CAT6 vs CAT6A in the Data Center

CAT6 vs CAT6A in the Data Center

What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the most expensive part of a data center? The answer is probably network equipment, right?

It turns out that the real estate of the data center is actually the most valuable, and I don’t mean the physical building. It’s the space within the data center - the cabinets and the conveyance (overhead and underfloor).

So if the floor space within your data center is so costly and crucial to your infrastructure, why would you want to waste so much of it by installing thick, cumbersome cabling like Category (CAT) 6A if you don’t need it?

When data center managers want to run 10G copper within their data center, they automatically think CAT6A without considering the benefits of using CAT6. There is a misconception that CAT6A needs to be installed for your 10G signal.

However, CAT6 can carry a 10G signal up to 55 meters (180ft) and is on average about 25% smaller in size, less expensive, and more pliable than CAT6A. Although these cables might not be the latest and greatest on the market, it’s more important to stick with sound fundamental designs when it comes to your cables and layer one infrastructure. It's a sound investment that can help you avoid costly network problems.

By minimizing the space your cabling infrastructure takes up, you allow for better airflow (cooling), consume less power, and decrease your costs of ownership. For shorter runs or in an internal cabinet patching environment there are even Mini CAT6 cables available which are 50% smaller than a standard CAT6 cable and can carry a 10G signal up to approximately thirty feet. Talk about space saving!

So, before you spend the extra money and take up useful and expensive space on CAT6A cables, talk to your cable manufacturer and explore all your options to find the best fit for your data center.

Learn more about how CAT6 copper network cabling can reduce 50% of the cabling bulk in data centers in one of our quick and informative Layer One videos.


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