Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a Data Cabling

It comes down to a cost versus benefits. As a rule of thumb, compared to Cat5e, the cost of Cat6 is about 20% more and Cat6a is about 100% more.

So, what do you get for your money?

Cat5E

Cat5e will support Gigabit Ethernet up to 100m (including patch cords) and the current versions of Power of Ethernet (PoE), including PoE+.

Cat6

Cat6 will do everything Cat5e does but it will support 2.5Gig and 5Gig Ethernet up to 55 metres once the standards are ratified by the IEEE (due 2016). Because the conductors are about 25% that Cat5e, Cat6 is able to support the higher powered (90 watts) IEEE 802.3bt PoE standard that is also scheduled for ratification in 2016.

Cat6A

Cat6a does everything Cat6 does plus it will support 10Gig Ethernet for a 100 metre channel. It also copes better with the higher power PoE applications.

Which One to Choose?

Lynx Networks now recommends Cat6 as a minimum if your budget allows and Cat6a if your premises has the right infrastructure for the larger cable.

To learn more about the costs and benefits of a Cat6 versus Cat6a installation, see our article:

The Pros and Cons of Cat6 Versus Cat6a Data Cabling