You do not have to use the Cat6a Plenum cable in certain applications if you don’t want to. There are specific uses where the plenum-rated Cat6a cable is mandatory but a Cat6a Riser cable can also be used where normally a plenum would be used. The reason is the sufficiency of the riser cable’s characteristics for these uses as well as the versatility of such spaces.
For instance, if you need to run a Cat6a cable to an outdoor post for an IP security camera, you can either use a plenum or a riser cat6a cable. What makes both of these different cables usable for the same purpose? What are its drawbacks? And when not to use the Cat6a Plenum 1000ft and use the riser instead.
These are the questions we shall find answers to in this blog. Be sure to read till the end to understand it. Let’s dive in.
What is Cat6a Cable and Where to Use it?
The Cat6a cable is a cutting-edge latest ethernet cable with up to 10 GBit/s data transfer speeds and 750 MHz bandwidth. It was rolled out as an improved version of the regular Cat6 cable. The ‘a’ in the Cat6a stands for augmented, meaning that the cable is specifically designed to make up for what’s lacking in its predecessor.
The cable is standardized by IEEE and ANSI/EIA/TIA as per their twisted-pair low voltage cable standards. And the 4 twisted pairs of the cable’s bare copper conductors are particularly tighter to ensure better resilience against EMI and crosstalks; and a solid relay of signals.
Cat6a cable was originally designed to meet the business LAN networking requirements. But because of the recent hike in demand for high-performance cables for home networks, the cable is also being used in residential settings. With its 10 G data transfer speed, the Cat6a cable is a reliable and ideal solution for all types of networks from heavy-duty commercial networks to small-scale home networks. It is fast, lasts for a long time, and is affordable.
What is Cat6a Plenum?
The plenum-rated Cat6a cable is one of the two main variants of the cable. This cable is identified by its plenum jacket which is made from LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogens) materials. This is top-of-the-line material for making cable jackets. It makes the cable highly resistant to fire and extreme weather.
Cat6a plenum 1000ft is also designed to actively prevent the propagation of fire and emission of toxic smoke in a fire hazard. It is, therefore, more costly compared to its riser variant.
The 1000ft Cat6a plenum cable finds its primary use in indoor open spaces where air can circulate freely. For example, in HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Ducts, raised floors, and dropped ceilings.
It is also used in outdoor spaces because of its heavy-duty all-weather jacket. Furthermore, if you are not limited by the budget, you can also run it in the indoor vertical riser spaces for a premium network setup.
In simple talk, the specifications of the cable meet and even exceed all standards. And therefore, it can be utilized in any space.
What is Cat6a Riser?
The riser-rated Cat6a cable is the same as any other cable of this category, except for the fact that it has a Riser (CMR) rated jacket wrapped around it. The riser jacket makes the cable distinct due to its exclusive design.
The riser jacket, like the plenum jacket of the Cat6a cable, is highly resilient to heat, humidity, etc, and does not carry flame should it face a fire event. It is also coated with a fire-retardant material that ensures the cable’s ability to self-extinguish fire.
Other than the jacket, as mentioned, this cable has the same Cat6a 10 G data transmission speeds and 750 MHz, coupled with strong measures to prevent interference from making the cable unreliable.
Cat6a Riser Cable finds its uses in indoor vertically rising spaces, mostly. For example, if you need to run a cable through a wall, this is the cable you need to get.
The Riser cable undergoes a vertical fire test to ensure its unique fire prevention measures. It is also used outdoors for these measures. Further, it is more affordable because of the relatively less costly materials used in the cable jacket.
When not to Use Cat6a Plenum?
Setting up a network with Cat6a cable can be costly. But there are ways in which you can cut down the unnecessary expenses to bring down the cable and installation costs. The best way to do so is to only use the Cat6a plenum 1000ft in spaces where it is absolutely necessary.
In indoor spaces where the final installation will be exposed, the Cat6a plenum is mandatory to use. It is required by the law and not complying with it is a serious safety hazard. But in outdoor and even indoor-contained spaces, the Cat6a riser can be installed and used without a problem.
Drawbacks of Using Cat6a Riser Instead of Cat6a Plenum?
The plenum Cat6a cable is more apt for handling outdoor environments. If you use the riser cable in such spaces, it might not last as long as the plenum. This is the only drawback you can expect by using the Cat6a riser instead of the plenum.
Simply put, the Cat6a plenum is a bit of an overkill when it comes to the riser and outdoor installations. You can simply use the rather affordable Cat6a riser cable to get the same job done without any problems.