Unshielded Cat6 plenum cables have been popular among network installers and IT professionals due to their affordability and ease of installation. However, these cables have some disadvantages that can cause serious problems in certain environments. In this article, we will discuss the disadvantages of unshielded Cat6 plenum cables and the reasons why shielded cables might be a better option.
Understanding Plenum Cables
Before we dive into the disadvantages of unshielded Cat6 plenum cables, let’s first understand what plenum cables are. Plenum cables are specifically designed for use in plenum spaces, which are the spaces in a building that are used for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Plenum spaces are required by building codes to have fire-retardant materials, and plenum cables meet this requirement by having a fire-retardant jacket.
Disadvantages of Unshielded Cat6 Plenum Cables
One of the main disadvantages of unshielded Cat6 plenum cables is interference. These cables are not shielded, which means that they are susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI). This can cause problems such as slow data transfer rates, data loss, and network downtime.
Another disadvantage of unshielded Cat6 plenum cables is crosstalk. Crosstalk occurs when signals from adjacent cables interfere with each other. Unshielded cables are more susceptible to crosstalk than shielded cables, which can cause errors in data transmission and slow down network performance.
Unshielded Cat6 plenum cables have a limited distance of 55 meters, while shielded Cat6 plenum cables can reach up to 100 meters. This means that if you need to cover a larger distance, you will need to use additional switches or repeaters, which can increase your installation costs.
Vulnerability to Physical Damage
Unshielded Cat6 plenum cables are also more vulnerable to physical damage than shielded cables. The lack of shielding makes them more susceptible to damage from external factors such as moisture, temperature changes, and pressure. This can result in signal loss and network downtime.
Compliance with Standards
Finally, unshielded Cat6 plenum cable do not comply with certain standards, such as the TIA/EIA-568-B. This standard requires cables to be tested for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and to meet specific transmission specifications. Unshielded cables may not meet these specifications, which can result in problems such as signal loss and data corruption.
Why Choose Shielded Cat6 Plenum Cables?
After discussing the disadvantages of unshielded Cat6 plenum cables, you might be wondering why you should choose shielded cables. Shielded cables offer several advantages over unshielded cables, including:
Better protection against EMI and RFI
Longer distance coverage
Higher resistance to physical damage
Compliance with standards
Unshielded Cat6 plenum cables may be affordable and easy to install, but they come with several disadvantages that can cause serious problems in certain environments. If you need to install cables in a plenum space, consider using shielded Cat6 plenum cables instead. Shielded cables offer better protection against interference, longer distance coverage, and higher resistance to physical damage.