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Slim vs. Regular cat6 Cable: Which to Choose?

Updated on Dec 3, 2021
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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 and worth the small premium in price. This post will mainly compare the difference between slim cat6 cable and regular cat6 cable and give you some guide about how to choose them.

Slim Cat6: New Cat6 Cable With Small Wire Diameter

Cat6 is a patch cable used to connect electronic devices in a local area network. If you want to know more information about cat6, you can check out this post: An Overview of Cat6 Cable and Its Applications. And for better airflow and easier installation, slim cat6 cable is designed. Slim cat6 cable is ultra thin ethernet cables, which is the thin version of cat6 cable. So what is "slim"? How to distinguish these cables? We can use AWG to describe it. We know that the cat6 cable is generally constructed of 24 AWG wire, however, slim cat6 cable is commonly constructed of 28 AWG wire. Therefore, the slim cat6 cable is significantly smaller in diameter than the regular cat6 cable.

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

Slim vs. Regular Cat6 Cable

There are some differences between the slim cat6 cable and the regular cat6 cable. Following will compare them from various aspects and introduce these differences in detail:

Appearance

In appearance, from above picture, we can easily see the regular cat6 cable is thicker. Because the slim cat6 cancels the cross skeleton in the original cat6 network cable, the cable becomes much softer. Generally, the wire diameter of the slim cat6 network cable is about 4mm, however, the wire diameter of the regular cat6 is about 6.5mm.

Installation And Management

From the above, we can see that the slim cat6 cable with a diameter of only 4mm is almost half the size of a standard cat6 cable with a diameter of 6.5mm. This indicates the slim cat6 can nearly reduce the cord’s size by more than 50%, which offers a larger extra space for cable managers and pathways. 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 slim cat6 cable brings more available space, it is more flexible and easier to manage than ordinary cat6 cables. This makes it easier to route cable in crowded cabinets. And this is the reason why the slim cat6 cables are usually used on high-density panels.

PoE Wiring

Both slim cat6 cable and cat6 cable can be used with PoE switches. However, the transmitted power of slim cat6 cable is limited to less than 30W. In other words, slim cat6 cables can only be used in ordinary low-power PoE transmission. Therefore, generally, if it is a high-power device, it is recommended to use a regular cat6 cable.

How to Choose Cat6 Ethernet Cable?

In fact, choosing a cable is very simple, it mainly depends on the network environment you are in. If it is just 1/10GBase-T Ethernet, the slim cat6 cables and the regular cat6 cables are both okay. And the slim cat6 and regular cat6 cables are very suitable for data center and SMB applications. For this application scenario, the FS 28AWG Slim Patch Cables and Cat6 Patch Cables are both good choices.

However, slim design increases airflow in tight spaces. If it is used in high-density data centers and SMB, the slim cat6 cables are the perfect. For this application scenario, the FS slim cat6 is the best.

The following table will take FS products as an example to help you choose them:

Slim cat6 Cable 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) 0.15~4.9 0.15~15.2
Color Blue, grey, black, green, yellow, red, white Blue, grey, black, green, yellow, red, white, purple
Price $3.1 (for 0.9m) $2.9 (for 0.9m)
Cable Application high density datacenter applications data center and SMB applications

Conclusion

The slim cat6 cable is a great alternative to other traditional cable, for it can save space, improve airflow with easy management. But it can't be ignored that everyone should choose the appropriate network cable according to needs.

Related articles: An Overview of Cat6 Cable and Its Applications

How to Choose the Best Ethernet Cable?

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