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An Overview of Cat6 Cable and Its Usage

May 24, 2019

Though the Cat8 cabling is now being offered for sale in the market, the previous generations of cables such as cat6 and cat6a cables still serve as the integrate part of a robust network. This paper focuses on the Cat6 cable, and offers an all-round interpretation of the Cat6 Ethernet cable and its usage.

What Is Cat6 Cable?

Cat6, short for Category 6, is an Ethernet cable standard defined by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Cat6 max speed is theoretically 10Gbps. Then what is Cat6 cable used for? As the sixth generation of twisted pair Ethernet cabling, Cat6 cable is mainly used in home and business networks. It is backward compatible with the Cat5 and Cat5e standards that preceded it, which is, to some extent, attributed to its being shipped with RJ-45 standard connector, same as previous generations of Ethernet cables.

alt Cat6 cable

Cat6 Cable

When deploying the Ethernet cable, there exists a maximum allowed length, within which the cable performs well. Otherwise, it begins to lose data or speed. As for a Cat6 cable, the figure is 100 meters (328 ft). This Cat6 max length usually consists of 90 meters (295 ft) of solid “horizontal” cabling between the patch panel and the wall jack, plus 5 meters (16 ft) of stranded patch cable between each jack and the attached device. An unshielded Cat6 cable, one of the Cat6 cable types, should not exceed 55 meters, the max distance for Cat6 10GBASE-T applications.

How to Make A Cat6 Cable by Yourself?

Sometimes the Cat6 cables showcased in stores cannot fit your needs. And the cable should be customized according to some specific application. In this way, one needs to make detailed plan before making the Cat6 cable. Then how to make a Cat6 cable in the right way? Here makes an illustration by the Cat5e cable production which is also applicable to Cat6 Ethernet cable.

Steps to Make A Cat6 Cable

Cut the cable to the length needed. The snagless boot, if needed, can be slid into the cable.

Strip the cable approximately 1 inch from the end with the stripper tool. Then untwist the wire pairs and make them straight as much as possible.

Put the straightened wires together closely in line with the Cat6 wire order and cut all of the wires at a perfect 90 degree angle from the cable, 1/2 inch from the end of the cable jacket. Take care not to “squash” the wire ends.

With the connector pins facing up, carefully insert the wires into the connector. Preserve enough of the cable jacket inside the connector to crimp against.

Place the RJ45connector into the crimp tool, and squeeze hard so that the handle reaches its full swing.

Cat6 Cables for Different Scenarios in Home or Enterprise Network

Cat6 cables can be classified into different types according to various specifications. For example, they can be categorized into solid Cat6 and stranded Cat6 in terms of copper conductor in pairs, and unshielded Cat6 and shielded Cat6 in terms of shielding types. With regards to cable jacket rating, the commonly seen types are CM, CMR and CMP Cat6 cables. Choices of Cat6 cable vary from different scenarios.

Where to Use Solid and Stranded Cat6 Cables?

Solid cable uses a single piece of copper for the electrical conductor while stranded uses a series of copper cables twisted together. Therefore, stranded cable is more flexible and can be used at your desk or anywhere you may move the cable around often. Solid cable is not as flexible but it is also more durable which makes it ideal for permanent installations as well as outdoor and in walls. Solid or stranded conductor cable, which to choose?

altStranded cable vs solid cable

Stranded Cable VS. Solid Cable

Due to high attenuation, stranded cable runs should be kept short to lower the chance of introducing even more attenuation into the system. It's best to keep lengths of stranded patch cables under 6.0 meters. It is common to use stranded patch cables for connecting workstation network interface cards (NICs) and outlets or between concentrators and patch panels, hubs and other rack-mounted equipment.

Where to Use CM, CMR and CMP Cat6 Cables?

The CM cables are generally the minimum jacket ratings of Ethernet cables, and are appropriate for installation inside a residence or a single-story commercial building. CMR cable is referred to as “riser-rated cable” and designed to prevent fires from spreading between floors through risers or vertical shafts. CMP cable is referred to as “plenum-rated cable” and the jacket is made from material that retards the spread of flames, and does not give off much smoke or toxic gas when burned. Therefore, it is designed for plenum spaces where the building’s air ducts are connected for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, such as raised floors and drop ceilings. Most homes do not have significant plenum spaces, so plenum cabling is rarely a concern for residential installations.

altCM, CMR and CMP Cat6

CM, CMR and CMP Cat6

Where to Use Unshielded and Shielded Cat6 Cables?

The unshielded Cat6 cable is a cable with wires that are twisted together to reduce noise and crosstalk. Whereas the shielded one is a twisted pair cable confined in foil or mesh shield that guards the cable against electromagnetic interference (EMI), so it is ideal for high-speed networks such as data centers where 10GBase-T networks are used, because 10G Ethernet is significantly more sensitive to EMI.

altshielded cable vs unshielded cable

Shielded Cable vs. Unshielded Cable

In a word, unshielded Cat6 can be used between your computer and the wall, but you will want to use shielded Cat6 cable in areas with high interference and running cables outdoors or inside walls.


The widely used Cat6 cable is recognized by its high performance and reliability. To put it into good use, it is necessary to know how to make and apply them properly. The appropriate application of Cat6 cables can, to some extent, save the budget and the install and maintenance time. FS provides pre-terminated Ethernet cables and bulk cables of varied types to cover your needs.


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