Cat6 vs Cat6a Copper Cables for 10GBASE-T Network
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Cat6 vs Cat6a Copper Cables for 10GBASE-T Network

Posted on by FS.COM

The demands for high bandwidth keep increasing as the video and multimedia gain a large popularity. The data rate of 1Gbps is gradually replaced by 10Gbps. Of course, Cat5e cables used to support 1Gbps network are also out of date. Ethernet cables with higher bandwidth such as Cat6 cable, Cat6a cable and Cat7 cables are introduced for faster data rate applications. Here comes some questions–What’s the difference between Cat6 Cat6a and Cat7? Which is better for 10GBASE-T cable? This article can answer your questions.


Cat6, short for Category 6, is the 6th generation of standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet and other network physical layers. Cat6 cable is designed much in the same way as Cat5e cable. So Cat6 cable is compatible with Cat5e cable, Cat5 cable and other lower cable standards. Cat6 cable has improved its performance on insertion loss, crosstalk, return loss and can support the bandwidth up to 250MHz. It can be used for 10BASE-T Ethernet, 100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet, 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX Fast Ethernet.


Cat6a cable is Augmented Cat6 cable designed to support high speed data applications. Different from previous cables, it has larger outside diameter, larger minimum bend radius, and heavier weight. Cat6a cable can support the data rates up to 10Gbps over 100 meters at a maximum bandwidth of 500HMz. Cat6a cable is compatible with Cat6 cable and Cat5e cable.

Cat6a cable has to consider more about its configurations for reducing the alien crosstalk which occurs when the signal leaks from one cable into another. This can introduce noise and cause slower network speed. Therefore, the manufacture requirement of Cat6a cable must be higher than Cat6 cable so that Cat6a cable can work better when it’s bundled with a lot of cables.

Cat6a cable has better alien crosstalk because manufacturers produce strict shielding which makes Cat6a thicker. Cat6a cable can be divided into shielded and unshielded type respectively referred as F/UTP (shielded) and U/UTP (unshielded) cable. Cat6a cable is more expensive than Cat6 cable

Cat6 vs Cat6a: Which Is the Better 10GBASE-T Cable?

The above content shows that both the cat6 cable and cat6a cable are 10gbase-t cables. Cat6 vs Cat6a: obviously 10gbe Cat6a cable has better network performance than 10gbe Cat6 cable. In the IEEE standard, it states that Cat6a 10gbase-t cable using RJ45 connectors can deliver 10G performance up to 500 MHz with link lengths up to 100 meters.

Cat6 vs Cat6a

While Cat6 10gbase-t cable can support 10GBASE-T over distance between 37 and 55 meters depending on the alien crosstalk environment. But there is no 10GBASE-T application support assurance over short runs of Cat6 because alien crosstalk is highly dependent on cable density. And the cable quality from different manufacturers can’t be guaranteed. Besides, Cat6 cable can’t make use of power-saving short reach mode. Short reach mode can reduce power consumption by 1W per port when using Cat6 of 30 meters or less. So 10gbase-t cable cat 6 is not cost-effective and environment friendly for 10GBASE-T application. What’s more, Cat6 cable can’t dissipate heat as well as Cat6a 10gbase-t cable since cat6 10gbase-t cable has smaller diameter conductor. Data center temperatures are increasing. At the same time, cable insertion loss also increases. This is not good for network performance. In a word, 10gbase-t cable Cat6 vs Cat 6a, the former is not suggested to be used in 10GBASE-T applications because of various limitations. The minimum grade of cabling to be deployed in the data center should be Cat6a 10gbase-t cable. Which kind of Cat6a 10gbase-t cable to use, you can read Using Category 6A Cable in 10GbE Copper Network for more detailed information.


As 10GBASE-T network becomes increasingly common, it needs relative twisted-pair 10gbase-t cable to support the 10GbE system. For Cat6 vs Cat6a 10gbase-t cables, they were both thought as the connection media. However, based on the network performance, you’d better install Cat6a 10gbase-t cable for your 10Gbps link system. If you are using 1Gbps network, you can also install Cat6a cable as it can save you time and money for the migration to 10GBASE-T in the future. No matter 10gbase-t cable Cat6 vs Cat6a, all you can find on FS.COM. For more information about these cables, please visit our site or contact us via

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