Why choose Cat6a Riser cable over Cat6a plenum 1000ft? While the recommendation may be a little controversial, it is not wrong at all. There are many circumstances where all you need is a Cat6a riser cable even though you may think you need a plenum.
There are many reasons to choose the riser-rated Cat6a over the Cat6a plenum 1000ft. It is affordable, future-proof, easy to install, and safe. However, it has its own limitations. In indoor runs, you cannot run this cable in plenum spaces and other ducts where air runs freely. Because this cable can emit toxic smoke in a fire event, it is only to be used in contained spaces in indoor runs such as in elevator shafts, between floors, and inside walls.
Keep reading to find out all the reasons why you need to choose the Cat6a riser cable over its plenum counterpart. Watch out for bonus tips.
Choosing Ethernet Cables
Before we delve into why you need Cat6a riser cable over the plenum, it is important to understand choosing ethernet cables.
Unlike any other product, choosing a long ethernet cable is relatively meticulous. Primarily because there are many options available to choose from. And each option has its unique pros and cons that you need to know before choosing.
This makes the decision more difficult.
But the rule of thumb is to always understand your own requirements first. Ethernet cable producers and vendors will advertise their products in many ways. It is important to consider it but more important is to prioritize your own requirements first.
Once you do that, you will have a clear idea of what to choose. Note that doing research prior to buying will also help you have an idea of the cable’s cost.
Cat 6a Ethernet Cable
In addition to understanding the process of choosing the right ethernet cable, it is important to understand the Cat6a cable itself.
The two types of ethernet cables: Cat 6a plenum and Riser are basically the same with only a few exceptions. These few exceptions are the major differences between them and you must know what these are.
And the simple trick to understand the difference between the Cat6a riser and the plenum is to understand the Cat 6a ethernet cable.
Once you understand the bulk Cat 6a ethernet cable, all you need to do is to figure out the difference between plenum and riser jackets. Since the jackets are the primary difference between the two types of cable, knowing the difference between both will solve more than half the puzzle.
Cat6a Riser vs Cat6a Plenum: Choosing the Right One
Well, we have already established that you need to choose the Cat6a riser over its plenum counterpart. Here’s why.
The bulk Cat6a plenum is designed for indoor runs where air circulates freely. In case of a fire event, the plenum jacket of the cable will not burn easily and even if it does, it will not emit toxic smoke.
This makes the Cat6a plenum extremely safe for such indoor runs in HVAC ducts, etc.
But people choose the same cable for riser applications as well. That is kind of a splurge and you don’t need to do that. In fact, it is much wiser to use the riser cable in riser applications exclusively.
The Cat6a riser cable has a jacket that can emit toxic smoke in case of a fire event. But on the brighter side, it is extremely resistant to flame. So much so that its fire-retardant coating prevents the propagation of flame along its length.
So, this means that while it does emit toxic smoke, the real chances of catching fire are very low.
Moreover, it is a thinner jacket. Meaning, it can be handled very easily. Installing the Cat6a riser cable is therefore truly simple and fun as compared to the Cat6a plenum cable.
Why Choose Cat6a Riser?
If you are the kind of person who has absolutely zero compromises when it comes to the security of your LAN network, you might ask. Why choose the Cat6a riser when it is less safe than the Cat6a plenum?
The answer is that it is not less safe. Cat6a riser is not less safe than its counterpart, instead, it is precisely built for specific applications. And in the applications it is built for, it is just as safe as the plenum.
But of course in applications where a plenum cable has to be used, using the riser-rated Cat6a cable is strongly discouraged.
Performance, Interference, and Ease of Use
There are a few other factors that you need to consider when choosing between the two cables.
Not only are both of these long ethernet cables equally high-performing but the riser cable is rather more easy to use.
The data transfer rate of both cables is 10 GBit/s over 100 meters with a 750 MHz frequency.
This is enough for all kinds of ethernet applications. You can also use PoE on both, thanks to their bare copper conductors.
Ease of use is also an important factor. Especially when you are installing the cables in tricky spaces. If the cable jacket is too hard, it will not bend easily through curved ducts. And that can cause damage to the entire cable.
So all these features combined make the Cat6a riser cable a better choice for its design use case as compared to the Cat6a plenum 1000ft.
This article was hopefully of help to you. Remember, Cat6a riser cable is better for use in spaces it is designed for and not in plenum and outdoors.