Classification of low voltage network wire
Low voltage data transmission cable or wire (also referred to as LAN cables or network cables) are generically called UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) and are identified with a Category Rating. This wire is used for telephone, computer (LAN) and security applications. Category 5, 5E, 6, 6A and 7 wire has become the standard used in telecom and computer installations. The category rating refers to the performance level of the wire. The higher the category, the higher the shielding and data transfer rate. Each wire has 4 twisted pairs of insulated copper wire and is capable of supporting up to 4 phone lines or one Ethernet connection.
EIA/TIA 568 and ISO/IEC 11801 wiring grades definitions:
- Grade 1, Grade 2, Category 3, 4 and 5 - (Obsolete)
- Category 6 - In 2002 TIA approved specification for Cat 6. Cat 6 is backward compatible with lower Category grades and supports the same Ethernet standards as Cat 5e.
- Category 6a - In 2009 TIA approved specification for Cat 6A. Cat 6A is backward compatible with lower Category grades and supports the same Ethernet standards as Cat 5e. Cat 6A performance is defined for frequencies up to 500 MHz—twice that of Cat 6. Cat 6A also has an improved alien crosstalk specification as compared to Cat 6
- Category 7 - Proposed standard to support transmission at frequencies up to 600 MHz. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this cable is that each pair is shielded and the then whole cable is shielded. 10 gigbit transmission speeds to 100 meters
- EIA 568 limits UTP copper cabling to maximum distance of 100 meters (328 feet)
- Bravo only uses Cat 6 or better
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