What sets a quality Category 6A cable apart from the rest? There are lots of Category 6A cables out there, but some offer better design, performance and installation than others. How can you select the one that will offer the characteristics you need? Here are some questions to ask before you invest in a Category 6A cabling system.
Category 6A cabling often requires more twists in the copper pairs, larger splines to separate the pairs and thicker outer jackets. This leads to a cabling system that takes longer to install and terminate. Look for Category 6A cables that offer features to simplify installation. When comparing cable installation among Category 6A cables, ask yourself:
Because Category 6A cabling operates at frequencies twice that of Category 6 (up to 500 MHz), the cable is often bigger in diameter to better control noise and crosstalk. But increased cable size can make it difficult for the same amount of Category 6A cable to fit into a cable tray or conduit used for Category 6 cable. When comparing cable size and weight, ask yourself:
Category 6A cables have larger ODs (overall diameters), which require a larger bend radius. This can make it difficult to route cabling to where it’s needed, as well as maintain appropriate airflow between racks. A smaller bend radius makes cable easier to route and install. When comparing the bend radius of different cabling systems, ask yourself:
Small-diameter Category 6A cables offer helpful installation and ease-of-use benefits, but they can also cause problems if they can’t support the full 100-meter distance per channel. If this is the case, the cable needs to be de-rated to less than the full 100-meter length. In these situations, Category 6A cable may not work with top-of-rack, end-of-row and middle-of-row configurations. When comparing Category 6A’s ability to support the full-meter distance, ask yourself:
Awards aren’t everything, but industry recognition can pinpoint cabling solutions that offer performance and design improvements. When first introduced, Category 6A cabling was a bigger, heavier and delicate option. But Belden’s new 10GXS cable overcomes these challenges – as a result, it was honored with a Silver Level Innovators Award from Cabling Installation & Maintenance. Belden’s 10GXS makes 10G-capable Category 6A cabling a possibility for many data center managers who would typically deploy cable with less-than-Category-6A capability due to space constraints.
Throughout his career Stephane has worked in the telecommunications industry; in R&D, product management, training and marketing. Since 2014, Stephane as Director Technology and Applications is focusing on technology roadmap and ideation, networking applications and trends, and standards engagement.