Category 6A Testing

We have done some Category 6A testing for real-life throughput simulations including a worst-case configuration called 6-around-1.


A 6-around-1 test has one cable in the middle, called the disturbed cable, and six cables bundled around it, called the disturbers. This worst-case scenario really tests the ability of a cable’s construction to limit alien crosstalk.


In Anixter’s Infrastructure Solutions Lab’s tests, this 6-around-1 bundling is done throughout a full channel that includes the connecting hardware. 10 gigabit Ethernet traffic is then run over every cable in that channel, and the throughput and error rates are measured.


Cat 6 Test: Seven 55 m channels in a 6-around-1 setup – test data

55 m is the longest link specified in the IEEE 10GBASET standards when using Cat 6 cabling systems.


We start with just one of the disturber channels connected, and then we add the additional disturbers one by one. With a total of four disturbers in the test setup, the alien crosstalk introduced by the disturber channel coupled into the disturbed channel and reduced through put to zero. By adding the last two disturber channels, throughput on the disturbed channel has been eliminated due to the number of the CRC errors measured as a result of the alien crosstalk in the Cat 6 cabling system.



Cat 6A Test: Seven 100 m channels in a 6-around-1 setup – test data

In replicating the same test with 100 m Cat 6A channels, we start by connecting just one of the disturber channels at a time, up to all six disturbers. Not much changed in the throughput or error rate. Alien crosstalk is not affecting the test channel at all.

Cat 6 Test: Seven 55 m channels in a 6-around-1 set up – video signal

Repeating the test with Cat 6 using a video signal through the disturbed channel, we only get to four disturbers before the video signal completely locks up.

Cat 6A Test: Seven 55 m channels in a 6-around-1 set up – video signal

With all six disturbers in play, there is no degradation at all in the video signals.

Because video is time sensitive, it’s highly affected by even the smallest of errors, and in the worst-case 6-around-1 scenario, the Cat 6A cable passes the test.

So while the IEEE allows Cat 6 to be used in 10 Gig applications, this test proves you should install nothing less than Cat 6A. 

Learn more about our product testing and research.