Cat6 RJ45 / Keystones vs Cat6a? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-30-2020, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Cat6 RJ45 / Keystones vs Cat6a?

I'm having trouble narrowing down the actual answer on this, which I figured would have been a simple google search...

From what I understand, Cat6/Cat6a RJ45 connectors are the same. They're just like the Cat5e RJ45 connectors, with a difference being a staggered setup for the wires on the Cat6/Cata.

So am I losing anything other than the branding of Cat6a when I use a Cat6 termination on a Cat6a cable?

I understand the differences between Cat6 and Cat6a, I just don't see the difference between the actual RJ45 connectors/keystones.
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Merlin2000 View Post
I understand the differences between Cat6 and Cat6a, I just don't see the difference between the actual RJ45 connectors/keystones.
Cat6a has a ground wire, so Cat6a keystones are made out of metal. You could use a (plastic) 6 keystone with 6a, but then you are losing the ground.

Cat6a also has thicker wire, but I think most keystones cover the AWG range between 6 and 6a.
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the explanation. That's the EXACT technical answer I was hoping to find!

If I go with the shielded Cat6 RJ45 connectors, do I end up having best of both worlds?

https://www.amazon.com/Shielded-Cat6...8340430&sr=8-3

I can pick up a 50 count for $13 compared to $45 for the Cat6A label.
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post #4 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by FManBurch View Post
Cat6a has a ground wire, so Cat6a keystones are made out of metal. You could use a (plastic) 6 keystone with 6a, but then you are losing the ground.

Cat6a also has thicker wire, but I think most keystones cover the AWG range between 6 and 6a.
I think the term "drain wire" is used rather than the term "ground" for terminating shielded cat6a. I do not know the difference. And look for cat6a RJ45 terminations that provide additional room otherwise the fit is too tight or use a jack and then manufactured cat6a patch cables.

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post #5 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 06:53 AM
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Unless you're wiring well over 200 feet of data for a hospital, school, apartment complex etc... there is no need for Cat6a in the home. I use Cat6 because I'm anal but Cat5 still gives perfectly good reliability and speeds for in home gigabit at a tremendous savings.
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I wonder if these shielded RJ45s will work for 10GB speeds? https://www.amazon.com/Shielded-Cat6...8340430&sr=8-3

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Unless you're wiring well over 200 feet of data for a hospital, school, apartment complex etc... there is no need for Cat6a in the home. I use Cat6 because I'm anal but Cat5 still gives perfectly good reliability and speeds for in home gigabit at a tremendous savings.
Our house is a single level, spread out pretty wide, so we have runs near the 150ft length, still under specs, but close enough. Cat6a cable is not much more than Cat6, but it seems like the RJ45 ends are crazy expensive.

Looks like we'll have around 18-20 lines to drop, I just want to do it right.

We also have a few 10GB devices on the network, so I'd like to take out any networking limitations from our setup so at the end of the day. Complete future proof would have been to run fiber, but that's just a crazy cost that nothing really supports these days.

I'm also planning to wait for 10GB switches to drop down in price, as we only have a handful of devices that can take advantage anyway.. we're not going full out 10GB to every line, but a handful of devices would handle it.
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post #7 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 07:17 AM
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10GB would be nice. As far as transfer speeds across the network I'm still bottle necked by hard drive write speed so even though I could transfer 1GB my NAS still writes at less than 100MB due to the raid file write limitations and other SSD hard drives still are at less than 500MB speeds. To get full utilization of a high speed intranet Gen4 PCI drives would have to be in place at all points in the process. While the dream of 10GB is nice there are so many limitations within the network that it's not likely one would ever come close to reaching that goal. Not for several years anyways.
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Newer drives will slowly be able to take advantage of things like that, as the 2GB/s NVMe drives are now much more common. Many limiting factors will slowly go away to allow advantages once the 10GB network is in place.

Imagine a RAID10 NVMe array? Give it another 5-10 years and we'll see many devices being able to operate above the 1GB/s limitation. Hard drives have just come such a long way, which used to be our limiting factor, so nobody cared about a 500mb/s read/write. That used to be fast.



Also keep in mind, this isn't anything that an average every day consumer should care about.

NAS is definitely your limiting factor. But SSDs are making things faster, as well as the newer M.2 / NVMe getting up to the 2GB/s range.

Mine is running a RAID10 array, providing pretty crazy bandwidth.

With all devices running/backups/4k video streams/etc/etc just a quick test run shows:

1800 Mbps up and 2000 Mbps down.

The same computer, running an SSD and using a different NIC (basically all else equal) goes down to 700 Mbps up and 500 Mbps down (still, all devices running on the network).

An older NAS, running a basic Raid 1, is around 300 up/500 down (no current network operations, so this is maximum throughput).

Side note... can anyone really confirm the metal shielded Cat6 RJ45 connectors will not limit the 10gb speeds?
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 10:12 AM
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Since cat6a shielded is sold as 10GB/s I assume at least more reputable manufacturers have verified the speed. However, the equipment to test for that speed in a residential network is expensive; so, I have not tested. Since wiring a house with cat6a shielded is not that much more expensive I think it is worth risking overkill. I have metal jacks and they work fine and my Ethernet system is fast and reliable. Should AV over IP, audio visual over internet protocol, (streaming) replace HDMI I think my network is prepared.

I run my cables from a grounded patch panel to metal jacks in a wall plate and I turn the foil down and wrap the drain wires around cable under the jacks.

I found it to be to hard to use cat6 RJ45 terminators for cat6a because cat6a is fatter. The smart money would be on trying various RJ45 before buying a lot.

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post #10 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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However, the equipment to test for that speed in a residential network is expensive; so, I have not tested.
- I was wondering what the best way was to validate there were no single points of failure, such as a cat5e patch panel, cat6 keystone on a 200ft run, etc... My electrical guy wasn't too sure the best method for validating the bandwidth beyond using computer based tests. Yeah, it's easy to ensure each pin lines up on end-to-end, but much more difficult to validate any line loss / interference.

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The smart money would be on trying various RJ45 before buying a lot.
- Good point, I think I'll buy the Cat6 connectors, test the ends before the guys come up to tear my house a part
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Merlin2000 View Post
- I was wondering what the best way was to validate there were no single points of failure, such as a cat5e patch panel, cat6 keystone on a 200ft run, etc... My electrical guy wasn't too sure the best method for validating the bandwidth beyond using computer based tests. Yeah, it's easy to ensure each pin lines up on end-to-end, but much more difficult to validate any line loss / interference.


- Good point, I think I'll buy the Cat6 connectors, test the ends before the guys come up to tear my house a part
RJ45 continuity and short testers are inexpensive and available at Home Depot, etc.

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post #12 of 14 Old 05-01-2020, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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RJ45 continuity and short testers are inexpensive and available at Home Depot, etc.
Only testers I've seen are the ones that essentially validate each pin one by one. I have a handful of those, but that's not a guarantee of any imperfections/interference in the cable/line. That's just going to tell me if there's an actual disconnection somewhere in a pin/connection. I'm not worried about screwing up a RJ45 connection, or not crimping something, I'm concerned about measuring the technical throughput of the lines.
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-02-2020, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Merlin2000 View Post
Only testers I've seen are the ones that essentially validate each pin one by one. I have a handful of those, but that's not a guarantee of any imperfections/interference in the cable/line. That's just going to tell me if there's an actual disconnection somewhere in a pin/connection. I'm not worried about screwing up a RJ45 connection, or not crimping something, I'm concerned about measuring the technical throughput of the lines.
$$$ If you can find cheaper equipment that does an accurate test please post.

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Display: LG OLED 65e6p, Player: OPPO UDP-203, AVR:Yamaha TSR 7810, Streaming: Comcast 60Mbps RG6 to Cat6a, Speakers: Mains Vandersteen IIC, Center, Surrounds, Rears Klipsch
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post #14 of 14 Old 05-06-2020, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Merlin2000 View Post
Only testers I've seen are the ones that essentially validate each pin one by one. I have a handful of those, but that's not a guarantee of any imperfections/interference in the cable/line. That's just going to tell me if there's an actual disconnection somewhere in a pin/connection. I'm not worried about screwing up a RJ45 connection, or not crimping something, I'm concerned about measuring the technical throughput of the lines.
If you have a problem I would guess that 99% of the time the problem will be an open/continuity, and if you have continuity then 99% of the time performance will be per the specs of your wiring and hardware. So for me at least continuity checks are enough …
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