Theres a New Cable in Town CAT Ethernet Cables

CAT-6 is an Ethernet cable standard which was defined by the Electronic Industries Association and Telecommunications Industry Association (known as EIA/TIA). Category 6 cable, which is commonly called as Cat-6, is a cable standard for Gigabit Ethernet and other network protocols which is backward compatible with the Category 5/5e and Category 3 cable standards. Cat-6 features more strict standards for network crosstalk and system noise. The Cat-E cable standard provides performance of up to 250 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T / 100BASE-TX and 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet).

It is likely to suit the 10GBASE-T (10Gigabit Ethernet) standard also. CAT-6 is the sixth generation of Ethernet cabling standards. CAT-6 cable contains four twisted copper wire pairs, similar to earlier network cable standards. Although Cat-6 is sometimes made with 23 gauge wires, it is not a requirement.

The ANSI/TIA-568-B.2-1 specification states the cable may be made with 22 to 24 AWG gauge wire, as long as the cable meets the specified testing standards. Attenuation and Crosstalk are significantly lower in Cat-6 cables compared to the Cat-5/5e standard. CAT-6 standard supports Gigabit (1000 Mbps) Ethernet and network communications at more than twice the speed of CAT5e.

As with all cables defined by ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B, the maximum acceptable length of the Cat-6 cable is 100 meters (330 ft) in length. CAT-6 cables come in two main varieties, solid and stranded. Solid CAT-6 cable supports longer distance and works best where fixed wiring configurations are used, like office buildings. Stranded CAT-6 cable, on the other hand, is more flexible and better suited for short distance, movable cabling such as temporary cables. CAT-6 standard cables are significantly costlier that the CAT5 or CAT5e cables and today's applications can't take advantage of CAT6's better performance. However, if you are wiring a home or building for long term use, you may consider using the CAT-6 cables.

John Cicero has written articles on Cat 6, Cat 5 and Cat 3 for The Tech FAQ.


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