What's the difference between cat 6a STP and cat 6 STP plug connector?

Can I use a cat 6 plug on a cat 6a wire?

  • 1
    Even experienced installers with the proper (expensive) test equipment have problems with this. Any cable plant can only be rated at the lowest category of any component in the system, but all links must still pass all the tests for that category to receive the rating. – Ron Maupin Jan 8 '17 at 3:44
  • can i pass the test suite with a cat 6 connector on cat 6a wire? – Maurice Jan 8 '17 at 4:25
  • Maybe you could pass the Category-6 test suite, but but only if an experienced installer with the correct installation and test equipment is doing it. You can never have a Category-6a certified network without all Category-6a parts. – Ron Maupin Jan 8 '17 at 4:28
  • @Maurice yes you can, it will be a cat6 cable. – Jacob Evans Feb 28 '17 at 13:15

I was wondering this as well and felt I needed to track down the actual requirements.

Visually/design wise there is no difference. If you are using them in a non-certified setting feel free to use whatever you have on hand (6/6a).

Basically it just needs to be made with higher quality materials (if aiming for the bare minimum qualifications), but because of engineering tolerances and business reasons (you don't want to lose a whole batch because you cut things too close) they'll usually pass (This "usually" is an important distinction though if you needed to certify your network).

In contrast to Ron's statements: It is VERY LIKELY, but not guaranteed, that if you construct the cable correctly (and honestly it isn't rocket science, just finicky, on a cable by cable basis) using Cat 6a cabling and Cat 6 connectors it would certify as Cat 6a. That said, again if you need certification then it's probably just best to spend the extra money on Cat 6a parts.

Getting technical: (this information is all pulled directly from primary sources)

  • ANSI/TIA-568-C.2 (Definition of Cat 6 and Cat 6a)
  • IEC 60603-7-4 (Cat 6 unshielded),
  • IEC 60603-7-41 (Cat 6a unshielded)
  • IEC 60603-7-5 (Cat 6 shielded)
  • IEC 60603-7-51 (Cat 6a shielded)

The ONLY additions are that Cat 6a connectors must pass these extensions of the same tests (This is for both shielded and unshielded connectors):

  • Tested up to 500 Mhz instead of only to 250 Mhz.
  • NEXT Loss meets all All Pair Combinations: >= 46.04-30log(f/250) dB for 250 MHz - 500 MHz vs 94-20log(f) dB for 1-250 MHz (Both still capped at 75 dB)
  • And there's an added test for Power Sum Alien (Exogenous) NEXT which has similar specifications. All Pairs: 107 - 20log(f) dB, 1-500 MHz

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