Cat6a wiring is a common type of Ethernet wiring you’ll find inside a Cat6a cable. This type of wiring allows you to access the internet, and it does so at speeds fast enough for most modern businesses and commercial buildings.
There are many advantages to Cat6a wiring, including fast speeds, limited crosstalk, and power over Ethernet compatibility (PoE). Here, we’ll discuss the details of Cat6a wiring and take a look at why you might consider installing Cat6a wiring in your building.
What Is the Difference Between Cat6a Wiring and Cabling?
Before diving deeper into Cat6a wiring, it’s important to understand the difference between Cat6a wiring and Cat6a cabling. While similar, these terms refer to slightly different things within a network. The term cabling refers to the entire cable, including any insulation or sheathing. The term wiring refers specifically to the inner wires located in the core of the cable.
What is Cat6a Wiring For?
Cat6a wiring is found inside Ethernet cables that can support 10 Gbps and up to 500 MHz. It’s ideal for large businesses, industrial areas, and commercial buildings. It’s also ideal for any application where you need fast speeds and you need your cables to run long distances. It’s not as common in homes, but Cat6a wiring can work for residential uses as well, especially when a homeowner is looking for a fast signal.
Inside of a Cat6a cable, you’ll find Cat6a copper wiring. The wiring consists of eight conductor wires twisted into four pairs. These are usually color-coded, which helps you identify wires should you ever need to look inside your cabling.
Ethernet cables use copper wiring because it’s strong and it holds the signal really well. Copper is less likely than other wire materials to break, and solid copper helps Cat6a wires reach the longer distances they’re known for. Some companies may use stranded copper, but solid copper will offer better performance, and it will allow you to run your wires to maximum lengths. If you’re looking to buy Cat6a cable, it’s wise to ensure that the wiring is solid copper.
Cat6a Wire Twisting
Another important component of Cat6a wiring is the wire twisting. The copper wires in Cat6a cables are twisted to help reduce crosstalk and interference. This increases the performance of the wire, and the tight twisting is what allows these wires to run longer distances than Cat6 wires. Where Cat6 wires can work for up to 165 feet, Cat6a wiring can work for up to 328 feet. Again, make sure your wire is solid copper if you want to have good performance at 328 feet.
Twisting wires has a long history; in fact, it was Alexander Graham Bell who first twisted pairs of wires for communication lines. He found that twisting wires on telephone poles reduced interference and thereby increased signal quality in telephone wires. His findings have carried over today, where twisting wires within Ethernet cables is standard practice.
All wires within Ethernet cables are twisted, but some are more tightly twisted than others. There is no set standard for how tightly wires in Cat6a cables need to be twisted, which means each brand supplying wires will have a slightly different twist tightness.
The more tightly twisted the wire, the better the performance. Cat6a wires are more tightly twisted than any of those in a lower category. Most Cat6a wires are twisted at at least two twists per centimeter. Furthermore, each twisted pair within the cable is twisted at a different rate. Changing the rate helps the wires run the signal more efficiently, and it reduces the chance of interference.
Between the twisted wires, you’ll find a spline, which can also be called a cross separator. This is in place in the middle of the wires to separate the twisted pairs, which increases quality.
Power Over Ethernet
Cat6a wiring is also ideal if you have the need for power over Ethernet (PoE) in your business. This is when you run electric power along with your Ethernet cables. Using PoE is convenient because it eliminates the need for power cords. It works well with Cat6a wiring because it’s a strong wiring system that doesn’t see much of a disturbance from adding the power to the cabling. PoE can be used for a variety of devices, including video telephones, security cameras, av, and door access systems.
Who Is Cat6a Wiring For?
Cat6a wiring is for any home, business, or commercial property that relies on a strong and fast internet connection. However, the strength and size of the wires within the cable does pose a problem for people who need a flexible cable or have intricate installation needs. These wires can be more difficult and costly to install, which is something to keep in mind when choosing your wiring.
One of the major reasons to choose Cat6a wiring is to prepare your business for the future. As technology continues to change and grow, internet speeds will only get faster. If you choose to go with Cat5 or Cat6 wiring, you may find yourself installing Cat6a wiring in the future regardless of what you choose now. As innovations continue, new devices may not support the lower categories of wiring. If you want to future proof your business, Cat6a wiring is likely the way to go.