What’s the real difference between cat 6 and cat 7? If this question bothers you a lot, then we’re here to answer!
Connecting your home devices with a smooth internet connection is what we suffer the most. Because simply, it just doesn’t deliver smooth signals that lead to uncertain performance and absolute frustration!
But thanks to ethernet cabling, you can experience much more seamless internet connectivity.
There are many ethernet cable types, such as Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, and Cat 8. But since Cat6 and Cat 7 are today’s hot topics, we’ve put together an in-depth cat6 vs. cat7 ethernet cable comparison guide just for you!
WHAT IS CAT6? (Category 6 Ethernet Cable)
The Cat 6 (a.k.a Category 6 Ethernet Cable!) is a swirled cable pair, known for its lower noise and crosstalk — That’s a big edge of cat 5 and cat5e!
Category 6 ethernet supports 1 Gbps internet speed; it also tolerates 10Gbps too but just for a shorter 37 to 55 meters.
With a greater bandwidth of 250MHz than cat 5e, you can see the high transferring performance; it is more suitable for home usages such as gaming or routine downloading.
WHAT IS CAT7? (Category 7 Ethernet Cable)
Cat 7 (a.k.a Category 7 Ethernet Cable!), a Gigabit-based twisted 4 pair ethernet cord supported with 10 Gbps networks, an advanced data cabling solution.
We’ve noted that it provides 40 gigabits at 50 meters and 100 gigabits at 15 meters during testing. Thus, it is an advanced version of previous ethernet cables such as cat5, cat5e, cat6, and cat6a.
With 15 years of 600MHz bandwidth, it is an ISO/IEC, Class F, completely shielded ethernet cord that contains non-modular connectors. Instead of RJ 45 connectors, it used proprietary connectors! It—Perfect for enterprise network installations.
Our main emphasis is on the difference between cat6 and cat7 since cat 8 was released last, got so many eyes, and became the hot talk; we do like to cover a bit of cat 8 to clear what it is!
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WHAT IS CAT8? (Category 8 Ethernet Cable):
If we talk about cat 8, it’s a most advanced ethernet cord, also known as category 8. At a glance, it just seems (like cat 7 and cat 6a) the previous ethernet cables, but it got an edge over them without any doubt!
Cat 8 cable supports 2000MHz frequency and RJ45 connectors; it is backward compatible!
Regarding faster data transfer, STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) plays an enormous part that leads to little to no inconvenience!
Each twisted pair is wrapped into foil that eradicates crosstalk that levels up data transferring speeds. Class-1 contains RJ45, whereas Class-2 contains non-Rj45 connectors. However, it brings a drawback: it becomes bulky, eventually making it hard to install in small areas.
With 40 Gbps of the maximum speed at 30 meters, the most advanced ethernet cable available today is being used in data centers.
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Cat6 vs Cat7 Ethernet: An In-Depth Comparison!
There are several significant differences between Cat 6 and Cat 7 cables in specifications, construction, performance, costs, etc., making it difficult for people to understand the basic difference between these cables.
Been also thinking about how cat6 and cat7 differentiate from each other? Following is an in-depth comparison just for you:
We’ve covered a quick and short round-up of both: cat 6 and cat 7 cables below:
● Category 6 Ethernet Cord
Category 6 is an ethernet cable that is more feature-rich and faster thancat5e and cat 5 cables. With 110Gbps, RJ 45 connectors, and UTP or STPshielding, its cable is a twisted pair that creates less sound and crosstalk.
● Category 7 Ethernet Cord
Category 7 cable is more advanced than cat 6a and cat 6 cables. It bears 10 Gbps and contains four twisted-pair cables, non-modular connectors, and shielded cabling for better data transferring.
The bandwidth is a measuring unit that tells us how many cycles per second a data signal will cover. Generally, 1MHz equals 1 million cycles per second.
But how does cat 6’s bandwidth change from cat 7’s bandwidth? Then see the difference below:
● Cat 6’s Bandwidth
The category 6 (Class-E) ethernet cable has reduced the noise and cross-talk and supports a bandwidth of 250MHz and 10Gbps at a limited space of 37-55 meters.
Cat 6a supports 500MHz, which is double the cat 6 ethernet cable and has decreased the crosstalk and noise annoyance that results in a few errors during data transfer.
● Cat 7’s Bandwidth
Contrastingly, Cat 7 has more bandwidth than cat 6a, cat6, and all previous ethernet cables.
At 600MHz and 10gbps data transferring rate, we’ve seen that it has got more
reduced noise and decreased crosstalk, resulting in more stable, little to no error, and seamless high-speed data transferring.
For increased bandwidth, It’s a no-brainer that wires have become hefty, costly, and hard to install. However, when ethernet cables are different, the installation process also varies.
Below, see how cat6’s installation is different than cat7:
● Cat 6’s Installation Process
We know cat 6 has reduced the noise and crosstalk hitch, RIGHT? This happens because its wires are swirled with each other more tightly.
Also, you can see the separators separating wires to reduce the crosstalk and increase the insulation.
Due to this, wires should be cut slowly, and the cables require modular connectors to get installed.
Despite this, cat Installation costs 50% more than cat 5 and cat 5e but less than cat 7 ethernet cables.
● Cat 7’s Installation Process
When it comes to cat installation, you should know that finding an installer for cat installation is quite challenging as such installers are rare in the market.
Here installation costs again rise by 50% then cat 6a and cat6 as such cable is quite difficult to install. Due to this, the installers will demand to handle hefty cat 7 cords at high-end prices.
Regarding the cost, Cat 6 and Cat 6a consume cost, different from cat 7 and cat 7a ethernet cords. The line size per foot also adds up in price.
Here is how cat 6 expenses vary from cat 7 (A Rough Estimation!):
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● Cat 6 Expense
On average, 10 cable lines are needed for home use. Each line is 200 feet, which will require 10 connection points all around the home.
Category6 ethernet cables roughly cost around $200 for 2,000 feet. Then, of course, you must invest in connectors to install.
For this, each connector costs around $50. Keeping this estimation in mind, a cat 6 expense is $700 in total.
● Cat 7 Expense
Wondering how much cat 7 ethernet cord consumes? The category 7 cable cost around $12000 for 2,000 feet.
For sure, you’ll have to invest in connectors that cost around $75 each, which makes $1,950 of total expense — That’s 50% more cost than the cat 6a and cat 6 ethernet cords.
Life Span Of CAT6 & CAT7:
How long will an ethernet cable last? Which ethernet cord’s life span is more reliable: cat6 or cat 7? See it below:
● Cat 6 Durability
Category 6 ethernet has an estimated lifespan of 10 good years!
(That’s before the faults start showing up!)
● Cat 7 Durability
However, due to copper material and insulation shielding, cat 7 life span is 15 years, which is much longer than cat6, cat 6a, cat 5, and cat5e ethernet cords.
Insulation (Noise & Crosstalk):
Yeah, both cords, cat 6 and cat 7, contain insulation, but they still differ. Here is how:
● Cat 6 Insulation
The main disappointment in previous ethernet cables (cat5e and cat 5) was that the transmission of easily lose-able signals eventually resulted in annoying noise and higher crosstalk.
Thanks to the technological evolution, category 6 ethernet cords stepped into the market with insulation, separating wires that make less noise and contain decreased cross talk.
Presto! It means users can experience a smooth and error-free internet connection.
● Cat 7 Insulation
With the time, cat 6a was also introduced in the market with much better insulation than cat 6, which means decreased noise and crosstalk.
But as technology keeps evolving, cat 7 ethernet cables also jumped in, and this time it went one more step ahead and has much-enhanced insulation in which you can see a drastic drop in noise and crosstalk!
Of course, it results in a better, little to no error and much smoother experience.
(Cat 7 a for more advanced insulation than cat 7, cat 6a, and cat 6, so imagine the excellent experience!)
Been thinking about whether cat 6 and cat 7 are backward compatible? Can you use the older versions of ethernet cables along with cat 6 and cat 7 or not?
● Cat 6 Compatibility
Yes, when we look at the backward compatibility of cat 6, it’s compatible.
● Cat 7 Compatibility
The category 7 ethernet cord is also backward compatible with previous versions of ethernet cables such as cat4, cat 5, cat 5e, cat 6, and cat 6e, so you don’t have to face any hassle!
For quality ethernet performance and installation, the TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association) & EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance) have set some parameters for wires and cabling.
But do cat 6 and cat 7 recognized by these organizations?
● Cat 6 TIA/ EIA Recognition
Yes, the category 6 ethernet cord fulfills TIA and EIA standards and is recognized by these two organizations.
● Cat 7 TIA/EIA Recognition
Nope, a big no! Cat 7 is not recognized by the TIA and EIA organization, which means there is no tech support when you need any assistance, and challenging to make sure of appropriate cat 7 installations.
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Where CAT6 & CAT7 Is Used?
We all know ethernet cables bring stable internet signals for an enhanced and smoother internet surfing experience.
But when you dig deep into different variants of ethernet cables, you will be surprised to see that each ethernet cable has an area where it performs well!
● Cat 6 Usage
The category 6 and 6a cord has the power to meet household needs. It has the power to run gaming and do the downloading excellently. So, it’s recommended for home use.
● Cat 7 Usage
Suppose you’re a smart home or need to run multiple devices in an enterprise environment. In that case, cat 7 and cat 7a can provide satisfactory results — Faster, smoother, less crosstalk, and fewer errors in data transfer.
Getting ethernet cabling is a better step towards experiencing a smooth and stable internet connection. Today’s hot topic was cat 6 vs. cat 7 ethernet cords; we have discussed comparatively in detail to highlight their main differences. Cat 6 is a twisted-paired ethernet cable, more advanced than cat 5e and cat 5, suitable for your household internet needs.
(There is less noise and crosstalk than cat 5e and 5 ethernet cords!)
Whereas Cat 7 is a 4 pair twisted, next-generation ethernet cable. It produces reduced noise and crosstalk than cat 6a and cat 6, which means smooth data transmitting, making it perfect for enterprise usage.
So which one should you go for? If you want cabling to fulfill your household needs, then cat 6 and cat 6a are sufficient.
However, if you want an ethernet cabling network for smart home or business work, then your cat 7 will suit you more!
Got it but need more specs-rich info? Then see the following table highlighting the specifications and clear difference between cat6 vs cat7, and cat 8!
COMPARISON: CAT6 vs. CAT7 vs. CAT8
|Connector Type||RJ 45||Non-RJ-45||Class 1: RJ 45|
Class 2: Non-RJ 45
|Cord Construction Type||UTP or Shielded||Shielded||Shielded|
|Expense||Costly than cat 5e and cat 5||Costly than cat 6a and cat 6||Costly than cat 7a and cat 7|
|Max Transmission Speed||1-10 Gbps||10 Gbps||25-45 Gbps|
|Usage||Ideal for household||Ideal for smart home and business work||Data Centers and Server Rooms|
|Distance||100m/1Gbps & 55m/10Gbp||100 m||30 m|
|No of Connectors in Channels||4||4||2|
|Lifespan||10 Years||15 Years||15+ Years|
|Noise & Cross Talk||Decreased than cat 5e and Cat 5 cables||Lesser than Cat 6a and Cat 6 cables||More|
|TIA/EIA Approved||Yes||No||No EIA, ANSI + TIA|
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