Sunday, December 4, 2022

What is a Cat6 Plenum Cable

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Cat6 or the category 6th ethernet cables are available in three different jacket types. Namely, Plenum, Riser, and PVC. The Cat6 Plenum cable is the top-of-the-line variant with a superior safety feature. 

As implied by the term “Plenum”, this category of ethernet cables is designed for installations in plenum-rated spaces. A plenum-rated space is defined as a space where air can flow such as dropped ceilings and raised floors in buildings. 

The plenum-rated jacket on Cat6 plenum is made of a fire-retardant and low-smoke emitting material called Fluorinated Ethylene Polymer (FEP). In plenum spaces, the chances of the cable catching fire are higher as compared to other spaces in a building.Therefore, the plenum-rated jackets are specifically designed to prevent such fire hazards.

You can get decent speed and bandwidth capacities on this cable. It supports a bandwidth capacity of up to 550 MHz and a data transfer speed of up to 1 Gbps over a distance of 100 meters. The data transfer speed can increase up to 10 Gbps over a distance of 50 meters. 

Cat6 plenum cable 1000ft can also be installed in other spaces with a lower risk of fire hazards. Simply because there is nothing wrong with going the extra mile for enhanced safety.

Bulk Cat6 Plenum cables have two different types which are characterized on the basis of the conductor. The first type is the one that comes with a Bare Copper Conductor and the second type comes with a Copper Clad Aluminum Conductor.

Cat6 Plenum Bare Copper

Cat6 ethernet cable with a plenum-rated jacket is a great choice for regular household and commercial applications. It becomes a perfect choice when it is coupled with a bare copper conductor. 

The copper conductor is highly efficient at transmitting data. It is also a durable element and it won’t tarnish or corrode over extended periods. For installations, it is a pliable and ductile material that can easily be twisted in order to run it through tight spaces.

The bandwidth capacity of the Cat6 plenum is 550 MHz and the maximum data transfer speed is up to 10Gbps at a cable run length of 50 meters. 

The pros of using bare copper conductors are unparalleled. They are more resistant to attenuation and latency. Which translates into a more reliable connection. Pure copper or bare copper conductors are also good for PoE connections because of their high heat-resistance qualities and they do not heat up as much as CCA conductors. 

In humid conditions, the bare copper Cat6 plenum cable can keep its structural integrity and signal transmission effortlessly, unlike other conductors, which are more likely to tarnish and wear off in humid and wet conditions.

In any case, a Cat6 plenum cable with a bare copper conductor should be your first choice. It is safe, reliable, and durable.

Cat6 Plenum Copper-Clad Aluminum

A 1000ft Cat6 Plenum cable with a copper-clad aluminum (CCA) conductor and bare copper conductor have the same bandwidth capacity and data transfer speed. Which are 550 MHz bandwidth capacity and up to 10 Gbps data transfer speed over a distance of 50 meters. 

This type of conductor is made of aluminum at the core and a layer of bare copper is coated over it to enhance the performance and structural integrity of the conductor. 

If you are on a tight budget Cat6 plenum with a CCA conductor is a decent cable for the average household and commercial applications. But it is not a fair bargain in the long run, as the CCA conductors will not last as long as the bare copper conductor, ultimately costing you more capital. 

Compared to bare copper conductors, CCA conductors are far less efficient. They lose more data packets and they have higher attenuation as well. The probability of the conductor breaking due to extreme temperatures is pretty high because aluminum has a lower heat resistance than bare copper. 

But the copper coating on the aluminum core does improve the performance of this cable to some extent. In electromagnetic fields and external noise, the cable performs fine due to the copper coating. 

Pro-tip: Always buy ethernet cables with bare copper conductors. The small extra cost is definitely worth the extra safety and performance value that you get with pure copper conductors. 

Conclusion

Cat6 plenum cables are the safest in their category of ethernet cables. Therefore, they are designed for the plenum spaces in buildings where airflow is high and the risk of fire hazards is high. Compared to the CCA conductor, bare copper Cat6 plenum cables are even safer. 

What’s even more unique and desirable about these cables is that they can also be installed in riser-rated spaces because of their unmatched safety features.

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