Cat 6A: the Fact File

Cat 6A: two decades old and still growing

Although Cat 6A first appeared in 2004 in the form of CommScope’s SYSTIMAX® GigaSPEED® X10D, it would not be formally published as a standard until 2009. By then, however, it was known across the industry as the cabling category of the future that would enable the next wave of high-bandwidth copper connectivity. This was why cabling manufacturers quickly tried to replicate it and standards bodies were compelled to publish an agreed standard.

Looking back, we see that it has enabled the development and deployment of many bandwidth-hungry applications that today’s enterprises cannot do without. And it is not finished yet – it remains the recommended infrastructurei for modern new-builds and promises to remain relevant for many years to come. Proof of its success can be seen in the sales volume that continues to grow, almost two decades after the initial draft of the standard.

In this article, we will also explore why Cat 6A took over previous categories (Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6) and why it’s a better option than - theoretically superior - copper cabling types such as Cat 7, Cat 7A and even Cat 8.


Technology overview of SYSTIMAX cabling

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Evolution and use

Qualities of Cat 6A

The Science behind Cat 6A

Resources and Case Studies

i Published in 2010, TIA-1179 recommends Category 6A for all new installations in healthcare facilities and was the first standard to recommend Category 6A for new installations outside of the data center. Similarly, published in 2014, TIA-4966 recommends Category 6A for new education facilities based on the need for high-performance infrastructure required for wired and wireless connectivity.

ii Same as above

iii PoE Implementation Guide (

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Additional resources


Cat 6 and Cat 6A