Battle of the Sixes

Reel Time March 2008, Cabling Business Magazine

In the September issue, the Reel Time column discussed the differences between Category 6 and Category 5e. But, there is also confusion on why there are so many grades of Category 6. Physically, some have splines to separate the pairs, some have different pair twists, some have thicker copper gauge sizes. Performance-wise bandwidth capacity falls in the range of 100 – 600 MHz. Why do we need so many “sixes?”
 
Trying to carefully answer this question, I spent much time trying to find a winning analogy. Since the article deadline fell on February 4, in which I, a devout New England Patriots’ fan, have named “Black Monday” after a Giant letdown… or to others, simply, the day after Super Bowl XLII, it was very hard to focus on cable. As I was driving back from New England to my relocated home in Pennsylvania (having to pass through NY Giant territory), my mind began reeling with correlations on how to explain the different Category sixes, while all I could think about were football strategies.
 
So, it could be similar to this – some Category 6 cables are like the Patriot’s 2008 team – they performed flawlessly all year, but just didn’t go the distance to a perfect season. Or, possibly during the Super Bowl, the Patriots’ performance was second-string compliant to the enhanced first-string performance of the NY Giants. In comparison, the rankings of Category 6 cables score differently in performance, yet all meet the professional standards set by the industry’s expectations.
 
Read the complete article, Battle of the Sixes, for the complete play-by-play analysis.