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Cat6 vs Fiber: What Is the Difference?

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In recent years, Cat6 data cabling has become more and more popular for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. Recently, however, fiber optic cabling has become another popular way for businesses to maintain communications. So, as for Cat6 vs Fiber, which of these is best for your company? This article will show you how each works and what makes them different from one another.

Cat6 vs Fiber: What is Cat6 Cabling?

Cat6 vs Fiber: Cat6 CablingCategory 6 cabling (often shortened to cat-6 or cat6) is a type of data cabling that is standard for Gigabit Ethernet and several other network protocols which are not compatible with cat3 cables. As the sixth generation Ethernet cables formed from twisted pairs of copper wiring, cat6 is composed of four pairs of wires, similar to cat5 cables. The primary difference between the two, though, is that cable cat6 makes full use of all four pairs. This is why cat6 cable can support communications at more than twice the speed of Cat5e patch panel, allowing for Gigabit Ethernet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

It is cat6’s speed that has made it such a great choice for VoIP telephony, but there are some setbacks. For starters, there are length restrictions in using this type of data cabling. When used for 10/100/1000BASE-T, the restriction is 100 meters, and when used for 10GBASE-T, the restriction is 55 meters. Another issue is that there are some cat6 cables that are very large and are quite difficult to connect to 8P8C connectors (a type of modular connector used for communications purposes such as phone/Ethernet jacks) when the user does not have a unique modular piece.

Cat6 vs Fiber: What about Fiber Optic Cabling?

Fiber optic cabling sometimes referred to as optical fiber, which is completely different from cat6 and other types of structured cabling systems. This is because optical fiber works by drawing on light as opposed to electricity as a means of transmitting signals. As we all know, light is the fastest mode of transmitting any information which is great for businesses with the need for speed. And because fiber optic cabling has a much cleaner signal than conventional copper cabling, it is able to transmit signals faster than ever before.

Another great thing about optical fiber is that it is immune to electrical interference. This means that a user can run it just about anywhere, anytime. The immunity of light to resistance also allows fiber optic cabling to be run over extremely long distances. In fact, it can be run countries apart without any need for boosting or cleaning the signal.

Cat6 vs Fiber: Which Should You Choose?

If you prefer to stick with old and reliable, copper data cabling may be your best option for now. But be aware that soon, fiber optic cabling may be the only option as it grows in popularity. If you prefer higher speeds, you may want to switch to fiber optic cabling right now—it’s getting faster and better every day. Fiberstore offers both Cat6 copper cables and all kinds of fiber optic patch cable with different connectors. Wish it may satisfy your needs!

Related Article:
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Choose 10GBASE-T Copper Over SFP+ for 10G Ethernet
Will Copper Cables Still Be an Indispensable Part in Data Center?

Ethernet Cable Types – Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat7

When selecting the appropriate network cable categories to support your network, note that there are different grades within each Category. A higher grade cable with the proper installation will allow for a higher margin of error, ensuring top performance today and an extra buffer to support future technology. Properly selecting Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7 solutions will optimally support current and future network speed requirements. But which one should you choose among different Ethernet cable types? This text will give you some guidance.

Ethernet Cable Types: Cat5e has Replaced Cat5 Ethernet Cable

cat5e ethernet cableCat5 cable can support 10/100 Ethernet. That is, Ethernet and Fast Ethernet. However, Cat 5e cable can support Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet. Cat5e cable is completely backwards compatible, and can be used in any application in which you would normally use Cat 5 cable. Crosstalk is the electrical interference that results when one wire’s signal affects another wire’s signal. Cat5e cable has been improved over Cat5 cable in this respect, and cross talk has been greatly reduced. We all know that bandwidth is directly related to network support. The greater the bandwidth, the greater the information-carrying capacity in a given period of time. Cat5e cable is rated at 100 MHz, and it is this increased bandwidth (compared to Cat5 cable) that allows it to support Gigabit Ethernet. Since 1G is widely used today, the Cat5e has gradually replaced the Cat5.

Ethernet Cable Types: Choose Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet Cable?

cat6 UTP patch cableCat6 is a standardized cable for Gigabit Ethernet and other network physical layers that is backward compatible with the Cat5/5e and Cat3 cable standards. Compared with Cat5 and Cat5e,  Cat6 features more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise. The cable standard provides performance of up to 250 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet). We may notice that both Cat5e and Cat6 can support Gigabit Ethernet, however, Cat6 is certified for Gigabit networking and will perform better over longer distances. So choosing the Cat6 cable will be more stable to meet the Gigabit needs. But one thing you should keep in mind is that your network is only as fast as your slowest component, so unless every piece of your network (routers, cables, etc.) supports Gigabit Ethernet, you will not be able to reach those speeds.

Ethernet Cable Types: Cat6 vs Cat6a Ethernet Cable

cat6a stp cableThe latest standard from the TIA for enhanced performance standards for twisted pair cable systems was defined in February 2009 in ANSI/TIA-568-C.1. According to this standard, Cat6a is also called Augmented Cat6, which is 10-Gigabit Ethernet over copper proposal to the Cat6 standard. Category 6a performs at improved specifications, in particular in the area of alien crosstalk as compared to Cat6, which exhibited high alien noise in high frequencies. Cat6 specifies cable operating at minimum frequency of 500 MHz—twice that of Cat 6, for both shielded and unshielded. It can support future 10 Gb/s applications up to the maximum distance of 100 meters on a 4-connector channel. Compared with the Cat6, Cat6a is more effective and flexible. As 10G is more and more widely used, Cat6a will become more and more popular.

Cat7 Will be the Ethernet Cable of Choice

cat7 network patch cableCat7 cables are designed to support much higher frequency signals than Cat5e and Cat6. This allows Cat7 cabling to carry a larger amount of information. Cat7 cable is also able to better protect the signals traveling over the cable. The shielding as well as the tighter twists of the pairs in Cat7 cable lessens the effects of crosstalk and EMI. Cat7 cable is commonly terminated using a GG45 connector, which is a connector that it backwards compatible with the 8p8c RJ45 connectors used on Cat6 or Cat5e cable. The GG45 connector has four additional conductors that provide support for frequencies of up to 600MHz. The higher frequencies allow Cat 7 cable to support 10-Gigabit Ethernet. Currently, Cat7 is not widely adopted. Cat5e and Cat6 solutions sufficiently support the bandwidth requirements of today’s data centers, networks, and end users. Using Cat7 for a connection to a desktop would be unnecessary because the bandwidth would not be utilized. It may also be an unnecessary expense for many data center applications for the same reason. However, as technology advances and requirements increase, Cat7 cable will become more relevant in the data center and desktop connections.

Comparison of Different Ethernet Cable Types

Some specifications for Cat5, Cat6, Cat7 are introduced above, then I will show you a table. From the table below, you can see their differences more clearly:

Comparison of Different Ethernet Cable Types

Learn more about Catx Cabing  Jargon from Here: http://www.fs.com/category-5–5e-cat-6-cat7-cabling-jargon-aid-337.html

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