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When it comes to structured cabling systems, the choice between Cat6 and Cat6a can be a crucial one, especially as network demands continue to grow. While Cat6 has been a reliable standard for years, Cat6a promises higher bandwidth and improved performance. But is the upgrade worth it for your organisation? That depends on particular key factors.

Bandwidth and Speed

One of the primary advantages of Cat6a over Cat6 is its increased bandwidth capacity. Cat6a supports data transfer rates of up to 10 Gigabits per second over distances of up to 100 metres and at a maximum bandwidth of 500MHz, compared to Cat6’s maximum of 1 Gbps over the same distance. This higher bandwidth capability makes Cat6a an attractive choice for organisations requiring faster and more reliable data transmission, such as those transferring large files, hi-res video streaming, or bandwidth-intensive applications.

Alien crosstalk

If an organisation or a network is dealing with alien crosstalk (interference between adjacent cable bundles impacting signal quality), then upgrading to Cat6a is a good idea. Cat6a cables offers better shielding, tight twisting, separator, and a larger overall diametre for better cable spacing. All of these greatly reduces alien crosstalk.

Installation and maintenance

While Cat6a offers significant performance benefits, it’s important to consider the installation and maintenance implications. Cat6a cables are thicker and less flexible than Cat6 cables, which can make them more challenging to route through tight spaces or around sharp bends. Additionally, Cat6a installations may require specialised termination tools and techniques to ensure proper performance. That might require hiring experts who specialise in structured cabling installation and maintenance.

Cost and compatibility

Upgrading to Cat6a can be a significant investment, as the cables, connectors, and installation labour tend to be more expensive than Cat6. Additionally, organisations should ensure that their network equipment and devices are compatible with Cat6a cabling to fully realise the performance advantages.


As technologies like AI and cloud computing continue to advance, network demands are likely to increase moving forward. By upgrading to Cat6a, organisations can future-proof their cabling infrastructure, ensuring that it can support emerging technologies and applications that may require higher bandwidth and faster data transfer rates.

The massive data centre boom we are witnessing is also important to consider in terms of future-proofing networks. In Europe, several organisations are planning to build new infrastructures to supercharge digital services. Other than higher bandwidth, Cat6a offers better data centre scalability because it supports longer cable runs and provides headroom to support future higher-speed standards.


How iCobus can Help?

It is evident that Cat6a offers improvements that can better support networks. However, it is important to evaluate your current and projected network needs. As mentioned above, Cat6a is a significant investment, meaning it’s more expensive compared to Cat6. Another way of approaching this is getting in touch with professionals.

Here at iCobus, we help our clients make informed decision when it comes to upgrading their structured cabling infrastructure. Our network of experts offers insights that can help our clients navigate the complexities of structured cabling.