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CAT6A – The Versatile Networking Cable

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Category 6A data networking cables have been with us since 2005, with the ANSI/TIA standard being published in 2008. However, it is only recently with the increase in data rates and the number of attached devices that it is being recommended for LAN installations.

The standard for CAT6A is 10Gb/s with a frequency of 500 MHZ; however we also have enhanced CAT6A with a frequency of 625 MHZ.

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Specification 2.0, released in 2013. Whilst most applications will work with Category 5 and 6 there are perceived limitations especially if the cables are installed as a bundle. To achieve the full benefits of the HDBaseT specification 2 it is recommended that CAT6A cables are used.

The next generation of standards are already in development and will consist of 4 pair PoE to deliver power over all conductors; this more efficient delivery method enables up to 100W of power delivery at distances of up to 100m. The construction of Cat6A cables coupled with this delivery method allows for better heat dissipation within the cable itself, especially where cables are bundled together.

With the introduction of Wave 2 devices requiring data rates close to 2Gb/s and talks of an increase to 4 Gb/s the only sure way of ensuring the cabling infrastructure can support this is to utilise Cat6A.

It can be seen that there are many advantages to specifying Cat6a apart from the increase in bandwidth and data rates.

Article by Graeme Lewis, General Manager, Maser Communications.

This article also features in the September edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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