The recommended copper cable for 10Gbe applications is CAT6A.

However, there are 2 types of CAT6A cables: UTP and STP. Which one should you use?

  1. UTP means Unshielded Twisted Pair and there is no shielding.
  2. STP means Shielded Twisted Pair. There can be any type of shielding that helps against ANEXT (Alien Near End Cross Talk) and EMI/RFI.
ANEXT Performance Comparison Chart for CAT6, CAT6A Unshielded, and CAT6A Shielded

ANEXT Performance Comparison Chart for CAT6, CAT6A Unshielded, and CAT6A Shielded

Here are some advantages and disadvantages on both unshielded and shielded CAT6A cables:

UTP advantages and disadvantages:

  • Lower cost compared to STP
  • Bigger outside diameter of the cable affecting the cable tray fill (less cable per tray or larger trays needed)
  • CAT6A UTP cabling channel and components need to be tested for ANEXT which can be complex and time-consuming

STP advantages and disadvantages:

  • Reduces or eliminates ANEXT as well as the time needed to test for it
  • Provides high EMI/RFI isolation and gives more headroom for data transfer for sensitive environments such as financial, healthcare, and government
  • Uses less space in the conduits and uses smaller trays and pathways due to its smaller diameter
  • A little more expensive
  • Longer installation time, as it requires grounding and proper bonding

The most common CAT6A cables are U/UTP (no shielding on the cable or wires) and F/UTP (foil shielding on the cable and no shielding on the wires). The code before the slash denotes the shielding of the cable itself, and the code after the slash defines the shielding of the twisted pair.

Shielded CAT6

For more articles on connectivity, read How to Choose the Right Fiber Enclosure/Patch Panel System or Pre-Terminated Copper Solution vs. Field Terminated Solution.

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