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Slim vs. Regular Cat6 Cable: Which to Choose?

Updated on Feb 17, 2024 by
37.0k

With people's demand for networks increasing, gigabit networks have gradually begun to replace 100-megabit networks. As a means of future-proofing your network, Cat6 is generally a common choice of gigabit network cable. This post will mainly compare slim Cat6 cable vs. regular Cat6 cable and give you some guidance about how to choose them.

Slim Cat6 Cable: New Cat6 Cable With Smaller Wire Diameter

Slim Cat6 patch cables deliver reliable gigabit network connections in high-density data center applications. We usually use AWG (American Wire Gauge) to denote the thickness of the wire, with the regular Cat6 cable being 24 AWG and slim Cat6 cable generally being 28 AWG. This means that the slim Cat6 cable diameter is significantly smaller than the regular Cat6 cable. The slim design also enables flexible cable runs around corners, in crowded network racks and closets, and through cable-management panels.

From the picture below, you can visually see the wire diameter difference between them:

Slim vs. Regular Cat6 Cable

Slim Cat6 Cable vs. Regular Cat6 Cable: What's the difference?

Some differences exist between the slim Cat6 patch cable and the regular Cat6 patch cable. The following will compare them from three aspects and introduce their differences in detail.

Appearance

The picture above shows that the regular Cat6 cable patch cable is thicker than the slim Cat6 cable. The 24AWG wire has a conductor diameter of 0.51mm. While the 28AWG wire has a conductor diameter of 0.32mm. Including the outer jacket, slim Cat6 patch cables have an approximate diameter of 3.8mm, compared to 6.1mm for a regular Cat6 patch cable. This represents almost a 40 percent reduction in size, and if utilized effectively, the size difference can lead to significant benefits.

Space Management

Cat6 thin ethernet cables are 36% thinner than regular Cat6 networking cables and enable flexible cable runs around corners, in crowded network racks and closets, and through cable-management panels. The slim design occupies less space in the data center than other network cables. This can generate better airflow and equipment cooling, which is not only especially important for machines with large chassis switches but also helpful for equipment maintenance.

Because the thin cat6 cable brings more available space, it is more flexible and easier to manage than regular ones. This makes it easier to route cable in crowded cabinets. And this is the reason why slim cat6 cables are usually used on high-density panels.

PoE Wiring

Both slim Cat6 cables and regular Cat6 cables can be used with PoE switches. When used in a PoE environment, the transmission power of the slim Cat6 patch cable is limited to less than 30W, which means that the slim Cat6 cable can only be used for low-power PoE transmission. However, we do not recommend that you use the Cat6 thin ethernet cables in a PoE environment. This is because the temperature of the cable rises as it transmits current, and high temperatures can lead to unstable performance. Therefore, if there is a need for high-power transmission, it is recommended to use regular Cat6 cables for more stable performance.

Slim Cat6 Cable vs. Regular Cat6 Cable: How to Choose?

Choosing a cable is a straightforward process that primarily depends on the network environment in which you intend to use it. For 1/10GBase-T Ethernet, both slim Cat6 cables and regular Cat6 cables are suitable. They are also well-suited for data centers and SMB applications. If you want to know more about Cat6 network cables, you can read the article Cat6 Cable: All-round Interpretation and Its Applications.

It is worth noting that thin Ethernet cables can enhance airflow in crowded spaces. Therefore, slim Cat6 cables are the ideal choice when used in high-density data centers. If you need to perform high-power transmission in a POE environment, such as connecting devices that require a higher power supply or for long-distance transmissions, regular Cat6 cables are typically more suitable than slim Cat6 cables.

The following table will take FS slim Cat6 cable vs. regular Cat6 cable as an example to help you choose them:

  FS Slim Cat6 Cable FS Regular Cat6 Cable
Shielding Type Unshielded (UTP) Unshielded (UTP)
Gauge (AWG) 28 (7/0.12mm) 24 (7/0.20mm)
Data Rate Support 1000Base-T and Maximum to 10GBase-T 1000Base-T and Maximum to 10GBase-T
Cable Outer Diameter (mm) 3.8 ± 0.2 6.1 ± 0.4
Thickness (mm) 0.55 ± 0.05 0.55 ± 0.05
Length (m) 0.15~10 0.15~15.2
Price $3.40 (for 0.9m) $3.20 (for 0.9m)
Cable Application High density data center applications Data center and SMB applications

Conclusion

Overall, choosing between slim Cat6 and regular Cat6 cables depends on the specific wiring needs and environmental conditions. It is vital to have a good understanding of the cables' features, advantages, and compliance with standards before making a decision.

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