What are patchcords and what do their categories mean?

2023-03-20
What are patchcords and what do their categories mean?

What is a patchcord and what they are used for?

Patchcord, also called lAN cable, is a twisted pair cable consisting of 4 pairs of wires, terminated with RJ45 plugs. It is used to connect devices in computer networks and is used both in home networks and in companies, hotels, logistics centers or server rooms. With high performance, reliability and ease of use, patchcords are very popular and allow you to expand the existing network in your home, office or industrial plant. Patchcords are cables of the type Plug&Play, which means that you just need to plug them into the right socket on the device to make them work properly.



What is the category of patch cable?

There are network cables available on the market in different colors, lengths and categories. However, what does the patchcord category depend on, what does it matter and what are the differences between them? In short, the "CAT" category of a cable determines in what frequency range and with what bandwidth the cable operates.

Network cable categories are specified by the TIA/EIA organization and affect the performance of the cable. The most common categories are CAT5e, CAT6 and CAT6a, with a higher category usually meaning higher bandwidth and better signal quality.

Patchcords CAT5e are capable of handling bandwidths of up to 1 Gbps and are suitable for home computer networks, while patchcords CAT6 i CAT6a are designed for more demanding applications, such as corporate networks or server rooms. Patchcords CAT6 offer throughputs of up to 10 Gbps, while CAT6a up to 40 Gbps, making them ideal for transmitting large amounts of data.

In addition to bandwidth, network cable categories can also affect cable length, amount of interference and signal quality. Therefore, before buying a patchcord, think carefully about the purposes for which it will be used and choose the right category to ensure optimal network performance.




U/UTP, F/UTP and S/FTP patchcord - what it means?

To make it easier to understand, twisted-pair cables are available in different shielding versions. The first of these is U/UTP, which means that the twisted pair has no shielding at all. It is the simplest type of cable and tends to be more susceptible to external interference and its own radiation. However, they are still used in many applications and are usually cheaper than other versions of cables.

The second version is S/FTP, which is shielded by an overall mesh and shielded pairs of wires (FTP). This makes the twisted pair more resistant to external interference, and the extra foil on the individual pairs reduces crosstalk between them. They are used more often in new large installations for safety reasons.

The third option is F/UTP, which is shielded only with foil, and the individual pairs of the cable are not shielded. This is a better option than unshielded cable, but twisted-pair cable with shielding of wire pairs and mesh braid along its length will certainly have greater resistance to interference.

In summary, choosing the right type of twisted pair depends on the needs of the specific application and the budget, as shielded twisted pair will usually be more expensive than unshielded ones.






CAT6, CAT6A, CAT7, CAT8 LAN cable categories - what differences and uses?

CAT6

Category 6 cables were once considered cables designed for the professional sector, where higher data transfers are required. However, these days, Category 6 cables are already widely used in domestic installations. Due to increasingly better components of network devices and increasing user demands, bandwidth of 1 Gbps is becoming a requirement when choosing cables for Internet networking anywhere. So it's safe to say that Category 6 cables are already the standard these days.



CAT6A / CAT7

CAT6A and CAT7 category network cables feature a throughput of 10Gbps, making them ideal for advanced networking applications. Their high quality shielding allows to minimize external and internal interference, which significantly increases the reliability and stability of the network. These cables are particularly recommended for securing infrastructure in new buildings, where fast and reliable data transmission is required. They are ideal for use in companies such as offices, production halls or warehouses, where high-speed data transfer at 500-600 MHz will satisfy network users. However, these cables have also found their way into private homes, particularly in the construction of Smart Home or the need to transmit data at speeds above 1 Gbps.



CAT8

Category 8 patchcord represents a breakthrough in the market and is a powerful step forward in the field of network cables. With a maximum throughput of 25 Gbps at 2000 MHz, this patchcord allows you to take full advantage of current network devices. Compared to its predecessor (CAT7), this cable is up to 1400 MHz faster, which provides a considerable reserve of bandwidth and ensures that it will be used for many years to come, even after the advent of even better network devices with parameters requiring huge speeds.

Category 8 patch cable will be an ideal solution not only in homes or businesses, but also in server rooms and data centers, where the connection sections are quite short and do not require the use of fiber optic cable. Compared to it, Category 8 twisted-pair cable is less prone to breakage when bending and retracting cables in cabinets and switchboards. Accordingly, patchcord category 8 is recommended for securing infrastructure in new buildings where very high throughput and network reliability are required.






What makes Spacetronik patchcords stand out in the LAN cable market?

Thanks to precise manufacturing with high-quality materials, spacetronik brand patchcords have gained a strong position among LAN cables on the market. They are fully compatible with any network device and resistant to mechanical damage. The plugs we use in patchcords, are ergonomic and easy to plug and unplug, while holding firmly to the socket, which is especially important in server rooms and RACK cabinets where there are a lot of wires.

In addition, modern design and a wide selection of colors and lengths have contributed to many customers - both residential and business - choosing our cables to build their networks. They are available in 7 different colors and 11 different lengths. Looking at the photo below, it's easy to see why it's important to have wires of different colors and arranged in order - it makes the job easier and allows you to locate potential faults faster.






Spacetronik cables are subjected to quality control FLUKE TEST, which certifies the actual capacity of the cables. The test also verifies that the cabling supports Voice/10/100, VoIP or Gigabit Ethernet.



Category 8 cables, additionally marked as LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen), are made of material that does not emit harmful gases during a fire. Patchcord plugs CAT8 are shielded and have protective rubber bands. The wires in the cable are made entirely of copper, which ensures excellent performance. The double-sided cable features gold-plated RJ45 connectors that are compatible with devices such as Wi-Fi, monitoring, computers, modems, network switches, game consoles, patch panels and more. The cable also provides support for PoE (Power over Ethernet), meaning that it provides power to network devices along with data transmission.



When choosing network cables, pay attention to the actual their parameters and think about the future of, to continue to take full advantage of next-generation network devices after a few years. Technology is moving forward, and we are moving with it! If you have questions or concerns, ask our experts, and they will advise you on the best cables to suit your requirements and budget.
Show more entries from March 2023

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