The internet of things is connecting just about everything. Smart homes, smart buildings, and smart cities are all growing at an accelerated pace. These trends have pushed organizations to adopt new networking standards supporting faster speeds and more extensive data throughputs.  

Cat6 cables are a staple in any structured cabling system because they are the standard Ethernet transmission in residential and commercial buildings. However, different types of Cat6 cables serve a specific purpose. Whether you’re installing brand-new cables or refreshing an existing system, it helps to know your options before making a purchase. Here are the three main types of cat6 plenum cables you need to know:

What is a cat6 Cable?

A Cat6 cable is a network cable used to transmit Ethernet signals at gigabit speeds. They are typically used in Ethernet installations such as computer networks, structured wiring installations, and PoE applications. The different types of cat6 plenum cables are specified by their shielding type. To determine which cable type is right for your application, it’s essential to understand the different characteristics of each type.  

The 3 Different Types of Cat6 Plenum Cables You Need to Know

  • Cat6 Riser Cable

Cat6 Riser Cables come with 550MHz bandwidth and 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps data transfer rates over 50 meters and 100 meters, respectively. Furthermore, it offers excellent protection against crosstalk and electromagnetic interference, making it an ideal choice for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet applications.  

Riser cables were designed and manufactured specifically for mounting in riser spaces of buildings. You can also use these cables outdoors.

An important factor to consider when installing riser cables is the environment. The UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable is the best choice for riser cable installations in crosstalk- and EMI-prone environments. The STP (shielded twisted pair) riser cable is best for harsh environments – areas with a lot of electromagnetic interference. 

  •  Cat6 PVC Cable

A PVC cable type is a non-plenum-rated cable commonly used in residential and commercial applications. PVC is short for “polyvinyl chloride,” a chemically-modified form of plastic used in constructing the cable jacket. PVC cables are designed to be pulled through conduit or wiring ducts but should not be installed in plenums. PVC cables are not flame retardant, so they should be installed outside plenums and kept away from excessive heat. 

The design of the PVC jacket makes it easy to pull through horizontal cabling runs; however, the jacket may melt when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, they are made to be used in outdoor installations. The cable can transmit data at rates of 1Gbps or 10 Gbps over a distance of 100 meters or 55 meters, respectively. The bandwidth capacity of the cables stands at 550MHz.

  • Cat6 Plenum Cables

A plenum-grade cable is a network cable specifically designed for spaces used for air circulation. Plenum spaces include drop ceilings, wall cavities, and HVAC systems. It has been tested for flammability and is UL listed as a fire-retardant cable. 

Plenum cables have a special jacket made from fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) or a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material. Plenum Cat6 cables can function properly in various temperatures and are UV resistant. 


Hopefully, you found that this article has made you aware of the types of cables available for your communication infrastructure. You will be able to identify which cables are intended for specific uses. Make sure that you carefully choose the right cable for your communication infrastructure.


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