Cat6 Cabling Installation Services

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We are often asked – “Why CAT6?” After all, CAT5e superseded CAT5 because it would support 1000mbps (gigabit) networking, so why need a higher standard? It is a legitimate question, and to fully understand the answer, it helps to understand the basics of network protocols.

While CAT5e can facilitate the transmission of data packets at gigabit speed, it is limited in the number of packets it can cope with, resulting in data loss. Because reliable protocols such as TCP resend lost packets, this results in the user experiencing a slowdown over the network, for example, when opening a large graphics file.

By utilising all four pairs within the cable, increasing the frequency of the twists in each pair and reinforcing the cable with a plastic spine, CAT6 reduces the amount of “cross-talk” that causes this level of data loss.

In other words, Cat5e and CAT6 are like two highways with the same speed limit, but the CAT6 highways have many more lanes, so traffic jams are less likely. Techies, please excuse the over-simplification, but as an analogy, we think this works!

So who does need CAT6? Indeed, anyone rendering large graphics files over a network – some 3D CAD programmes can produce files measured in gigabytes – such as architects, structural engineers, and any designers or technicians working with large files. Then there is the issue of future-proofing. There is no doubt that networking has benefited enormously from the increase in data transmission speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps, and there is no reason to believe that 1000mbps will not be considered the norm a few years hence.

CAT6 costs about 20% more than CAT5e, so is it worth the extra expenditure if all you anticipate using in future are the internet, email and primary documents and spreadsheets? It is also worth bearing in mind that data will only cross the network at the speed of the slowest network device, which means possible investment in gigabit switches and NICs to enjoy the full benefit of gigabit networking over CAT6.

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