TNS Comms FAQ's


What speeds can i get from Category 5E cabling

Category 5E cable runs at 1 gigabit but it is limted on bandwidth which is restricted to a 100mhz category 5e was first introduced in the early 2000 replacing category 5 cable which only worked at 10/100mbs.

Category 5E is used in most modern day networks but due to its limitation in bandwidth 100mhz many organisations use either category 6 or 6A.

Under the standards EN 50173 & ISO/IEC 11801 the cable grades have been replaced with a class of cable, category 5e falls under Class D cabling designers and consultants use the standards to verify the classification.

Also in the standards they have made some changes which manufacturers adhere to

cables are now classed as the following for Class D

  • U/UTP = Unshielded Twisted Pair
  • F/UTP = 1 foil outer and all four pairs unshielded twisted pair
  • F/FTP = 1 Foil outer and then individual pairs with an outer foil
  • STP = Shielded twisted pair normally braided shield and all pairs with individual foils

Always check the manufacturers guidelines and datasheets for indepth information 

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Category 6 cable has been around since the early 2000 and is installed in modern day networks depending on the clients budgets, most IT staff think that it the same as category 5e cable as both cables support gigabit transmission speeds.

So why choose category 6 instead of cat5e cabling

Cat5e works at 1 gigabit but only has limited bandwidth at 100mhz

Cat6 works at 1 gigabit but has higher bandwidth at 250mhz or some manufactures have manufactured theirs at 350mhz.

Due to the higher bandwidth cat6 cable is the ideal network choice in modern day networks especially in a unified converged network, and IP CCTV networks, video conferencing and VoIP networks, advances in applications have become bandwidth hungry and requires cat6 cable, as this reduces the burden on the network.

Some manufacturers also say that 10gig speeds can be achieved with the maximum distance of 50 meters with 10gige connectors, due to the misunderstanding installers still install cat5e cable as its cheaper and can achieve the speed of 1 gigabit and dont check the customer exact requirements.

Classification of Cat6 is Class E and also has the following like any other cable type:

  • U/UTP = Unshielded Twisted Pair
  • F/UTP = 1 foil outer and all four pairs unshielded twisted pair
  • F/FTP = 1 Foil outer and then individual pairs with an outer foil
  • STP = Shielded twisted pair normally braided shield and all pairs with individual foils
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Category 6 A cable is a copper 10gige solution and has a bandwidth of 500mhz most organisations have bypassed Cat6 and gone for Cat6A.

Most data centres now install Cat6A as a minimum requirement as data centres are bandwidth hungry most SAN (storage area networks) within the data centres that provide hosting and additional services use cat6A with a fibre optic backbone.

When we look at testing of Cat6a we need to take into consideration alien crosstalk this is vital in unshielded cat6a networks, with POE + and new wireless AC standards the requirement for shielded networks become the normal standard. By using shielded solution it reduces alien crosstalk within the network.

Category 6A types

  • U/UTP = Unshielded Twisted Pair
  • F/UTP = 1 foil outer and all four pairs unshielded twisted pair
  • F/FTP = 1 Foil outer and then individual pairs with an outer foil
  • STP = Shielded twisted pair normally braided shield and all pairs with individual foils

Category 6A is also classed as Class Ea the (A) being augmented a true 10gige Base T solution

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What is CCA cable

CCA stands for copper clad aluminium and should not be used for data grade cabling, unfortunatley this type of cable is sold to electricians and installers by wholesalers the box of cable looks exactly the same but weighs less than a standard box of cable. Some are even marked exactly the same and is hard to recognise for IT staff they put their trust in electricians and data cabling installers to install the correct cable type for their networks.

As cost plays the most important role in winning a job most untrained installers and electricians choose counterfeit cable as they are not aware of the issues they face, they buy from electrical or network wholesaler as untrained people advertise data cabling services as the industry is unregulated the end user gets a network unfit for purpose.

If tested using a level 4 tester it becomes quickly apparent that the cable will not pass the standard tests for its performance.

How to spot CCA/CCS cable

  • Check the end of the cable if not a copper colour in the centre then it’s probably counterfeit.
  • Carry out a burns test
  • Check the markings on the cable if it doesn’t have the grade i.e. Cat5e data grade verified to EN 50173 and other test standards
  • Check the markings on the box check the UL reference ID 

 

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