Category 6a is an Ethernet cable standard that is often called Cat 6a. Category 6a stands for Augmented Category 6. The standard supports the transmission of large amounts of data at high speeds of up to 500 MHz. This augmented rating is twice that of regular Cat 6 cable. Both Cat 6 and 6a cables are comprised of pairs of twisted copper wire. The 6a technology supports 10 gigabit Ethernet and has improved alien crosstalk specifications over its predecessor. A Cat 6a cable may be thicker than a cat 5e cable – a consideration for installers who are making connections to a patch panel.
The 6a standard is fully backward compatible with the Cat 5e and original Cat 6 network technology. CAT6a cable is available in SFTP, STP, FTP and UTP versions. Cat 6a UTP is constructed with four unshielded twisted wiring pairs. When users buy Cat 6a FTP cabling, they receive cable with wire pairs shielded by a metal foil. STP cable usually has all of its pairs surrounded by mesh protection. SFTP cables have dual protection with an overall shield and foil protection. CAT 6a shielded cabling is designed to prevent alien crosstalk better than the CAT6 UTP.
Category 6a Cabling System
As network demands increase, augmented categories of cabling standards are introduced, such as Category 6a cabling. The original Cat 6 cable has run-length limitations when it is used for 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections. It is recommended that Cat 6 10GBASE-T not be run over a length of more than 55 metres. The augmented Cat 6 overcomes these limitations. Along with its improved performance specifications, Cat 6a Ethernet cable has a 10GBASE-T maximum run length of 100 metres.
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