Cat6a is an upgraded sixth-generation ethernet cable that provides high-speed data transfer rates.
It supports data transfer rates of up to 10Gbps and is the preferred cabling infrastructure for data networks, CCTV, and VoIP. It can fully support the fastest Ethernet applications because it allows 10GBASE-T up to 100 meters in channel length.
There are two different types of CAT6A ethernet cable, shielded (F/UTP) and unshielded (U/UTP). Which is the best Cat6a network cable, and what factors to consider? Let’s dive in to learn more.
CAT6A U/UTP specifies that the cable has four unshielded twisted pairs and no outside shielding. CAT 6A U/UTP is explicitly built to reduce ANEXT and cross-talk. (ANEXT measures the coupling signals between wire pairs in various adjacent cables.)
It includes using;
- More prominent conductors (at least 23 AWG)
- Tighter twists
- Additional internal airspace
- Internal separators between pairs
- Thicker outer jackets.
These characteristics also expand the cable’s outer diameter, typically from .25 inches to.35 inches for CAT6 cable. The between-channel signal coupling decreases due to the increased diameter, which increases the distance between pairs in nearby links.
You can improve ANEXT by loosely deploying CAT6A UTP cable in raceways and pathways with spacing between the cables. It contrasts the popular densely packed CAT6/5e cable runs.
The center cable suffers an undesirable effect from ANEXT due to the tight bundles’ configuration of six cables encircling one.
It takes effort and time to test for ANEXT. You’ll need to examine all potential wire-pair combinations to one link in a bundle of 24. CAT6A UTP cables can be tested in as little as 50 minutes.
CAT6A F/UTP means an unshielded/foiled twisted pair and comprises four unshielded twisted pairs enclosed in a foil shield. The foil shield creates a barrier to keeping EMI/RFI from connecting to the twisted pairs.
It reflects RFI from wireless access points, cell phones, and noise from machines, lighting, and other EMI sources. The foil shield also blocks data signals from leaking outside the cable.
The Benefits Of CAT6A F/UTP
The maximum permissible diameter of CAT6A UTP cable is 0.354 inches. The outside diameter of CAT6A F/UTP cable typically ranges from 0.26 to 0.30 inches. For instance, a 0.1-inch increase in outer diameter to 0.35 from 0.25 inches corresponds to a 21% fill volume increase.
CAT6A F/UTP cable typically offers at least 35% more fill volume than CAT6A UTP cable. Due to its wide diameter, CAT6A UTP requires the following;
- Thorough ANEXT testing
- Less dense patch panel connections
- More routes
- More effective bend radius.
CAT6A F/UTP cable does not meet the stereotype that shielded cable is heavier, thicker, and difficult to handle and install. CAT6A F/UTP cable uses smaller pathways and requires less bending. Furthermore, advancements in connector technology have simplified CAT6A F/UTP cable termination.
CAT6A F/UTP vs. UTP
Depending on various criteria, such as ANEXT, cost, convenience, and EMI, you may use shielded or unshielded cabling solutions. Though there are more benefits to CAT6A F/UTP in 10-GbE networks over CAT6A ethernet cable, both sides have valid arguments. Ensure that you consider all the variables to guarantee a system that can support 10GBASE-T applications.