Smart Building

How Does Category 8 Compare?

Stéphane Bourgeois

With the Category 8 cabling standard to be published later this year, it’s important to prepare for what this new standard will mean for data centers everywhere.

Last month, we explained the basics about Category 8 cabling; this month, we’re explaining more about Category 8 cabling’s performance compared to its predecessor versions.


Category 8 Compatibility and Characteristics

How will data transportation performance of Category 8 improve over predecessor versions?


Category 8 cabling is fully backward compatible with Category 6A cabling, including RJ45 connectivity, and supports all Category 6A applications such as 10GBASE-T for a distance of 100 meters. In addition, the Category 8 cabling is designed to support emerging applications, such as 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T, which are specified over an extended bandwidth of 2 GHz for a distance of 30 meters. To achieve that type of bandwidth using RJ45 connectivity is a significant accomplishment. Category 8 cabling is a shielded system that provides about 15 dB improvement (32 times less) alien crosstalk interference.


Will Category 8 be physically similar to Category 6A and Category 7A cables to leverage existing infrastructure?

Yes, Category 8 will be physically similar to a shielded Category 6A system. A shield is required to meet stringent alien crosstalk requirements in a bundled cable configuration. Also, the components need to be designed to meet strict transmission performance specifications up to 2 GHz, which is four times the bandwidth of Category 6A and two times the bandwidth of Category 7A.


Will Category 8 be backward compatible with previous lower standards?

This is a prerequisite of Category 8 cabling or ISO Class I cabling based on the RJ45 connector. Any component qualified as a Category 8 component will also meet requirements specified for Category 6A and lower components.


While You Wait for Category 8...

While you wait for the release of the Category 8 standard, read our latest study discussing emerging applications that require Category 6A cabling.