You can find a wide array of ethernet cables in the market and if you are a novice, it becomes a herculean task to differentiate among different categories and find the right type for your connectivity needs. Today, we are going to discuss Cat6 Plenum Cable and will analyze it thoroughly to find out if this ethernet cable is your ultimate solution to your connectivity problems.
But before proceeding any further, let’s decode the term first. The “6” in the Cat6 points out the fact that it is a 6th generation cable whereas Cat is a short form for “Category”. The Plenum here talks about the type of jacket material which we are going to discuss later.
Data Transfer Speed & Bandwidth
The Cat6 Plenum offers data transfer rates of 10 Gbps over a distance of 50 meters or 164 feet whereas it offers a data transfer rate of 1 Gbps up to a distance of 100 meters or 328 feet. Though TIA/EIA guidelines clearly state that this cable should have a bandwidth capacity of 350MHz, there are manufacturers out there like NewYork Cables that make Cat6 cables with an augmented 550 MHz bandwidth capacity. It means the signal quality and strength remain intact and you enjoy uninterrupted and lightning-fast connectivity.
As we are exploring Cat6 Plenum Cable 1000ft here, it means the jacket of this cable is CMP-rated; CMP is an abbreviation for Communications Multipurpose Cable Plenum. The plenum-rated or CMP-rated ethernet cables are designed with the sole purpose of installation in the high-risk plenum or horizontal spaces of the buildings. Due to greater than atmospheric pressure in plenum areas, there’s always the risk of fire eruption and progression. With fire-retardant properties, a plenum-rated cable like Cat6 Plenum halts fire progression and emits no toxic gases or hazardous elements. Though you can use this cable for installation in the riser and outdoor areas too, however, it is way more expensive and it will be economical if you install a riser-rated cable in a riser space and PVC-rated cable in outdoor space.
Diving deep, now let’s explore the inner structure of the Bulk Cat6 Plenum Cable. The inner structure consists of 8 conductors that are tightly bundled together in 4 twisted pairs. To prevent crosstalk and electromagnetic interference, a spline is used to separate each twisted pair.
The material used to make these conductors is either pure copper or copper-clad aluminum aka CCA. We recommend you go with Cat6 pure copper cable as pure copper conductors have less attenuation (loss of signal strength) and are more resistant against all types of crosstalk and EMI.
Cat6 Plenum Usage:
Plenum-rated cable is made with particular insulation that is smoke- and flame-resistant. It must be installed in any space that handles air. Most large office buildings, for example, use the ceiling to return air to the air conditioning unit.
Furthermore, the oxygen is loaded into the space that was built with the goal of handling airflow. It could be quite dangerous if cable installation is not done properly and swiftly. Plenum cables are used at that point to assure safety.
Plenum areas, on the other hand, can be a major fire hazard. There are few barriers to contain smoke and flames once they enter the plenum region.
Plenum cables are made of plastic materials that are governed by the National Fire Protection Association standard NFPA 90A in the United States. When installing air conditioning and ventilation systems, this is the standard to remember. The NFPA standard assures that cables installed in plenum spaces are designed to meet stringent fire safety requirements.
Shielded & Unshielded Variants
2 factors that severely affect the performance of an ethernet cable are crosstalk (both alien crosstalk and next-generation crosstalk) and electromagnetic interference. These 2 factors become the cause of greater concern if you are installing an ethernet cable in harsh environments (places where crosstalk and EMI are excessive).
Before proceeding any further, let us tell you that EMI messes with your signals and not only disrupts signal quality but also lessens the data transfer rates. So, if you are installing ethernet cables in harsh environments, you need a cable that provides top-notch protection against these two elements.
And this top-notch protection comes in the shape of an extra layer of foil that is wrapped around all 4 twisted pairs collectively. Such cables that come with an extra layer of protection are called shielded twisted pair cables. These cables are much more expensive but provide excellent protection against crosstalk and EMI while ensuring seamless connectivity.
The cables that do not come with an extra layer of protection are called unshielded twisted pairs. These cables are ideal for places where crosstalk and EMI are of no or little concern. UTP cables are relatively inexpensive when compared to their STP counterparts.
Now that you have a complete understanding of the product, let’s find out whether or not a Cat6 Plenum Bare Copper Cable is an ideal solution for your connectivity needs.
Here is the answer to this riddle. A Cat6 Cable is your ultimate connectivity solution if:
- You need cable for the following applications: ATM PMD 155 Mbps IEEE 802.3 Fast Ethernet:10 Base-T, ANSI X3T9.5 TP-PMD (FDDI), IEEE 802.12:100 Base-VG, and 00 Base-T4, 100 Base-X IEEE 802.5:4/16 Mbps Token Ring.
- You need to install cable in the plenum spaces of the buildings.
- Or you want to future-proof your network.