Category 6 cable (Cat 6), is a standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet and other network physical layers that is backward compatible with the Category 5/5e and Category 3 cable standards.
Cat 6 must meet more stringent specifications for crosstalk and system noise than Cat 5 and Cat 5e. The cable standard specifies performance of up to 250 MHz, compared to 100 MHz for Cat 5 and Cat 5e.
Whereas Category 6 cable has a reduced maximum length of 55 metres (180 ft) when used for 10GBASE-T, Category 6A cable is characterized to 500 MHz and has improved alien crosstalk characteristics, allowing 10GBASE-T to be run for the same 100-metre (330 ft) maximum distance as previous Ethernet variants.
Cat 6, an unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) design, emerged as an advancement of the UTP Cat 5e, which was formalised in 2001. The design of Cat 6 required more stringent precision in manufacturing, and this enabled reduced noise and crosstalk, allowing improved performance. The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) published Cat 6 in June 2002.
Cat 6 cable can be identified by the printing on the side of the cable sheath. Cable types, connector types and cabling topologies are defined by ANSI/TIA-568.
Cat 6 patch cables are normally terminated in 8P8C modular connectors, using either T568A or T568B pin assignments; performance is comparable provided both ends of a cable are terminated identically.
If Cat 6-rated patch cables, jacks and connectors are not used with Cat 6 wiring, overall performance is degraded and may not meet Cat 6 performance specifications.
The category 6 specification requires conductors to be pure copper. The industry has seen a rise in non-compliant / counterfeit cables, especially of the Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) variety. This has exposed the manufacturers or installers of such fake cable to legal liabilities.
The standard for Category 6A (augmented Category 6) is ANSI/TIA-568.2-D (replaces 568-C.2), defined by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) for enhanced performance standards for twisted pair cable systems. It was defined in 2018. Cat 6A performance is defined for frequencies up to 500 MHz—twice that of Cat 6. Cat 6A also has an improved alien crosstalk specification as compared to Cat 6, which picks up high levels of alien noise at high frequencies.
The global cabling standard ISO/IEC 11801 has been extended by the addition of amendment 2. This amendment defines new specifications for Cat 6A components and Class EA permanent links. These new global Cat 6A/Class EA specifications require a new generation of connecting hardware offering far superior performance compared to the existing products that are based on the American TIA standard. The most important point is a performance difference between ISO/IEC and EIA/TIA component specifications for the NEXT transmission parameter. At a frequency of 500 MHz, an ISO/IEC Cat 6A connector performs 3 dB better than a Cat 6A connector that conforms with the EIA/TIA specification (3 dB equals 50% reduction of near-end crosstalk noise signal power; see half-power point).
Confusion therefore arises because of the naming conventions and performance benchmarks laid down by the International ISO/IEC and American TIA/EIA standards, which in turn are different from the regional European standard, EN 50173-1. In broad terms, the ISO standard for Cat 6A is the most stringent, followed by the European standard, and then the American (1 on 1 matching capability). [ failed verification ]
Soon after the ratification of Cat 6, a number of manufacturers began offering cable labeled as Category 6e.[ citation needed ] Their intent was to suggest their offering was an upgrade to the Category 6 standard—presumably naming it after Category 5e, which was a standardized enhancement to Category 5 cable. However, Cat 6e is not a recognized Telecommunications Industry Association standard.
Category 7 is an ISO standard, but not a TIA standard; it is a shielded cable with newer connectors (GG45 or TERA) that are not backward-compatible with category 3 through 6A. Category 8 is the next network cabling offering to be backward compatible.
When used for 10/100/1000BASE-T, the maximum allowed length of a Cat 6 cable is 100 meters (328 ft). This 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. For 10GBASE-T, an unshielded Cat 6 cable should not exceed 55 meters and a Cat 6A cable should not exceed 100 meters.
Category 6 and 6A cable must be properly installed and terminated to meet specifications. The cable must not be kinked or bent too tightly; the bend radius should be larger than four times the outer diameter of the cable. The wire pairs must not be untwisted and the outer jacket must not be stripped back more than 13 mm (0.51 in).
Cable shielding may be required in order to avoid data corruption in high electromagnetic interference (EMI) environments. Shielding is typically maintained from one cable end to the other using a drain wire that runs through the cable alongside the twisted pairs. The shield's electrical connection to the chassis on each end is made through the jacks. The requirement for ground connections at both cable ends creates the possibility of creating a ground loop. This undesirable situation may compel currents to flow in the network cable shield and these currents may in turn induce detrimental noise in the signal being carried by the cable.
Ethernet over twisted-pair technologies use twisted-pair cables for the physical layer of an Ethernet computer network. They are a subset of all Ethernet physical layers.
Category 5 cable (Cat 5) is a twisted pair cable for computer networks. Since 2001, the variant commonly in use is the Category 5e specification (Cat 5e). The cable standard provides performance of up to 100 MHz and is suitable for most varieties of Ethernet over twisted pair up to 2.5GBASE-T but more commonly runs at 1000BASE-T speeds. Cat 5 is also used to carry other signals such as telephone and video.
In computer networking, Gigabit Ethernet is the term applied to transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of a gigabit per second. The most popular variant 1000BASE-T is defined by the IEEE 802.3ab standard. It came into use in 1999, and has replaced Fast Ethernet in wired local networks due to its considerable speed improvement over Fast Ethernet, as well as its use of cables and equipment that are widely available, economical, and similar to previous standards.
Twisted pair cabling is a type of wiring in which two conductors of a single circuit are twisted together for the purposes of improving electromagnetic compatibility. Compared to a single conductor or an untwisted balanced pair, a twisted pair reduces electromagnetic radiation from the pair and crosstalk between neighboring pairs and improves rejection of external electromagnetic interference. It was invented by Alexander Graham Bell.
Category 3 cable, commonly known as Cat 3 or station wire, and less commonly known as VG or voice-grade, is an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable used in telephone wiring. It is part of a family of standards defined jointly by the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and published in TIA/EIA-568-B.
A registered jack (RJ) is a standardized telecommunication network interface for connecting voice and data equipment to a service provided by a local exchange carrier or long distance carrier. Registration interfaces were first defined in the Universal Service Ordering Code (USOC) system of the Bell System in the United States for complying with the registration program for customer-supplied telephone equipment mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1970s. They were subsequently codified in title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 68. Registered Jack connections began to see use after their invention in 1973 by Bell Labs. The specification includes physical construction, wiring, and signal semantics. Accordingly, registered jacks are primarily named by the letters RJ, followed by two digits that express the type. Additional letter suffixes indicate minor variations. For example, RJ11, RJ14, and RJ25 are the most commonly used interfaces for telephone connections for one-, two-, and three-line service, respectively. Although these standards are legal definitions in the United States, some interfaces are used worldwide.
Power over Ethernet, or PoE, describes any of several standards or ad hoc systems that pass electric power along with data on twisted-pair Ethernet cabling. This allows a single cable to provide both data connection and electric power to devices such as wireless access points (WAPs), Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones.
Attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio (ACR) is a parameter that is measured when testing a communication link, which represents the overall performance of the cable. AcR is a mathematical formula that calculates the ratio of attenuation to near-end crosstalk for each combination of cable pairs. ACR is expressed as a figure in decibels (dB), between the signal attenuation produced by a wire or cable transmission medium and the near-end crosstalk (NEXT). In order for a signal to be received with an acceptable bit error rate, the attenuation and the crosstalk must both be minimized. Crosstalk can be reduced by ensuring that twisted-pair wiring is tightly twisted and is not crushed, and by ensuring that connectors between wire and cable media are properly rated and installed.
In telecommunications, structured cabling is building or campus cabling infrastructure that consists of a number of standardized smaller elements called subsystems. Structured cabling components include twisted pair and optical cabling, patch panels and patch cables.
GG45 or ARJ45 is a connector for high-speed Category 7 cable local area network (LAN) cabling, originally developed by Nexans. GG45 provides backwards compatibility for standard 8P8C connectors. It has been standarized by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as IEC 61076-3-110.
Currently known as TIA-530-A, but often called EIA-530, or RS-530, is a balanced serial interface standard that generally uses a 25-pin connector, originally created by the Telecommunications Industry Association.
Category 4 cable (Cat 4) is a cable that consists of eight copper wires arranged in four unshielded twisted pairs (UTP) supporting signals up to 20 MHz. It is used in telephone networks which can transmit voice and data up to 16 Mbit/s.
International standard ISO/IEC 11801Information technology — Generic cabling for customer premises specifies general-purpose telecommunication cabling systems that are suitable for a wide range of applications. It covers both balanced copper cabling and optical fibre cabling.
The Ethernet physical layer is the physical layer functionality of the Ethernet family of computer network standards. The physical layer defines the electrical or optical properties and the transfer speed of the physical connection between a device and the network or between network devices. It is complemented by the MAC layer and the logical link layer.
A modular connector is a type of electrical connector for cords and cables of electronic devices and appliances, such as in computer networking, telecommunication equipment, and audio headsets.
Twinaxial cabling, or "Twinax", is a type of cable similar to coaxial cable, but with two inner conductors instead of one. Due to cost efficiency it is becoming common in modern (2013) very-short-range high-speed differential signaling applications.
In copper twisted pair wire networks, copper cable certification is achieved through a thorough series of tests in accordance with Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) or International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. These tests are done using a certification-testing tool, which provide pass or fail information. While certification can be performed by the owner of the network, certification is primarily done by datacom contractors. It is this certification that allows the contractors to warranty their work.
10 Gigabit Ethernet is a group of computer networking technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. It was first defined by the IEEE 802.3ae-2002 standard. Unlike previous Ethernet standards, 10 Gigabit Ethernet defines only full-duplex point-to-point links which are generally connected by network switches; shared-medium CSMA/CD operation has not been carried over from the previous generations Ethernet standards so half-duplex operation and repeater hubs do not exist in 10GbE.
ANSI/TIA-568 is a technical standard for commercial building cabling for telecommunications products and services. The title of the standard is Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard and is published by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), a body accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
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