Cat 6 ethernet cable is produced in a myriad of options to choose from. If you are looking to buy this cable, you perhaps know how varied its different types and variants are. A shielded Cat 6 cable 1000ft is different from its unshielded counterpart and a riser cat 6 cable is different from a plenum cat 6. The point is that buying Cat6 cables can be quite challenging without a good understanding of what it is and what their different variants are.
This article will walk you through the Cat 6 cable 1000ft buying process. Read on to find out.
Cat 6 Ethernet Cable
Cat 6 ethernet cable comes in 1000ft length but it must be installed only up to 100 meters or 328 feet. This cable is an enhanced version of the previous Cat5e cable. At its core, Cat 6 cable 1000ft features four twisted-pair conductors that are made from pure copper or copper-clad aluminum. More on the conductors later.
The conductors are eight in total which are twisted into 4 pairs. These four pairs are then separated by a wire separator which is also known as a spline. Keeping the conductor pairs separately within the cable helps reduce the effects of EMI and external noise on the signal transmission.
The outermost layer of the cable is called the cable jacket. Cat 6 cable comes in three different types of jackets namely: plenum, riser, and PVC. The plenum jacket of the Cat6 ethernet cable is the most premium whereas the PVC is the least premium in quality. A pro tip would be to always go for the plenum or the riser jacket when buying Cat6 cables.
In the next parts, we will go through the different factors that you need to consider before you buy Cat 6 cables.
As mentioned earlier, the Cat 6 bulk cable comes in three different jackets. Each jacket type is designed for a specific use and it has its unique specifications. The plenum jacket is made from materials that do not catch flame and neither do they emit toxic smoke. The riser jacket is made from materials that could emit toxic smoke if they catch fire but it is very unlikely that they will. And the PVC jacket is made from simple PVC materials that can catch fire as well as emit toxic smoke. So from a safety point of view, they are the least safe whereas the plenum jackets are the most.
Cat 6 Plenum
The plenum-rated Cat 6 cable is the safest of all and it is designed to be used in indoor air ducts and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) ducts. Plenum cable is mostly used in indoor horizontal runs where air can circulate freely. These spaces are below raised floors and above-dropped ceilings.
Cat 6 Riser
The Cat 6 riser cable is used in indoor vertical installations. For example in walls, between floors, and in elevator shafts, this cable is used. The main purpose of this cable is to prevent the propagation of flame from one floor to another in case of a fire event. Therefore it is coated with a fire retardant coating and it undergoes a vertical fire safety test before it is shipped out.
Cat 6 PVC
The PVC-rated Cat6 cable is rarely used now. However, it's designed for outdoor use and particularly in temporary runs. For example, if you need to run a cable from an outdoor post to an outlet on the outside of a wall, you will use this cable. Its plenum or riser counterparts can also be used for such purposes instead of this cable.
The conductor of the category 6 cable comes in a pure copper variant and a copper-clad aluminum (CCA) variant. The CCA conductor is designed for small-scale applications. It features a bare copper coating on an aluminum base. The pure or bare copper conductor is made from 100% pure copper through and through.
The CCA conductor of the Cat 6 ethernet cable is an affordable solution. It is fairly easy to install but can be brittle and hard to handle as well. Because aluminum is not a decently ductile material, turning and twisting this kind of cable can be a hassle. Moreover, it does not support PoE (power over ethernet) applications.
Bare copper or pure copper conductors of the 1000ft Cat 6 cable are highly ductile, malleable, and easy to install. The cables are more efficient at data transmission too and relay a strong signal without any interruptions. You can use the Cat6 ethernet cables with bare copper conductors for all kinds of use. Whether you want to run the cables indoors or outdoors, bare copper Cat 6 ethernet cables will cater to all kinds of environments.
Shielded v Unshielded
Shielding is an additional layer of protection against EMI and noise that is integrated underneath the cable jacket. It can be a braided wire mesh or a metal foil. In some cases, it can be both.
Some Cat 6 cables are shielded which means that they are more resilient to electromagnetic interference and external noise. These cables are better at relaying signals far and stronger.
Unshielded cables on the other hand lack this additional protection against interference. Hence, unshielded or UTP Cat6 ethernet cables are more prone to be interrupted by interference and external noise. On the brighter side though, unshielded Cat6 cables are easy to install.
Make the Purchase
Now, the only question that remains is how and which Cat 6 ethernet cables to buy: the answer is simple. For outdoor runs, you should buy the Cat6 plenum with bare copper conductors. If you are on a tight budget, you can also choose the riser-rated ones for outdoors.
For indoor vertical runs, buy Cat 6 riser cables with bare copper. For horizontal runs in indoor spaces, buy the Cat6 plenum ethernet cables. Moreover, you will need to buy the shielded cables of each variant if you are going to install them in high cable density environments where interference is higher. And bare copper conductors are always recommended over CCA conductors.
We hope this guide to buying Cat 6 ethernet cables has helped you in buying the right 1000ft Cat 6 ethernet cables.