Hi! I hope our customers and partners in South and Central America find my occasional posts useful and an additional Web tool.

We've had many conversations about the continuous advances in corporate network technology, and the question we asked ourselves was, “How can we protect the initial investment against these changing demands?” With that aim in mind, we’ve launched a “short video” campaign (What can you tell me in 3 minutes?) about the status of different technologies and the solutions that better adapt to these changes.

Watch the videos (In Spanish) here and leave your comments!

Let’s take, for example, a typical question posed by a copper infrastructure project: “Do I invest in Category 6 or Category 6A cabling?” There is a list of considerations and variables to analyze:

–        Supported applications and lifecycle

–        Difference in size and space requirements

–        Installation time and costs

–        Material costs

–        For how many years will we be using 6? And 6A?

–        Total project investment 

  • Longer life cycle is not equal to greater investment

That’s not necessarily true, if you consider that Category 6A was developed to support 10Gbps Ethernet, whereas Category 6 supports up to 1Gbps Ethernet. Therefore, the right question to ask is, "When are we implementing 10G over copper in our data center? In 3 to 5 years? What about our commercial buildings? In 5 to 7 years?”

So, if installing Cat 6 today, we might face in the future an additional investment to migrate to Cat 6A, hence, the total investment is greater than installing Cat 6A today. 

  • More occupied space is not equal to greater investment

It’s true, the outer diameter of a Category 6 cable is smaller, and so it requires smaller raceways and cable managers, and less space. For this reason, design is key, bearing in mind that larger cables will be used in the future.  But don’t despair; planning for larger raceways supporting Category 6A in the design stage will save us much higher costs in the future. And after all, not all Category 6A cables are the same. CommScope offers size-reduced U/UTP and U/FTP cables

  • Higher Category is not equal to greater investment

Category 6A it enables higher speeds, greater bandwidth and a longer lifecycle, and so the material costs are higher than Category 6. 

But a way of understanding the investment is to look at the whole picture. If we design the same raceways/ducts for Cat. 6 and 6A (foresight!) and, as we know, implementation costs are the same, the difference between Cat. 6 and Cat. 6A projects becomes smaller. 

Another point to be considered is the hidden costs of some Category 6A solutions. For example, whether they support cable lengths shorter than 15 meters (less cable to be purchased); whether they support short patch cords (for example, at least 1 or 2 meters); and how many cables cable managers can accommodate (the smaller the cable managers, the lower the costs). 

So what is the total cost of each project? 

In order to see the “forest” (investment project) and not only the “trees” (cable vs. cable costs), the following factors should be taken into account: material costs, implementation cost, raceway/duct costs (foresight!), hidden costs (cable lengths, cord lengths, cable manager sizes) and replacement due to end of useful life (when I will have to invest again, how much dismantling the old installation and stopping operations costs). 

We want to know your comments! What considerations you take into account when evaluating infrastructure projects? 

We hope that we have shed some light on this issue and that you will enjoy watching the different short video sessions that are already available... AND IN SPANISH! Thank you for commenting!

About the Author

Carlos Morrison Fell

Carlos Morrison Fell is vice president, Enterprise Field Application Engineer for the Americas, for CommScope’s Connectivity Solutions business unit. He is responsible for providing strategic leadership and direction for the delivery of pre- and post-sales services and supporting enterprise customers and partners. He is also tasked with developing a comprehensive in-region technical strategy that aligns with internal and external needs and drivers. He leads a team of enterprise field application engineers. 

Morrison Fell is a telecommunications engineer and graduated from the University of Belgrano. He previously worked at Telefónica and at GE Capital performing business management. He is a fan of rowing, a sport that he competing in for several years for a rowing team in his home city of San Fernando, located outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is also an avid scuba diver and a CrossFit enthusiast. Morrison Fell is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

See all posts by this author


1 comment for "Cat. 6 Or 6A? Our New Videos Help Explain"
Ricardo Díaz

Carlos, ¡Estupendo vídeo! Por el fondo y por la forma. Los argumentos perfectos con el nivel óptimo de reiteración. Y muy buena noticia tener vídeos en el 3er idioma más usado. Te van a pedir que lo hagas en inglés, son muy útiles. Awesome! the content and the format. The right reasons with the optimal redundancy. Very good news to have available this videos in the 3rd language most used worldwide. You will be asked to edit these videos into English. Really useful

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