- CAT6 cable shielding provides protection from electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). It consists of aluminum-polyester foil or braided copper grounded to copper drain wires twisted around each cable pair. Shielded CAT6 cables are more robust and suited for harsh electromagnetic environments.
- CAT6 cable insulation is made of polyethylene or polypropylene plastic polymer. It provides electrical insulation and physical/mechanical protection to the conductors. Insulation damage can compromise cable performance. Thicker insulation also allows for higher voltage handling capability.
- Wire gauge for CAT6 cable typically ranges from 23 to 26 AWG size. Larger gauge wires have lower resistance but lower flexibility. Proper gauge selection depends on cable length, current carrying capacity and installation requirements. Thicker gauges are used for longer cable runs or higher current loads.
- Crosstalk is unwanted signal coupling between adjacent cable pairs. Low crosstalk allows cable pairs to operate independently without interference. Crosstalk is reduced in CAT6 cable due to tighter twists (30-100 twists per meter), shielding and quality insulations between pairs.
- Bandwidth refers to the maximum data transfer rate or frequency range supported by a cable. CAT6 cable supports up to 250 MHz bandwidth as per TIA/EIA-568-B.2 standard. Higher bandwidth cables support faster data transfer speeds and is suitable for advanced applications.
- Impedance matching is required between cable and connectors for optimal signal transmission. CAT6 cable has a characteristic impedance of 100 ohms. Proper impedance matching avoids signal reflection and ensures precision signal integrity over high frequencies.
- Other cables have different specifications. e.g.
› CAT5 – Up to 125 MHz bandwidth, 1 Gbps max speed. Thicker cable, lower flexibility.
› CAT5e – Up to 200 MHz bandwidth, 1 Gbps max speed. Improved shielding and insulation over CAT5.
› CAT7 – Up to 600 MHz bandwidth, 10 Gbps max speed. Uses shielded twisted quad design for even lower crosstalk.
› Fiber optic cable – Practically no bandwidth limitation and higher speeds of 40 Gbps and beyond. Not susceptible to EMI but more expensive and difficult to install.
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