Networking & Cables

Cat5, Cat6, and Cat6a: Is it Time to Start Future-Proofing?

According to Primex, integrators should encourage commercial clients to consider the possible costs of delaying upgrading to Cat6a.

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5 Comments
Posted by John Nemesh on April 19, 2019

The PoE argument is the best one for using Cat6a…but if you are REALLY future-proofing, you should be running fiber along with your copper wire!  Cat6a or even Cat 7 is not going to handle the 48Gbps that HDMI 2.1 requires.  Fiber will.

Posted by PHAND on April 19, 2019

With the preferred method of delivery moving to streaming I’m seeing no advantage for HDMI 2.1 and its 48Gbps bandwidth. Your source these days is a little box with an app on it or an app built into a TV. Centralized video sources and distribution is being negated by the ability to bury that little streaming box behind the TV and run the cable companies app on it. Get cat5/6/6a to that box. Will we need 10Gbps capable cable in the future? Sure, but it’s not going to be for HDMI. We are removing BluRay players and cable boxes from system upgrades now and just replacing them with AppleTV/Roku for full surround systems, or just use the app built into the TV and a soundbar for smaller room systems.  Now that is not to say not to run fibre to locations. Fibre is going to come in handy for high bandwidth distribution of data sometime in the future.. but again not HDMI.

Posted by SKoolD on April 20, 2019

Agree with John.  Fiber is the way to go.  It’s also considerably cheaper than cat6a and is easier to terminate and manage in patch bays etc.  No question you should future proof but if it’s even a question just pull OM3 Multimode Duplex along with your cat6 and call it a day.

Posted by John Nemesh on April 22, 2019

@PHAND I sure sell a lot of matrix switches to installers for there to be no demand for centralized video distribution…just because YOU aren’t selling it, doesn’t mean there isn’t still demand.

Posted by Paul Cunningham on May 1, 2019

@PHAND matrix switchers, in addition to being a cool party trick, are particularly useful when you need to deal with:

- An expensive source (e.g. Kscape)
- An exclusive source (e.g. office computer, game console, optical disc player)
- A requirement for AV synchronization (e.g. open floor plan with multiple TVs visible/audible to the user playing the same content
- Licensing/capacity issues (e.g. can only have X amount of media players associated to an account)

5 Comments
Posted by Paul Cunningham on May 1, 2019

@PHAND matrix switchers, in addition to being a cool party trick, are particularly useful when you need to deal with:

- An expensive source (e.g. Kscape)
- An exclusive source (e.g. office computer, game console, optical disc player)
- A requirement for AV synchronization (e.g. open floor plan with multiple TVs visible/audible to the user playing the same content
- Licensing/capacity issues (e.g. can only have X amount of media players associated to an account)

Posted by John Nemesh on April 22, 2019

@PHAND I sure sell a lot of matrix switches to installers for there to be no demand for centralized video distribution…just because YOU aren’t selling it, doesn’t mean there isn’t still demand.

Posted by SKoolD on April 20, 2019

Agree with John.  Fiber is the way to go.  It’s also considerably cheaper than cat6a and is easier to terminate and manage in patch bays etc.  No question you should future proof but if it’s even a question just pull OM3 Multimode Duplex along with your cat6 and call it a day.

Posted by PHAND on April 19, 2019

With the preferred method of delivery moving to streaming I’m seeing no advantage for HDMI 2.1 and its 48Gbps bandwidth. Your source these days is a little box with an app on it or an app built into a TV. Centralized video sources and distribution is being negated by the ability to bury that little streaming box behind the TV and run the cable companies app on it. Get cat5/6/6a to that box. Will we need 10Gbps capable cable in the future? Sure, but it’s not going to be for HDMI. We are removing BluRay players and cable boxes from system upgrades now and just replacing them with AppleTV/Roku for full surround systems, or just use the app built into the TV and a soundbar for smaller room systems.  Now that is not to say not to run fibre to locations. Fibre is going to come in handy for high bandwidth distribution of data sometime in the future.. but again not HDMI.

Posted by John Nemesh on April 19, 2019

The PoE argument is the best one for using Cat6a…but if you are REALLY future-proofing, you should be running fiber along with your copper wire!  Cat6a or even Cat 7 is not going to handle the 48Gbps that HDMI 2.1 requires.  Fiber will.