Cat6 Cable: Avoiding Crosstalk

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At CableSupply.com, we deal with 1000’s of feet of bulk Ethernet cable of all kinds, Cat6 Ethernet cable is one of them. Twisted pair cable is the standard for data communication because of its greater bandwidth and "cross-talk" minimization capabilities. Cross-talk is electrical interference from outside sources that disrupts the normal flow of data in a cable. Cat6 Ethernet cable AKA Cat6 cable can use high frequencies that enable it to reach up to 10 Gb/s transfer rate. With the use of higher frequencies, careful planning through intelligent cable design and implementation is required to avoid cross talk

If you strip back a twisted pair cable of a Cat5e and a Cat6 Ethernet cable, you will notice that each pair has a different twist rate. These twists help reduce the rate of interference between each pair of wires. When multiple cables run parallel to each other, all pairs of the same color will have identical twist rates. When the cables are energized to 10 GB/s frequencies, the pairs might interfere with each other and produce cross-talk. At this time, there is no software remedy for this situation and we must therefore rely solely on the cable design and implementation.

If you run multiple cables parallel to each other, there are a few measures you can take to minimize cross talk. When punching down to a patch panel, use shielded patch cords. Staggering cables on the patch panel by punching down only to odd or even can also help reduce interference.

Using proper cabling practices and techniques will decrease the chance of interference, but the type of cable being used is also important. Augmented Category 6 UTP, also referred to as Cat6A, enlarges the overall diameter of the cable to increase the distances between the twisted pairs. This technique decreases the amount of cross talk and also increases the overall length capability to 100m. When using Cat6A, be sure to take into consideration the increased diameter when large amounts of cable are being installed in one location.

With the today's technology-driven market, the demand for higher data transmission rates will always be present. Manufacturers will design cable to reduce cross talk and data interference but cable installers must also design their networks intelligently as well. With the correct cable and implementation, your client's business network will provide the stable and high performing environment required to grow successfully.