Many of us have used an ethernet cable in the past – it’s one of the most popular ways of connecting your PC, laptop, or server to a local modem. However, what many don’t realize is, there’s actually a huge difference between different Category networking cables. Sounds exciting, right?
Whilst networking cables come in many forms (cat 5, cat 5e, cat 6, cat 6a, and so on), the two we’ll be focusing on in today’s article are Cat 6 vs Cat 7. We’ll be explaining what the fundamental differences are and which you should choose for your next networking project. Whether you’re looking for a new home cable or something more business-tailored, the following article will be your one-stop-shop for everything cat 6 vs cat 7 related.
So, with plenty to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
Check out our complete guide on Cat 5 Vs Cat 6 here.
What Is A Category 6 Cable?
So, what exactly is a Category 6 cable? A Cat 6 cable is a networking cable that came to fruition in June 2002 and is most often used in the form of an ethernet cable. The Cat 6 cable is also popularly used for LAN setups and connecting servers to modems. Like Cat 5, Cat 6 also offers a design that consists of four pairs of twisted copper wires which support up to 10 Gbps of speed.
Category 6 cables, like any other cable, have their limitations when it comes to performance. For example, over a maximum of 100m, the Cat 6 cable can offer a maximum transmission speed of 1 Gbps. However, if you were to shorten that distance to 37-55 meters, you’d be able to increase the max transmission to 10 Gbps. The Cat 6 cable can also boast 250MHz in frequency, indicating how often the signal being sent can actually pass through the cable (bandwidth).
Luckily, the Cat 6 cable also utilizes the RJ-45 connector, making it fully compatible with most home and office setups – alongside backward compatibility for both Cat 5 and Cat 5e.
Like always, you can tell what Cat cable you have by reading the print on the side of the cable sheath. It is defined by the ANSI/TIA-568 standard and was published by TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association).
What Is A Category 7 Cable?
Like Category 6, Cat 7 cables are also networking cables used to transmit high-speed ethernet communications up to 10 Gbps. Also, like Cat 6, Cat 7 networking cables are also backward compatible with Cat 6, Cat 5e, and Cat 5 cables.
Cat 7 cables offer up to a 100-meter 4-connector channel that utilizes a shielded cable to help reduce crosstalk interference whilst providing transmission signals at a frequency of 600MHz – 6 times that of Cat 5.
Like most Category cables, Cat 7 also features a twisted wires design – albeit with the requirement of full shielding (via screen shielded twisted pair or screened foiled twisted pair). By utilizing this type of design, the Cat 7 can boast complete elimination of alien crosstalk whilst significantly improving on noise resistance. This also means manufacturers of Cat 7 cables also have the ability to produce longer cables with faster speeds.
Physical Differences Between Cat 6 Vs Cat 7
One of the big areas many individuals overlook when deciding which Category cable to use is the physical dimensions and limitations of both Cat 6 vs Cat 7. Most individuals kitting out their office or home will focus more intently on speeds and frequencies – that being said, there are some fundamental differences in physical attributes that must be considered.
Firstly, there are clear differences between Cat 6 and Cat 7 when it comes to cable length. Cat 6, for example, offers up a max distance of 100m with a max transmission speed of 1Gbps. Whilst it has the ability to transfer 10Gbps, it is limited to 37-55m long cables. Cat 7, by comparison, isn’t limited to the same strict guidelines, offering up 100m max length with 10Gbps of transmission speed.
|Cat 6||Cat 7|
|Max Length||100m (10Gbps @ 37-55m)||100m|
|Number Of Connectors||4||4|
|Cable Construction||UTP or shielded||Shielded|
Which Category Cable For My Business?
When it comes to your business, deciding which category cable is best all comes down to your needs and requirements. The internet is an incredibly versatile tool for your business, and in some scenarios, you need the best and strongest connection possible.
For businesses that priority a strong connection over all else, chances are the Category 7 cable will be the best option to choose. Remember though, whilst this cable type might give you great transmission speed and high bandwidth frequency, you are going to be paying more for your networking setup.
Cat 7 cables are more expensive, adding the final consideration to the mix. At the end of the day, it’s got to be affordable. And let’s not forget, if you run a small business, chances are a Cat 6 cable will be more than enough – offering up the same 10 Gbps speeds over a shorter, yet still perfectly acceptable 37-55m distance.
Which Category Cable For Home Use?
For home users, either Cat 6 or Cat 7 cable standards will be more than enough for your needs. Both offer high-speed transmission speeds of 10Gbps over short distances, with most home users not requiring more than 50m for their network setups. Granted Cat 7 is the more stable of the two cable types, offering much less alien crosstalk and general interference – having said that, most home users won’t notice the difference.
Furthermore, Cat 6 cables are much friendly on the bank balance. Whilst offering similar levels of performance, Cat 6 is the cheaper of the two, also providing great compatibility thanks to the RJ45 connector it utilizes. So, whilst either Category is fine, users will often choose either Cat 6 or Cat 5 for home use.
So, there you have it, our comprehensive guide to Cat 6 vs Cat 7 networking cables. Hopefully, our quick guide has helped in your decision-making process, explaining the differences between the two Category types.
At the end of the day, choosing which cable type is best for your needs all comes down to your requirements. Ultimately, the differences between Cat 6 and Cat 7 can be bundled into speed, frequency, and cable length.
That said, for individuals that prioritize the strength of their home network or LAN setups, granted, Cat 7 cables do provide a slightly more stable experience with much less alien crosstalk interference. That said, the average user wouldn’t really notice the difference. And let’s not forget that Cat 7 cables utilize a non-RJ45 connection, making the Cat 7 cable type foreign to many home setups.
This has been our guide to Cat 6 vs Cat 7 networking cables. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a comment in the section below.