As the demand continues for increased bandwidth and data rates, there is also a need for freeing up more space in data centers and IT closets. In today’s enterprise IT world, smaller cable sizes are sometimes required along with the need for higher performance.

To help you meet these needs, ShowMeCables continues to update its offerings of Category 7 cables, which have many of the functions of Cat8, as well as Cat6a and Cat6 cables. These products offer not only faster throughput, with speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), but take up less room, with features such as a flat, slim or “super slim” profiles. Two other options with increased demand are cable jackets that are bacteriostatic or low smoke zero halogen (LSZH).

If you are considering speeding up your connectivity or using cables that are lighter and take up less room, below we summarize the differences among the Ethernet categories as well as explain some of the most in-demand special features of our cables.

Cat6 Cable

With more stringent specs for cross talk and system noise than Cat5e, Cat6 cable is able to carry gigabit Ethernet in commercial buildings. It is also used for phone lines and in residences. It has a bandwidth of 250 MHz, and its data rate and distance are 1 Gbps at up to 100 meters and 10 Gbps at up to 37 meters.

Cat6a Cable

Shielded Cat6a is commonly used for gigabit Ethernet in data centers and commercial buildings. Its 500 MHz bandwidth is twice that of Cat6 and its data rate and distance are 10 Gbps at up to 100 meters. This increase in bandwidth capability involves the addition of shielded twisted pair cabling, which makes the cable a bit heavier and more difficult to bend.

Cat7 Cable

Shielded Cat7 cable has the same data rate and distance specs of Cat6a (10 Gbps up to 100 meters) but it offers 100 MHz more bandwidth. It is used for 10 Gbps core infrastructure and is commonly found in data centers. Its performance is similar to Cat6a but it has tougher shielding. However, Cat7 is a proprietary design with proprietary connectors and is not an official IEEE cabling standard.

Cat8 Cable

Cat8 is recognized by the IEEE and EIA and is thus standardized across manufacturers. It has a bandwidth of 2 GHz and throughput of 40 Gbps up to 78 feet and 25 Gbps up to 100 feet. From 100 feet to 328 feet, it provides the same 10 Gbps as Cat6a. Therefore, its big benefit is faster throughput over short distances. Cat8 cable is ideal for supporting large networks − switch-to-switch communications in a 40GBase T or 25Gbase T network.

Slim and Super Slim Cables

Both of these types of lightweight cables have smaller outside diameters than standard cable. This promotes air flow and cooling, takes up less room when cables are bundled, and makes for easier installation in racks and behind equipment. Slim cables have 28 AWG conductors. Super slim cables have 34 AWG conductors and a 2.4 mm outside diameter, the smallest and lightest on the market.

Flat and Ultra Flat Cables

With a low profile and extremely flexible, flat and ultra-flat cables can be bent around corners, hidden behind equipment, or placed under carpets, in doorways, along ceilings and against any flat surface. They are especially useful for audiovisual and medical applications.

Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) Cables

An LSZH cable jacket is used where electronics-destroying halogens are prohibited, because it emits less smoke than other jackets and is free of halogens. Common users include the defense industry and companies with European installations where PVC is restricted.

Bacteriostatic Cable Jackets

Bacteriostatic jackets, boots and plugs prevent bacterial growth with proven reduction in bacterial count by more than 99.9%. Also known as antibacterial or antimicrobial cables, they are widely used in the healthcare, food processing and education sectors, as well as in laboratories and restaurants.

Our vast line of Ethernet patch cables is in-stock and available for same-day shipping. If you have questions before or after you buy, our courteous, U.S.-based customer and technical support is at 1-855-958-3212, or contact us here with any questions you might have.