its predecessors, Cat6a also can support 10Gig wireless systems.

The following will make comparisons of Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a for a better understanding regarding how the proper cabling can help future proof your business.

Category 5 Enhanced (Cat5e)

Introduced in 2001, Cat5e is commonplace in networks, and it is the minimum standard of cable that should be used for new installation. Capable of 1000 Mbps speeds at 100 meters (328 feet), an improvement on previous types of cabling, Cat5e features higher twisting rates of interior wires and uses four pairs of copper wires to transmit data. The design of Cat5e was intended to decrease crosstalk, which is the interference caused by adjacent wires emitting electromagnetic signals that cause errors.

Cat5e is significantly less expensive than either Cat6 or Cat6a. In circumstances where cable installation costs must be minimized above other factors, companies will typically settle for Cat5e. Moreover, Cat5e has greater flexibility than Cat6 or Cat6a cable, which eases its installation in confined areas, such as apartments.

Part 2 will discuss the characteristics and features of Cat6 and Cat6a cabling.

Progressive Office Cabling

Founded in 1986, Progressive Office’s success has been a direct result of years of commitment to seeking cost-effective solutions. Working together, Progressive teams are committed to getting your data cables installed and operating while minimizing disruption and downtime. Call our toll free number (800) 614-4560 today.

About Stu Kushner

Stu Kushner earned an Engineering Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. From there he worked at Boeing Commercial Aircraft, Hexcel Corporation and Case-Rixon as a computer design engineer and systems manager. He now works as the marketing director and project manager here at Progressive Office since its founding in 1986.

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