If you’re considering having network cabling and wiring installed at your High Point, NC or Greensboro, NC business or anywhere else in the Greater Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, then the myriad of voice or data cable options may overwhelm you. While there are others, some of the more common category (Cat) choices nowadays include the Cat5 cable, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, and even newer Cat7 and Cat8 varieties.
Cat6 cables continue to be the go-to choice of many North Carolina businesses we serve, and so, we’re going to spend the remainder of this page sharing the uses of Cat6 cables and additional details about its attributes in hopes that it aids you in making a more informed choice about whether it’s an ideal option for your needs. Feel free to reach out to our information technology (IT) experts at Triad Network Systems if you have any additional questions not addressed below.
What Is Cat6 Cable?
Cat6 cabling is a versatile type of cable that offers many benefits for businesses and organizations in High Point or Greensboro looking to have efficient high-speed networks. Cat 6 is the sixth generation of ethernet cabling used for home and workplace networks. The Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) set the standards for ethernet network cabling.
Cat 6 cables are backwards compatible with Cat3, Cat5, and Cat 5e cabling, so NC companies can use this newer network cabling option in conjunction with existing networks without issue. However, the obvious benefit associated with Cat6 cabling is that it offers faster data transfer speeds and higher bandwidth than Cat5 and previous generations of cables do. Additionally, Cat6 cabling is more resistant to interference than other types of cables, making it a better choice for busy networks.
Cat 6 Cable Characteristics
Cat6 network cable has some technical upgrades compared to previous generations of ethernet cabling. The most crucial difference is that the Cat6 twisted-pair is made from different gauge wiring. Cat 6 cables are constructed from thicker 23 gauge wire versus the thinner 24 gauge wires used to manufacture Cat 5 cables. Additionally, the foil and braided shielding used for Cat6 cable construction helps reduce crosstalk or signal interference between the pairs of wires and also supports higher data transfer speeds.
Other essential facts about Cat6 network cables include:
- Supports data transfer speeds up to 1,000 Mbps (or one gigabit per second)
- It utilizes the same RJ45 standard connector as previous generations of cabling used, giving it the versatility to be a flexible option.
- This cabling can accommodate up to a 10-gigabit ethernet connection; however, only at a limited distance of no more than 180 feet for a single cable.
- The enhanced version of Cat6, called Cat 6a, can support higher speeds like 10 gigabytes at greater distances.
Versatile Applications for Cat6 Ethernet Cables
The most common application for Cat cabling is ethernet networks in Greensboro area homes and most High Point businesses or for medium data and power needs. With the ever-growing demand for faster data speeds, Cat6a cabling is also used more frequently for applications such as video streaming and conferencing, gaming, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems, servers, and storage area networks. However, Cat6 ethernet cables may also be utilized for:
- Access Controls: The increased speed and security of Cat6 cabling make it an excellent option for access control systems that require fast data processing and transmission.
- Closed-Captioned Television (CCTV): The increased speed of Cat6 cabling is also beneficial for CCTV systems that need to send and receive data quickly.
- Point-of-Sale Functions: The reliability and speed of Cat6 cabling make it an excellent option for restaurants’ or retailers’ POS systems. It's a perfect option if businesses need to transmit data quickly and accurately to payment processors or even record updated inventory or sales data in an in-house, local area network or off-premises, cloud-based proprietary database.
Benefits of Cat6 Cable
The main benefits of Cat cabling are the increased speed and reliability compared to previous generations of ethernet internet cabling. Some of the benefits of Cat 6 cable use include:
- Higher Bandwidth: Cat 6 cables can handle higher bandwidths than a previous generation one like a Cat 5. This increased bandwidth directly correlates to faster data transfer speeds.
- Reduced Crosstalk: The thicker 23-gauge wire used in Cat 6 cabling reduces crosstalk, or signal interference, between the pairs of wires. This helps to maintain a clear signal and also supports higher data transfer speeds.
- Reliability: The sturdier construction of Cat6 cabling makes it more reliable than earlier generation Cat cables.
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How To Choose the Right Cabling for Your Needs
As you can see, Cat6 internet cables offer a variety of benefits over previous generations of cabling. However, when choosing the proper ethernet cabling for your needs, you should consider more than the crosstalk feature and supported speeds. To select the appropriate cable, consider these factors:
- Copper Cables: Cat6 ethernet cables are made of copper wire, the most common material used for manufacturing them. Copper cables are more affordable than fiber optic cables and can be used with most devices.
- Length: The cable length you will need depends on the distance between devices. The maximum size for Cat cabling stretches 100 meters (about 328 feet). Longer cables may work, but they will have a lower data transfer rate.
Consumers should remember that Cat6 cables work well but are more expensive than Cat5 cabling. If affordability is a concern, it’s important to note that some Cat5 options, like Cat5e cable, may work well for higher data transfer speeds.
How Triad Network Systems Can Help You Choose The Best Ethernet Cable For Your Needs
While many types of network cabling are available, Cat6 ethernet cables ensure optimal page load and data transfer needs that most residents and businesses have come to expect in Greensboro and High Point, NC. While Cat6 cabling installation is more expensive than Cat5, we’re confident you’ll find that the increased speed and reliability benefits are worth the cost.
Our Triad Network Systems team can assess your North Carolina Triad company’s needs and give you a better idea of what will give you the functionality you’re looking for while also meeting your pricing requirements. Reach out to our team of experienced IT specialists to discuss your questions about Cat6 network cable and other structured cabling concerns or to get on our schedule to have Cat6 cable installed at your home or business.