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Cat 6a UTP is constructed in a specific way to help eliminate crosstalk and ANEXT. ANEXT is the measurement of the signal coupling between wiring pairs in different and adjacent cables. This includes larger conductors (23 AWG minimum), tighter twists, an extra internal airspace, an internal separator between the pairs, and a thicker outer jacket. These features also increase the outer diameter of the cable, typically to .35 inches in diameter, up from .25 inches for Cat 6 cable. This increased diameter creates a greater distance between pairs in adjacent links, thus reducing the between-channel signal coupling.
Cat 6a UTP cable is still affected by ANEXT, however according to the standards, ANEXT can be improved by laying Cat 6a UTP cable loosely in pathways and racewayswith space between the cables. This contrasts to the tightly bundled runs of Cat 6/5e cable we are used to. The tight bundles represent a worst-case scenario of six cables around one, thus the centre cable would be adversely affected by ANEXT. Testing for ANEXT is a complex and time-consuming process where all possible wire-pair combinations are checked. It can take up to 50 minutes to test on link in a bundle of 24 Cat 6a UTP cables.
What is Cat 6a?
Augmented Category 6 (Cat 6a) - Class Ea was ratified in February 2008. This standard calls for 10-Gigabit Ethernet data transmission over a 4-pair copper cabling system up to 100 meters. Cat 6a extends Cat 6 electrical specifications from 250 MHz to 500 MHz. It introduces the ANEXT requirement, and also replaces the term Equal Level Far-End Crosstalk (ELFEXT) with Attenuation to Crosstalk Ratio, Far-End (ACRF) to mesh with ISO terminology. Cat 6a provides improved insertion loss over Cat 6. It is a good choice for noisy environments with lots of EMI. Cat 6a is also well-suited for use with PoE+.
Conductor Material: Soft annealed bare copper wire.
Insulation Material: HDPE (high-density polyethylene).
Twisted Pair: Lay length <38mm.
Sheath Material: PVC with a rip cord under the sheath.