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Frequently Asked Questions about Cat7 Ethernet Cable

What is a Cat7 Ethernet Cable?

The Category 7 cable, often called Cat7 Ethernet cable, is an advanced data cabling solution. Cat7 has the ability of a range of transmission requirements such as Gigabit, 10 Gigabit, 40 GB, and 100 GB Ethernet setups. A Cat 7 cable offers performance up to 600MHz. Cat7a offer performance up to 1000Mhz

However, it is still an unknown cable category in telecom networks in many situations. Tests have shown that it can transmit 40 Gb at 50 meters and 100 Gb at 15 meters.

What is the Cat7 Cable Specification?

Cat7 Ethernet cable is specified in the ISO / IEC standards as a "Class F " cable. The Cat7 standard follows previous Classes such as Cat5e - Class D, Cat6 - Class E, and Cat6a - ClassEa. The specifications cover generic data cabling situations for a wide range of applications. Therefore, whatever the technology employed, they will all perform the same over a set standard of data cabling class rating

The full ISO/IEC 11801 standards are explained further here

What is the Cat7 Cable Speed?

The Cat 7 cable was designed to support 10 Gbps Ethernet. However, certain tests have shown it to be much higher, showing capability for 40 Gbps and even 100 Gbps. The 100 GB capability has been tested to 15 meters—however, an exact setup of synchronised hardware will be required. It must be kept in mind, however, that these are lab tests and not standards set by the cabling standard authorities. 

Compared to previous categories, Cat 7 speeds are six times higher than Cat5e cabling (100 MHz) and 2.4 times higher than Cat6 (250 MHz). However, this is only a slight increase from Cat6a, which has a bandwidth of 500Mhz. However, when considering Cat7a, the performance jump from Cat6a to Cat7a is double. Thus, 500Mhz to 1000Mhz

What is the Cat7 Max Length

Cat7 standards are standardised at a permanent link of 90 meters, the same as all previous categories. There is an allowance of 5 m patch leads at each end. A direct link of 100 m is also applicable. The Cat7 max length should be considered and adhered to in all designs. Outside of these distances, the cable's performance will be unknown.

What is the Cat7 Connector?

In many ways, a Cat7 ethernet cable connector looks similar to the previous data cabling categories. The RJ45 plug connector is still present. However, there are additional connection points within the termination connector. These new connectors are commonly known as TERA or GG45 connectors. These changes are replicated within a termination jack/modules, a termination plug, or a Cat7 patch cable. Also, the hardware used for transmitting and receiving must be capable of operating over these additional termination points. Therefore, a Cat7 cabling system is a significant undertaking and a consideration.

Is Cat7 Backwards Compatible?

Cat7 connectors are very similar in look and nature to those of the previous data cabling categories. Like the previous cabling systems, they have an RJ45 central connector. However, the connector has four additional connectors, commonly known as TERA or GG45 connectors, to increase the transmission capabilities.

Due to the central RJ45 connector, Cat7 cabling will plug into the previous Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a systems. The reverse is also true. However, a cabling system is only as fast as its weakest part; therefore, when combining systems, the overall performance will only be as good as the lowest category of cabling within that link. For example, plugging a Cat7 patch leads into a cat5e system doesn't change the performance of a Cat5e system. Conversely, plugging a cat5e patch lead into a Cat7 system reduces its cabling standards to a Cat5e cabling link.

Additional Article: Is Cat7 Backward Compatible?

 

The chart below will give you a comparison of cabling systems.

Cat5 vs Cat5e Cabling comparison chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat7 vs Cat6 and Cat7 vs Cat6a

How do we compare Cat7 speeds vs. Cat6 speeds? We have already seen that Cat 7 speeds have an increased bandwidth of 600Mhz, and Cat7a has an increased bandwidth of 1000Mhz. Cat6 and Cat6a had previously been capable of 250Mhz and 500Mhz. 

The construction of the Cat7 cable is also further advanced. It has greater shielding to better protect against EMI and alien crosstalk, both hindering higher-speed transmissions. Cat7 has individual shielding for the inner pair twists and overall shielding for the entire cable. This shielding is the core standard in Cat7 cables. However, it is also seen in some options for Cat6a cables, although not as the common standard. 

Cat7 vs Cat8 - What is the difference between Cat7 and Cat8?

The first main difference between Cat7 vs Cat8 is the bandwidth. Cat7 Ethernet cable speed is rated at 600Mhz, Cat7a cable at 1000Mhz, and cat8 at 2000Mhz

Cat8 is a standard that differs from previous cabling categories. In previous categories, the standard of 90 meters was used to judge the performance of the cable and the transmission speeds it was capable of over that link length. However, Cat8's ability to not exceed 90 m isn't different from Cat6a and Cat7 in that it still only achieves 10 gigabits at that distance.

Cat8 cable has a maximum Permanent Link Length of 24 meters and a maximum Channel length of 30 m when supporting 25Gbps and 40Gbps speeds. It is the first cable to be ratified at these distances. Therefore, the main difference between Cat7 and Cat8 is the ability of Cat8 to be ratified for 25 gigabit and 40 gigabit. 

Further Cat7 Ethernet cable articles

We have also written several other articles concerning Cat7 cabling and other categories. Please click below to read these articles.

 

Cat6 vs Cat7. Whats the difference?

Whats the difference between Cat5 Cat6 Cat7 Cat8 Cabling?

What is Cat7 Ethernet?

For further articles with regards to Cat7 Ethernet cable please visit our Knowledge Center HERE

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