What is the difference between CAT6 and CAT6e?

Last modified: July 12, 2021
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There are many differences between Category 6 (CAT6) and Category 6e (CAT6e). Take ICC cables for example. ICC’s CAT6 cable has a frequency range of 500 MHz versus the CAT6e cable which has a range of 600 MHz. In addition, CAT6 is established by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) as an industry performance standard and CAT6e is not. This article helps to explain.

CAT6 - 500 MHz RatedCAT6e - 600 MHz Rated

Common UsageCAT6CAT6e
Phone Lines
Home Network
Office Network
Data CenterX
Potential Bandwidth (per sec)1Gb1Gb
Time to transfer 1 Terabyte3 hours3 hours
Data Transmission1000 BASE-TXExceeds 1000 BASE-TX
Connector TypeRJ45 8P8C (for CAT6)RJ45 (for CAT6)
Frequency Range Minimum0 - 250 MHz0 - 250 MHz
Frequency Maximum500 MHz600 MHz
Performance Distance328 Feet328 Feet
Alt. Distance10Gb 180ft10Gb 180ft

Category 6
The mainstream adoption of Gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-T) required a new industry-standard cable. The cable needed to be capable of transmitting at a higher frequency of 250 MHz. As a result, cable manufacturers introduced CAT6. The CAT6 cable uses a thicker-gauge wire and has an increased shielding. Also, the wires have more twists per inch. These improvements helped to reduce signal loss and interference. The tighter specifications guaranteed that 100-meter runs using CAT6 cable is capable of 1000 Mbit/s transfer speeds. Also, CAT6 cable can reach 10-Gigabit Ethernet speeds by reducing the length to less than 50 meters. After introducing CAT6, ICC made enhancements and produced CAT6e.

Category 6e
CAT6e is an augmented specification of CAT6. It is designed to double the frequency from 250 MHz to 600 MHz. There is no standard for CAT6e that is recognized by the TIA like there is for the CAT6 and CAT5e. ICC introduced the CAT6e cable as a premium offering to CAT6, just like most bulk cable manufacturers. In addition, CAT6e cable with grounded foil shielding can reach 10-Gigabit Ethernet speeds without having to reduce the maximum length of 100 meters.

ICC offers bulk network cable in three performances; CAT6A, CAT6, and CAT5e. To learn more, please visit icc.com/bulk-cable.

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