Shocked! Most Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet Cables Fail to Meet the Rated Specification

Recently, a number of reports indicate that most open-market patch cords, such as Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet cables, do not meet the standard specifications. In fact, the result comes as no surprise. There are two versions of the specifications, TIA and ISO (ISO is more stricter than TIA), but neither of these standards involves enforcement organization or licensing. Vendors get away with inferior Ethernet cable because the average consumer is the least able to buy the equipment worth $10,000 to check the purchase against specifications.

alt Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet cable

Why Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet Cable Do Not Meet the Standard?

The cat5e patch cable we used is designed to meet performance specifications up to 100 MHz (as specified in TIA-568-C.2), enabling it to handle common 100Base-T and 1000Base-T wired networks. The cable cat6 has higher performance confirmed to 250 MHz; enabling it to handle 10GbE wired networks. However, many vendors do not take specification compliance seriously because the transmission rate of the standard Ethernet cable and inferior Ethernet cable cannot be judged easily by non-professionals, but only by cable test devices. So some vendors manufacture Ethernet cables to very lax quality standards, which leads the good and the bad patch cords are intermingled on the market.

What Are the Consequences of Cat5e/Cat6 Not Meeting the Standard?

Assuming that your network switches are all set up correctly, the bad links will slow down by themselves, but the rest of the network will run at full speed. Otherwise, the switches will turn down the speed of every link due to one bad link, and the whole node slows down. This will affect your network transmission rate and data transmission. What’s worse, inferior Ethernet cables sooner or later will cause poor network performance and could even damage active equipment. Installing counterfeit cables is a risk that eventually will have an expensive cost of maintenance.

How to Avoid Buying Inferior Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet Cables?

So if you want to avoid buying counterfeit cables, you have to make sure the following four points.

alt Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet Cable

Use Ethernet Cable Passed the Fluke Test

The Fluke test is considered as the most authoritative criteria for telling the quality of an Ethernet cable. This test includes patch cord testing and channel testing for Ethernet patch cables, and permanent link testing for bulk network cables. For Ethernet patch cables, the channel standard is not the applicable specification and is much easier to pass. Therefore cables passing the patch cord testing have higher performance.

Use Ethernet Cable With Oxygen-Free Copper Wire

The conductor material of copper-clad-steel or copper-clad-aluminum is a classic method manufacturer use in order to save money, which is easy to cause high attenuation and poorly signal. It is the purity of copper that determines the Ethernet cable quality. The purer the copper wire is, the less signal loss you will suffer. The purity of copper in descending order is oxygen-free copper > pure copper > bare copper > copper clad aluminum > copper-clad-steel. So you’d better choose oxygen-free copper wires. To learn more about choosing the best network cable wire, please read Network Cable Wire: Oxygen-Free Copper VS Pure Copper VS Copper Clad Aluminum VS Aluminum

Use Ethernet Cable With Fire-Proof Cable Jacket

There are two types of Ethernet cable jacket, non-flame retardant, and flame retardant jacket. Maybe not every application requires a cable to have a flame retardant jacket, but when needed, it is critical for cables to have a flame retardant jacket for safety concern. Normally Ethernet cables with PVC CM and CMP jacket are commonly used in patch cabling environment. However, some manufacturers replace CM and CMP flammability rating with inferior non-fireproof jacket material. That’s one point you would not want to miss.

Use Ethernet Cable Made By Reliable Manufacturers

Last but not least, instead of buying the cable test devices, you need to select reliable sellers that can provide the Fluke test reports and product details of above. Buying cables from a reliable manufacturer is directly related to your cable performance.

Conclusion

Choosing reliable manufacture is half the success of choosing a qualified Ethernet cable. Every Ethernet patch cables FS sells comes with its individual Fluke test report, showing that it meets the rated specification. If it doesn’t, FS won’t sell it. We manufacture the patch cable with top-quality oxygen-free copper and environment-friendly CM flame retardant jacket, and we certification-test every cable to ensure the performance. You’re welcomed to visit www.fs.com to find what you need.

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Will Cat6 Patch Panel Work with Cat6a Cable?

As information technology develops, we have to upgrade our network products such as the cables, patch panels, etc. Besides, to reduce our data center’s cost, we are tempted to use the old and new ones to make a mixed connection. For instance, run Cat6a cables on Cat6 patch panel. However, does it work? Is it a reliable connection? Here we’ll discuss it in this article.

Comparison of Cat6 and Cat6a Cabling

Cat6a and Cat6 are both designed for Gigabit Ethernet. They can handle 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-TX, and 10GBASE-T rate. Cat6 and Cat6a sound almost the same, but a single lowercase “a” sets the two terms apart. The word “a” stands for augmented, which makes them behave differently in performance, size and so on.

Cat6 usually has 23 AWG wire conductors, and can support transmission speed of up to 10Gbps at 250MHz. But the theoretical top distance with 10Gbps speed is only 33-35 meters. While Cat6a also has 23 AWG wire conductors, but doubles the capability by delivering data at 500MHz. Moreover, it supports 10Gbps standard over the full 100 meter distance. Note that Cat6a is usually thicker than Cat6 cables, because Cat6a uses extra thick plastic. Therefore, Cat6a takes more space in a patch panel than Cat6.

Can I Use Cat6a Cables on Cat6 Patch Panel?

Ethernet patch panel is the easiest method currently for your networking needs by providing a reliable and neat Cat6 and Cat6a cabling. Usually, we use Cat6 patch panel to connect Cat6 cables, and Cat6a patch panel is for Cat6a cables. However, there isn’t much practical difference between Cat6 and Cat6a patch panel. Then how about installing Cat6a on cat6 patch panel, will it work? There are several things to consider before answering it.

cabling of Cat6 patch panelExample of Cat6 Cabling

Do the Connectors Match?

Cat6a is the updated version of Cat6, they share the same RJ45 connectors. Therefore, it’s no doubt that Cat6a cables can be plugged into the Cat6 patch panel.

Is It Safety?

Cat6a cable’s size is bigger, so the corresponding minimum bend radius is larger, which will change installation requirements for routing and handling as well as design of pathways and spaces. For example, when we install Cat6a on a 48 port Cat6 patch panel, the larger wire may end up bending. So it’s not entirely safe to wire Cat6a on the 48 port patch panel, you have to manage it with much more patience and caution.

It Might Work

Commonly, conductors determine whether the connection works or not. Thus, in this respect, Cat6 patch panel will work with Cat6a cables, since they have the same RJ45 conductors. But from the above we know it’s not safe enough to do so.

Conclusion

To sum up, Cat6a cables are able to run on Cat6 patch panel. However, there are some disadvantages exist in this job. So I’d like to suggest that if you just want to make an experiment at home, it’s surely OK. But if you want to use Cat6 patch panel with Cat6a in your data center, that’s not inappropriate. Because the cables may be out of work, which will cause damages to your business. If you would like to know more about designing or choosing the right cabling infrastructure, please contact us via sales@fs.com.

Related Article: Does Cat6 on Cat5e Patch Panel or Cat5e on Cat6 Patch Panel Work?

Which Do You Prefer: 10GBASE-T or SFP+ DAC?

A variety of technological advancements and trends are driving the increasing need for 10 GbE in the data center. IT managers are now faced with the challenge of selecting the appropriate 10-gigabit physical media, as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GE) is offered in two broad categories, optical and copper, with the latter being the most commonly used means for connectivity in data centers. This article addresses the tradeoffs between the effective choices in copper connectivity 10GBase-T and SFP+ direct attach cable (DAC fiber).

10G SFP+ and DAC cables

What is 10GBASE-T and Why Choose It?

10GBASE-T is an IEEE 802.3an standard which supports the creation of technology that is capable of transmitting 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters over four pairs of CAT5 balanced copper cabling system. It is an exciting technology that provides end users with cost-effective media to achieve 10Gbps data rates.

Like all BASE-T implementations, 10GBASE-T works for lengths up to 100 meters, giving IT managers a far greater level of flexibility in connecting devices in the data center. With flexibility in reach, 10GBASE-T can accommodate either top of the rack, middle of row, or end of the row network topologies. This gives IT managers the most flexibility in server placement since it will work with existing structured cabling systems. Because 10GBASE-T is backward-compatible with 1000BASE-T, it can be deployed in existing 1 GbE switch infrastructures in data centers that are cabled with CAT6 and CAT6A (or above) cabling, enabling IT to keep costs down while offering an easy migration path to 10 GbE.

What is SFP+ DAC Fiber and the Benefits of It?

SFP+ direct attach cable (DAC) is a fixed assembly that is purchased at a given length, with the SFP+ connector modules permanently attached to each end of the cable. SFP+ DAC provides high performance in 10 Gigabit Ethernet network applications, using an enhanced SFP+ connector to send 10 Gbps data through one paired transmitters and receivers over a thin twinax cable or fiber optic cable. The 10G SFP+ DAC is designed to use the same port as an optical transceiver, but compared with optical transceivers, the connector modules attached to the cable leave out the expensive optical lasers and other electronic components, thus achieving significant cost savings and power savings in short reach applications.

SFP DAC fiber H10GB-CU5M

SFP+ DAC is a low cost alternative to traditional fiber and twisted-pair copper cabling in data center deployments. SFP+ DAC provides better cable management for high-density deployments and enhanced electrical characteristics for the most reliable signal transmission.

10GBASE-T vs 10GBASE SFP + DAC

SFP+ DAC fiber has significantly lower overall cost when you include switch, NIC and cable, however, 10GBase-T has more flexibility and can reach longer distance. For data centers, the advantages of SFP+ with DAC are a very good match for today’ s requirements and emerging trends. That’s why SFP+ DAC is being adopted rapidly as best practice for new data centers. For wiring closets, 10GBase – T will be the obvious choice once the demand for bandwidth becomes more acute and once the price and power for 10GBase-T technology comes down.

As one of the most professional optical manufacturers in China, FS solutions for 10 Gigabit Ethernet include 10G SFP+ DAC fiber, 10G SFP+ direct attach copper cable. Besides, we also provide high-quality 10G SFP transceivers, like EX-SFP-10GE-LR, SFP-10G-LR-X, SFP-10G-SR-X, etc.

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