Cat6 Ethernet cable has become the standard for high-speed networking over copper. But with all of the information out there on Cat6 and its plenum and riser types, it’s easy to get confused about what it really does and how it does it. So much so that you will find contradicting information about bulk Cat6 ethernet cabling.
So we debunk the 9 common misconceptions about Cat6 ethernet cabling in this article. Keep reading to find out.
There is no difference between Cat5e and Cat6 cable
In the world of networking, there is only one true distinction when it comes to ethernet cable: the wire gauge. The other labeling you may see on a package of ethernet cables doesn't really mean anything in terms of quality or performance.
This means that the 23 AWG Cat6 cable is far better as compared to the Cat5e cable. Cat5e has a maximum data rate of up to 100 MBit/s over 100 meters. So if you were led to believe that both of these cables are the same, you now know the truth: Cat6 supports 100BASE-TX/1000BASE-T whereas Cat5e only supports 100BASE-TX.
Cat6 plenum 1000ft is always thicker than Cat5e cable
It turns out that not all Category 6 cables are thicker than their predecessor, Category 5e cables. In fact, there are several factors that determine the thickness of a cable: the amount of copper in the wire used to make it and how tightly wound the wire is.
Although rarely, Cat5e cables are produced in shielded variants. And shielded Cat5e cables are much thicker as compared to unshielded Cat6. So from now on, you can expect a Cat5e cable to be thicker than a Cat6 plenum 1000ft.
But that does not necessarily mean that the thicker Cat5e cable is better than the relatively thinner Cat6.
Cat6 cable is difficult to terminate
The most common misconception about cat 6 ethernet cables is that they are difficult to terminate. In reality, the process is relatively simple. The tools needed for termination include a wire cutter, a wire stripper, and a crimping tool.
Many people choose to use a crimping tool that can be used with RJ-45 connectors, but there are also other popular tools available such as a punch-down tool.
The next step is to cut the cable into two pieces using the wire cutter. Then remove 1/2 inch of insulation from both ends of the cable using the wire stripper. Then put it into your crimping tool to make contact with each individual wire inside of the bundle. So terminating the bulk Cat6 cables is that simple.
Cat6 cable is not available in plenum-rated versions
Another common misconception about cat6 ethernet cabling is that it's not available in plenum-rated versions. That could not be any further from the truth. In fact, the plenum-rated Cat6 ethernet cables known as Cat6 plenum are the top-selling version of category 6 cabling.
This misconception is likely due to the fact that earlier versions of the standard didn't offer plenum-rated options.
Tip: If you're installing your own cabling, be sure to select a cable with UL recognition (for safety) and suitable for use in humid locations (if applicable). For extra peace of mind, you can opt for an installer who offers lifetime warranties on their products too.
Cat6 is only for gigabit Ethernet
The 5th common misconception about cat6 cable is that it only supports gigabit ethernet speeds. Cat6 cable supports speeds up to 1 gigabit per second as well as 100 MBit/s. That is perhaps one of the reasons for its wide use in all kinds of networks.
People also seem to believe that using higher-quality cables can reduce risk and make your internet connection more reliable. As it turns out, this isn't actually true at all! Higher-quality cables might be better for data transmission because they have more bandwidth and less interference, but they won't improve stability or reliability in any way whatsoever.
10BASE-T Ethernet over Cat6 cable is possible
According to IEEE standards, 10 BASE-T ethernet speed is when the data is transferred at 10 gigabits per second over 100 meters. But Cat6 ethernet cable can only achieve that speed over 50 meters.
So when someone says Cat6 cable supports 10gigabit speeds, they do not necessarily mean 10BASE-T which is what people seem to believe.
100 Gigabit Ethernet over category 6 is possible
Cat 6 cabling can transmit data at a rate of up to 1000 Mbit/s. The maximum possible speed for the Cat 5e cable is 100 Mbit/s and for Cat 6 cable it is 1 Gbit/s. Category 6 cables are recommended for Gigabit Ethernet applications. 10 Gigabit Ethernet over category 6 is not possible as the standard does not provide enough bandwidth.
Cat6 Plenum 1000ft is Expensive
Cat6 plenum 1000ft is the highest-rated variant of the Cat6 cabling. It is defined by its communications multipurpose plenum jacket. This jacket is highly resistant to flame, heat, humidity, and other harsh environments.
But people are led to believe that this is an expensive cable. We disagree. The value this cable provides users in the long term is far greater than its costs. And if you compare the Plenum Cable 1000ft with other cables, it is still inexpensive because it lasts forever, is safe, and easy to install.
All Cat6 cables are backward compatible with older equipment
Some people think that all category 6 cables are backward compatible with older equipment and they can use any cable they want. There is some truth to this, but if you are connecting two pieces of equipment that require a different standard, then you will need to make sure the cabling matches.
For example, if you have an older piece of equipment and a newer one, then it does not matter what type of cable you use as long as both ends are the same. But if your older device only has a cat5e port and your newer device has a cat7 port then you cannot use this mix of cables because the standards don't match up.
Simply put, the Cat6 ethernet cable and all of its variants including the 1000ft Cat6 plenum are commonly misinterpreted. We hope this blog helped you clear those misunderstandings about category 6 cabling.