There is a number of different option available in the market regarding Ethernet cables. This makes the selection process confusing and difficult for the network managers. They have to analyze small things very carefully while buying the networking cables. The most important cables in demand these days are the Cat6a Plenum Pure Copper and Cat6 Plenum Pure Copper cable.
Both these cables come with different features and specs. They are known as high-performance Ethernet cables. Therefore, you need to analyze your needs first and then make a purchasing decision. Cat6 plenum cable is best for small commercial and home networks. Whereas, Cat6a plenum cable is best for huge commercial networks like in schools and hospitals.
What are the main differences between these two cables? We are going to discuss them in this article below. This will help the users to understand the working of these cables properly and guides them in making the right buying decision.
1. Data Transfer Speed: –
The main difference between the Ethernet cables is the data transfer speeds. Usually, we see huge differences in the speed limits of different cables. When we specifically talk about Cat6 plenum cable and Cat6a plenum cable then we do not find much difference between them.
Both the cables are capable of transferring data at a speed of 10Gbps. So, do we need to consider the speed factor too much while buying them? The answer is YES. Although they are both capable of delivering data at a speed of 10Gbps but not at the same distances.
Cat6 plenum pure copper cable can transfer data at this speed only up to 50 meters. In comparison to it, Cat6a plenum pure copper cable can hold its data transfer speed of 10Gbps up to a distance of 100 meters.
This is why the Cat6a plenum cable is the best option to install in huge commercial networks like schools and hospitals where the distance between the attached devices to the networks are more than 50 meters. The cable will hold its steady speed of 10Gbps up to the system attached at a distance of 100 meters.
On the other hand, Cat6 plenum solid copper cable is best to install in small commercial networks or homes where the distance of the attached devices does not increase from 50 meters. If the distance increases from 50 meters then the data transfer speed of the Cat6 plenum pure copper cable comes down to 1Gbps.
2. Bandwidth Comparison: –
The bandwidth of networking cables plays an important role in their performance. Cat6 bare copper cable works at a maximum bandwidth of 550MHz. on the other hand, cat6a bare copper cable works at a bandwidth of a maximum 750MHz.
3. Cost of Cat6a & Cat6 Plenum Pure Copper Cables: –
The cost is a big factor to consider while purchasing Ethernet cables. Cat6a plenum pure copper cable is an expensive option in comparison to the Cat6 plenum bare copper cable. Therefore, if you are not worried too much about 10Gbps speed then you can opt for Cat6 cable as well to reduce your networking cost.
Whereas if your budget limits allow you to spend more then you can go for the Cat6a cable option. Even you can install them in small networks as well if your budget allows you to do so. Although it is not recommended to install expensive Cat6a cable in-home networks because there is no benefit to spending extra money.
4. Interference Control by Cat6a & Cat6 Plenum Pure Copper Cable: –
Some factors impact negatively the performance of Ethernet cables. Therefore, it is important to handle them properly. They are usually called interference factors. The most common ones in the case of Ethernet cables are the crosstalk and EMI factors.
The place where you are going to install your Ethernet cable can be high or low with these factors. Therefore, you should be well aware of your network surroundings. Usually, these interference factors are high in the places which are nearby to high potential electric lines or the place where generators are present nearby or some other conditions.
In this case, you should go for shielded versions of Cat6 or Cat6a cables. The extra shielding layer on the conductor wires in these variants of Ethernet cables gives stability to their performance against these factors. They reduce the impact of crosstalk and EMI factors a great deal.
5. Conductor type – Solid or Stranded: –
There are two types of Ethernet cable you will find in the market. One comes with solid conductor wires while some of them are comprised of stranded conductor cables. The solid copper conductor wire cable is expensive in comparison to the stranded conductor wires.
Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. You need to analyze your needs and requirements first and then decide which one is better for your network. The solid conductor wire is a single piece of copper whereas the stranded one comprises a lot of copper threads bound together firmly.
The solid conductor cables are heavy by nature and do not bend easily. There is a great risk of their breakage during the bending process. Whereas, the stranded cables can be bent easily. The solid conductor wire works better against interference factors compared to stranded cable. The stranded wires have small air gaps in between them that cause in loss of energy.
6. Bulk Length Availability: –
Normally, when you design networks you need Ethernet length cables in bulk quantities. The major benefit of buying any cable in a bulk quantity is that you will get it in long lengths. This makes the installation process easy.
When you buy Category 6 cables in bulk whether it is Cat6 cable or Cat6a cable, you will find them in a packaging box of 1000ft. This allows you to install long cables in the networks without any joints. The number of joints in a cable reduces the data transfer speed to a great extent. This is why it is recommended to install cables without any joints.
If your network router is 100 meters away from the device you are going to attach to your network then this 1000ft cable packaging will allow you to get it done without putting any joints in it. This is a great benefit of buying cables cat6a and Cat6 plenum 1000ft cable in bulk.
7. Reliable Suppliers of Cat6a & Cat6 Plenum Pure Copper Cable: –
It is very important to buy the Ethernet cables from a reliable supplier. This gives you confidence when buying them. You will be aware of getting high-quality cables at the best prices. To locate the best suppliers in your area, you can check with the senior network manager who knows any one of them or you can check with your friends who install these Ethernet cables recently. This is the best way to locate reliable and trustworthy suppliers.
8. Fire Resistance Quality of Ca6a & Cat6 Cables: –
A unique substance is used to create the plenum jacket. Polyvinyl chloride is the name given to it. The wire jacket is incredibly safe and secure against fire thanks to this material. This substance has a strong fire resistance and inhibits the spread of flames.
Even if the cable is caught in the fire, no hazardous smoke or other material that might endanger human life is produced. Because of this, installing it in the plenum areas of building structures is thought to be one of the safest Ethernet cable installations. The plenum-rated cables are specially made to be put in the building plenum areas.
9. Reverse Compatibility of Cat6a & Cat6 Plenum Pure Copper: –
The installation method for Cat6 cables is simple. As a result, it is the people’s top pick. RJ45 connections, which are straightforward connectors, can be used to link these cables to radio frequency equipment.
The backward compatibility of this cable with all earlier Ethernet cable versions is its key feature. Because they can utilize this cable with the earlier models, network experts will find the installation process to be quite simple.
10. Easy Troubleshooting Resolution: –
It is important to keep in mind while designing a network that you may get trouble-shooting issues in future. Therefore, you need to resolve them quickly to keep the network working performance high. For a quick solution to these problems, you need to install Ethernet cables in a network of different colours. This makes the recognition of the cables easier while identifying the troubleshooting issue.
In this regard, Cat6a and Cat6 plenum cables will be the best option for you. They are available in different jacket colours easily. You can use these colours to make your network distinguishable. For example, you can use one colour cable for one department and a second for the other department. In future, if you face any problem in one department then you have the idea that there is a problem with this specific colour cable. You do not have to go through all cables to resolve the issue.
It is important to first analyze what you expect from your new network. This makes buying decisions easier. Once you know your needs and requirements, you can make the right buying decisions regarding Ethernet cables.
Cat6 Plenum cable is the best option for those who are designing a small home or commercial network on a limited budget. It will fulfil their needs and requirements efficiently. Whereas Cat6a plenum cable is for those who are designing huge commercial networks. They need more budget and resources to install this cable.
Small network owners can also use Cat6a cable in their networks if they are not short of budget and wants to experience the best results from their networks.