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What cable supports 10 Gbps?
Knowledge Base + 2023.12.08

The following cables support 10 Gbps:

1. Cat 6 Ethernet Cable 2. Cat 6a Ethernet Cable 3. Cat 7 Ethernet Cable 4. Cat 7a Ethernet Cable

                Specifications                Frequency                250MHz                500MHz                600MHz
                Data Transmission                1000 BASE-T and Maximum to 10GBase-T                10GBASE-T                Exceeds 10GBASE-T
                Connector Type                RJ45 (for Cat6)                RJ45 (for Cat6a)                GG45
                Shielding                UTP or STP                UTP or STP                Shielded ONLY
                Common Usages                Phone Lines                √                ×                ×
                Home Network                √                ×                ×
                Enterprise Network                √                √                ×
                Data Center                ×                √                √

  • Cat6 supports 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 1000BASE-T, and 10GBASE-T standards, frequencies up to 250 MHz, and it can handle up to 10 Gbps in conditions of throughput with the utmost cable length of 55 meters.

  • Cat6a is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet over Copper proposal to the Cat6 standard. Cat6a cable is designed to support frequencies of up to 500 MHz, twice that of Cat6, which can support up to 100 meters when transmitting 10Gbps.

  • What is Cat7? Cat7 cable supports transmission frequencies of up to 600 MHz. It supports 10GBASE-T Ethernet over the full 100 meters featuring improved crosstalk noise reduction.

Cat6 vs Cat6a, How to Choose?

Overall speaking, 10GbE Cat6a cable has better network performance than 10GbE Cat6 cable. Cat6a 10GBASE-T cabling can deliver 10G performance of higher frequencies (500 MHz) and with longer link lengths (100 m) than that of Cat6 cabling (250 MHz, 55 m). Cat6 Ethernet cable supports 10GBASE-T over a distance only between 37 and 55 meters depending on the alien crosstalk environment.

Compared with Cat6, Ca6a has more robust sheathing, which reduces alien crosstalk and improves the signal-to-noise ratio. Besides, adopting Cat6 cable in 10Gbps can't make use of power-saving short-reach mode. Short reach mode can reduce power consumption by 1W per port when using Cat6 of 30 meters or less. So 10GBASE-T cable Cat6 is not cost-effective and environment-friendly enough for 10GBASE-T application. What's more, Cat6 cable can't dissipate heat as well as Cat6a 10GBASE-T cable since Cat6 10GBASE-T cable has a smaller diameter conductor.

10GbE over Cat6 or Cat6a Cables

10GbE Cat6 cabling indeed costs less than 10GbE Cat6a cabling. However, say that if you gamble on running 10Gbps over Cat6 cabling, you'll have to replace all the Cat6 components when it does not work, which will cost much more than directly using Cat6a cabling.

In a word, 10GBASE-T cable Cat6 vs Cat6a, the former is not suggested to be used in some of the 10GBASE-T applications due to its limitations. The minimum grade of cabling to be deployed in a 10GBASE-T network should be Cat6a cable