I'm venturing for the first time into the 10 gigabit (over copper) realm. Likewise, I have never worked with shielded CAT-5/6 cables previously. From my own research, I understand the types and benefits of shielding when it comes to long runs of network cable, such as between a patch panel and a wall jack in an office.
I'm less clear about the use of shielded patch cables (<15ft), particularly when the cable is connected directly from a server to a switch with no patch panel in between (i.e. nothing to ground the cable). This will be my situation when we purchase a few Dell PowerConnect 8164 switches, install them at the top of our server racks (facing the rear), and install Intel X540-T2 NICs in the servers.
Here's what I'm trying to figure out:
- Is there any benefit in using Cat-6A over regular Cat-6 stranded patch cables?
- Is there any benefit in using shielded (e.g. S/FTP) cables? I know this is related to EMI and some other environmental factors, but I have no way of measuring this.
- When a shielded cable is connected directly from the server to the switch, are there some additional electrical requirements that one or both sides must support?