Cat6 without a doubt is the most widely used ethernet cable. It is because of its high-speed data transfer rates, voluminous bandwidth, variety in types, ease of installation, and affordable cost. Two of the most commonly used variants are the plenum-rated and the riser-rated Cat6.
These two cables are available on the market at different prices. You will find the same cable being sold at different price points. If you are wondering how that is possible, it is possible because of the quality. The same cables are actually not the same cables that are being sold at different price points.
The difference in cable quality is something you must know if you want to buy the best cable. That is what we are doing in this article. We will deconstruct, brick by brick, the details of buying the best Cat6 Plenum and riser ethernet cables. And we will also recommend the best places to buy the cables. Let’s begin without further ado now.
Cat6 Ethernet Cable
Before you embark on the task of buying the Cat6 plenum or the riser ethernet cable, you need to know a few things about the Cat6 cable. It is short for Category 6, which is the 6th category of ethernet cables. This ethernet cable is produced with 4 twisted pairs of 23 AWG wires – 8 wires in total.
The wires are made from either pure copper or copper-clad aluminum conductors. Copper-clad aluminum conductors, also known as CCA are the substandard ones pure copper conductors are the upscale ones.
Cat6 Cable Performance
Cat6 ethernet cable can transmit data at speeds of up to 10 GBit/s over 50 meters and over 100 meters, it can transfer data at up to 1 GBit/s. Both EIA and TIA have certified the performance and safety standards of this cable.
In contrast to the Cat5e, its preceding cable, Cat6 has a wire separator that keeps the conductor pairs getting in one another’s contact. This ensures less and almost no internal crosstalk in the cable. Internal crosstalk is the interference produced by EMI from one conductor pair in another pair.
Cat6 Cable Jackets
Cat6 ethernet cable comes in two main types of jackets. A cable jacket is an outermost layer that keeps the cable core from coming into contact with the atmosphere.
Plenum vs Riser: Which Cat6 to Buy?
Buy the Cat6 plenum cable if you need to run the cable in indoor horizontal spaces. For indoor vertical and outdoor spaces, the Cat6 riser cable is ideal. It has undergone a vertical fire safety test that ensures the safety of your network.
The jacket of the plenum cable is made from LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen) materials. These materials are highly resistant to heat and do not emit toxic smoke in case of a fire event. This characteristic makes the Cat6 plenum ethernet cable ideal for use in indoor open spaces or in plenums and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) ducts.
As mentioned, the riser jacket is designed to prevent the propagation of fire in vertical installations. However, it can emit toxic smoke in case of a fire event and therefore it must not be installed in indoor plenum spaces and other open spaces.
In short, for indoor open spaces, buy the Cat6 plenum and buy the Cat6 riser for indoor enclosed spaces such as inside walls and between floors. And for outdoors, there are exclusively produced cables with heavy-duty jackets. But you can also use the plenum and the riser cable since both of these cables are fairly durable. If you want the budget-friendly cable, go with the Cat6 riser.
How to buy Cat6 Ethernet Cable?
Buying the cable is simple and in fact, logical. You first need to understand your requirements and then get the exact cable you need.
Shielding is a metal foil or a wire mesh or could be both wrapped around the cable conductors. This shielding makes the cable more resilient to electromagnetic interference that is coming from other cables in the vicinity. You will need to buy the Shielded Cat6 if you are installing your cables in a high cable density environment.
Unshielded Cables do not have this shielding. And you will buy unshielded or UTP Cat6 cables for a home network or any other network where not too many cables run in parallel to one another.
Cat6 ethernet cables come in two types of conductors. Pure copper, also known as bare copper, and copper-clad aluminum also known as CCA. CCA cables are rather substandard and we clearly recommend buying pure copper Cat6 cables. They will last longer and are safe, and are easy to install as well.
Where To Buy?
Where you buy the cable from really matters. As mentioned previously, the quality of cable can vary from vendor to vendor. So be sure to buy it from a seller that provides at least some sort of warranty.
Buying the Cat6 cables is easy and can be more affordable than buying from a store. You can get all the cable you need to be delivered right to your doorsteps, and in some cases, you won’t even have to pay for the shipping.
Ethernet Cable Near Me
If you look up Ethernet Cable near me, you will find a multitude of options to choose from. Vendors selling different products and at different points. Buying Cat6 cable from a vendor there is not necessarily a bad idea.
By looking up ethernet cable near me, you will find all the best ethernet cable vendors who are based around your location. Not only can you buy the best Cat6 plenum and riser ethernet cables from them, but you can also ask for assistance if need be.
In a nutshell, you can buy the Cat6 Ethernet cable in the plenum and riser variants online or from your nearest store. Be sure to first learn about the cable, its types, and what you need. Then you can buy the cable online or from any store near you.