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Which Ethernet Cable Is Best? Pros and Cons of Cat6A & 7


ethernet cables plugged inChoosing the right Ethernet cable for your office space is a bigger decision than you might think.

Because Ethernet connects devices within a local network, the type of cable impacts network performance, reliability, and scalability. So, don’t be afraid to research before determining which Ethernet cable your business needs.

Read on to get expert advice from the professionals at Corporate Technology Solutions about the pros and cons of the Cat6A and Cat7 cables and how to choose the right one for your Arizona business.

5 Factors To Consider When Choosing Ethernet Cabling

Every business is unique, so there’s no black-and-white formula to follow when choosing the right Ethernet cabling for you. Yet, there are several factors to consider when comparing cables, such as:

  • Speed and bandwidth requirements: One mistake too many business professionals make when choosing an Ethernet is that they only consider the current volume of data their network needs instead of also considering what they might need in the foreseeable future. Don’t compromise your business’s digital performance by fully understanding your current and future speed and bandwidth requirements.
  • Length of cable runs: Your office’s physical layout and the distance between network devices are important. Longer cable runs require cables with better signal integrity.
  • Interference and noise: You may not realize it at first, but there can be potential sources of interference and noise around the office. Common sources include electrical equipment, fluorescent lighting, and other electronic devices.
  • Cost and budget: Every business is focused on reducing costs, and that’s certainly a factor when it comes to an Ethernet cable. Higher-category cables may offer superior performance, but that does come with a higher price tag. So, do your due diligence to strike a balance between performance and budget.
  • Installation environment: Finally, you want to choose cables that can withstand the conditions within your office. If not considered, factors like temperature, humidity, and exposure to chemicals or physical damage can affect cable performance.

Cat6A Ethernet Cabling

As a step up from the Cat6 model, Cat6A (the “A” stands for “augmented”) supports twice the bandwidth of its predecessor. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of the Cat6A:

Pros

  • It has better noise resistance and less signal degradation, which makes it great for high-performance applications.
  • Cat6A cabling is a smart future-proofing choice, so it has compatibility with upcoming technologies and bandwidth demands.
  • Supported by a thicker covering, Cat6A cables help eliminate crosstalk completely.

Cons

  • As mentioned above, higher performance does come with a higher price tag. In terms of cable and installation costs, you can count on the Cat6A being more expensive than the Cat6.
  • While Cat6A is larger and has shielding, its cables are thicker and less flexible than other Ethernets.

Cat7 Ethernet Cabling

Offering even higher speeds and better shielding than Cat6A cables, Cat7 Ethernet cabling is an attractive option for managers. These are some of the Cat7 pros and cons:

Pros

  • Supporting a max bandwidth of 600 MHz, the Cat7 outperforms the Cat6A by 100 MHz.
  • Cat7 offers more reliable performance with better shielding that reduces crosstalk and electromagnetic interference.
  • Because of backward compatibility, you can easily integrate Cat7 cables with existing network infrastructures.

Cons

  • While Cat7 offers great advantages, a significant drawback is that the cables are less common. As a result, it can be more difficult to find compared to other cable categories.
  • Additionally, the Cat7 is traditionally a little more expensive than the Cat6A. But that is standard when you’re getting a high-performing Ethernet cable.

Final Thoughts

Just like any business decision, choosing your Ethernet cable has pros and cons. However, you can’t sacrifice your network’s performance by settling for a subpar Ethernet. That’s why we recommend choosing between Cat6A or Cat7.

Consult With Corporate Technology Solutions in AZ

A business’s digital infrastructure is a key component of its success. Yet, because technology is always evolving (and evolving quicker and quicker), the best businesses rely on digital experts to help them succeed.

Whether you need assistance with cabling, AV, or security, Corporate Technology Solutions is here for you. Since 1998, we’ve provided turnkey solutions for our customers’ core technologies.

Learn more about the Corporate Technology Solutions advantage in Mesa, Gilbert, or Scottsdale bycalling or contacting us online.

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