How much is the cost of Cat6a cable 
How much is the cost of Cat6a cable? What is the difference in cost between Cat6 and Cat6a cabling? What are the differences between Cat6a and Cat7? We are regularly asked these questions as we conduct surveys as a data cabling contractor.
Cat6a Price per data point
Many of our clients enquire how much an information cabling project is per point. Consequently, the clarification explained in the following section is a decent method to know for pricing purposes. Moreover, you can scale the numbers to suit your specific project and have a good starting point for overall costs.
The data beneath will show the cost per cabling outlet changes because of numerous elements. These numerous elements, therefore, change the overall price.
A decent gauge for Cat6a cabling cost per information point is £50.00 – £65.00 per point. However, the overall cost can change depending upon numerous factors. For instance, elements concerning the structure, timings, and number of links inside the building project
Each project is specific to that building and client. Therefore, depending on those specifics, the method and timings of installation will change. Furthermore, as these change, so does the quotation.
The primary consideration with any project is to ensure that all your requirements are taken into consideration. In too many cases, we see like-for-like quotations with items not included, which then unsurprisingly increase your cost after you have committed to the work.
Is Cat6a expensive?
Whether it is expensive is relative, depending on your current needs and future requirements. Firstly, Cat6a is more expensive than Cat6 and Cat5e because the materials for each component are more expensive.
Secondly, there is a slightly longer installation time for Cat6a in comparison. Both of which make the cost price of Cat6a more expensive
However, if you require Cat6a performance in the future for 10 Gigabit, it will be more cost-effective in the long run to install the more expensive cable now than to pay to install it again in the future and with a lot of disruption. In addition, with that disruption comes significant costs
Schools are finding this now with the government recommendation to upgrade to Cat6a, which, when installed in old buildings, comes at a significant cost.
NM Cabling has been involved in education installations since 2001, starting with The London Borough of Barnet, and over that time, the recommendation to move to Cat6a has been the biggest change to installation practices.
Below are situations where the overall cost of your Cat6a cabling project can change
- The overall total of Cat6a cabling ports you require to have installed
- Whether the cable is Euroclass rated, LSOH, or basic PVC (i.e. does it adhere to the correct safety codes)
- The distance from the cabinet to the outlets for the Cat6a cabling runs
- The construction of the building and the routes within that building
- The density of the cabling. Are they grouped or spread far and wide?
- The building type, such as a listed building, warehouse, school, modern office, or residential home
- The presence of existing containment for the cabling to be contained in
- The requirement for new containment and the difficulties of installing that containment
- Are there false floors or false ceilings present
- Is any external work for Cat6a cabling required?
- The timings of the project. Will the work be standard hours or out-of-hours?
- The location of the project
- Limitations on working hours, access, and specific practices such as security clearances
- London Congestions, Parking, Travel
Cat6 Cable price – Structured cabling estimate
As a starting point, the average of most Cat6a cable price projects is within the range of £50.00 per point, up to £65.00 per point. The average is, therefore, slightly higher than Cat5e or Cat6 cabling installations.
We have assumed a minimum of 20-24 data cabling outlets for calculation purposes.
Of course, there will be projects where the cat6a price will be lower than the average range above and projects where it is higher.
The above list gives a good idea of what changes the overall cost of Cat6a cabling. Therefore, the more positive elements present, the lower the overall average cost. Conversely, the more negative elements there are will result in a higher average cost.
What would move the Cat6 data cabling price to the lower pricing range?
The bullet points below are situations where you could expect the average Cat6a price to be in the lower range of £50.00-£65.00 per Cat6a outlet.
A larger number of cat6a cabling points
Labour costs remain steady in some instances when installing five, ten, twenty, or more cat6a cabling outlets. This is especially true if there is a high density of cables in one area. For example, pulling 20 cat6a cables to one desk cluster is a similar labour time to pulling in only 4. Of course, the termination time increases, but labour as an average reduces the more cabling outlets there are
Therefore, one hundred Cat6a cables will cost less on average per point than installing fifty cat6a outlets.
The difficulty of the cabling routes
Some buildings are better suited to easier structured cabling installation. For example, an office with false floors and ceilings will have a quicker installation time than a school with solid ceilings and no existing cabling routes. Therefore, the easier the routes, the quicker the cabling installation. This will result in fewer labour costs and, hence, a lower overall cost. This especially applies to the number of outlets there are.
The density of the Cat6a cables
As we discussed above, pulling more data cables to the same area requires similar labour. Therefore, the more densely concentrated the cables are, the lower the installation time. A comparison would be 100 Cat6a outlets in an office to 25 desks compared to 100 Cat6a outlets in an office to 50 desks. The 50 desks require 50 individual routes compared to only 25 in the other scenario. In this example, the installation time is higher, and other factors, such as containment and route-making, might also increase.
What would move the Cat6 data cabling price to the higher pricing range?
Challenging cabling routes or requirements for some new containment
As previously discussed, false ceilings and floors make for an easier installation. Cat6a cables can freely be installed throughout the length of the building and installed in larger looms of cable. However, in some buildings, routes are blocked or complex, which increases the installation time.
Challenging routes can exist in the following
- Solid walls that require drilling
- Solid floors that require chasing
- Ceilings with solid finishes that require access hatches or significant route planning
- The requirement to install cables externally due to no internal routes
In the examples above, the routes are more difficult and can also create the requirement for new containment. Therefore, the installation time increases and the cost and time for the new containment increase the project total. Additional containment can sometimes result in a project rising by 50-100%
The location of the building and its access
The location of the project can make a difference. For example, the Central London project incurs additional time and costs. The obvious ones are the congestion charge and higher parking charges. However, lack of access to accessible parking results in extra time to access the materials and tools from the van. In open areas, they are located directly outside the project.
The flexibility of working times and access
Out-of-hours installation or difficult time scales can result in a higher price. However, working outside of hours can sometimes be the best choice. Working while the building is empty can sometimes speed up the installation time. However, when comparing like-for-like, out-of-working-hours installations move the pricing to the upper average bracket.
Containment that is not suitable for additional cables
Cat6 and Cat5e cables have similar installation requirements for containment, whether in dado trunking, false ceilings, or floors. However, Cat6a is a larger cable, and due to its construction, it has a more significant bend radius requirement. Therefore, when specifically installing Cat6a into dado trunking, the containment that was once suitable for cat5e or cat6 will no longer be large enough or appropriate. Furthermore, there will be a requirement for new or additional containment, which results in extra costs
What factors increase cabling costs out of the range?
- Non-standard Buildings
These would be the type of buildings where the installation process is more complex. These complex reasons can be due to the building's construction, size, or access.
Examples such as
- Buildings with a requirement for lots of single Cat6a cables to a wide area of its building.Examples such as CCTV cameras, Wi-Fi outlets or Access Control
- Hospitality and Hotels. A hotel can have a significant requirement for data cabling, but it consists of many small cabling requirements. For example, a bedroom could have five Cat6a outlets, but all five on different walls.
- Large Warehouses: The main difference with warehouses is the height inside. Therefore, cabling is usually installed off of powered access lifts. Thus, installation is more complex and time-consuming
- Schools: Most schools are constructed with solid ceilings and rarely have any false floors. Therefore, internal cable routes are nonexistent. Complex routes are, therefore, common and time-consuming.
- Care Homes: Similar to schools, care homes generally have solid ceilings and walls within. Thus, complex routing is required. Besides, care must be taken to work around the residents, and this results in additional installation time
- Smaller projects with only a few cables: If a project only requires a few Cat6a cables, the overall average cost will be higher. The installation labour remains the same, so the average cost of that labour over the smaller number of outlets is, therefore, higher. This would be in an installation of 5-10 outlets. For the comparisons above, the starting point is 20- 24 outlets.
How much is Cat6a cabling - Cat6a vs Cat5e
What is the difference between Cat5e and Cat6a? When compared to Cat5e, Cat6a has five times the bandwidth. Cat6a cables support bandwidth frequencies up to 500. Cat5e cabling only supports up to 100Mhz
Furthermore, over the industry-specified 90m maximum link, Cat6a can support 10 Gigabit. Cat5e is only suitable for 1 Gigabit.
A general guideline for Cat5e in the UK is £40.00 – £55.00 per point. 
How much is Cat6a cabling- Cat6 vs Cat6a
Cat6 vs Cat6a Bandwidth and Speed
When compared to Cat6, Cat6a has double the bandwidth. Cat6a cables support bandwidth frequencies up to 500. Cat6 cabling only supports up to 250Mhz
Besides, as highlighted above, Cat6a can transit 10Gig up to 90m. By comparison, Cat6 can only transmit the same up to 55m. Cat6 is most suitable for a 1Gigabit link.
A reasonable estimate for Cat6 cabling price per data point is £45.00 – £55.00 per point.
Cat6 vs Cat6a Installation comparisons - Is Cat6a hard to install?
The Outlets for the cables are generally different. For example, Cat6 installations are usually terminated with an all-in-one euro module. The patch panels are generally pre-made into 24 outlets across a single panel.
However, Cat6a terminations are terminated onto keystone jacks. These jacks snap into a shutter, such as a euro shutter, which fits in a faceplate. The Cat6a faceplate is empty with 24 keystone slots. Therefore, only the cables installed are snapped into the panel.
In addition, a Cat6a cable has a greater diameter due to its increased shieling and twists, resulting in less flexibility on pulls and fewer cables being able to follow the same route or access existing containment.
How long will Cat6a cable last?
Most manufacturers give a 20-25-year warranty on their components, such as cable, modules, jacks and patch leads. Therefore, you can be confident your cabling with the correct installation and environment will last more than 20 years
An example of a 25 year warranty can be viewed here from one of our data cabling manafacturers
How much is Cat6a cabling- Final considerations
Many elements affect how much is Cat6a cabling. Your current technology and future requirements should consider which cabling is most suitable. Therefore, avoid the requirements to replace the cabling once your technology supersedes the current installation. Thus, making an allowance for one hundred data points now to flood a whole floor instead of partially cabling fifty will only increase the overall cost less than doubling it.
However, if you install a further fifty Cat5e outlets at a later date, the two projects combined will be more than double due to having to remove the old ones and also work in a populated office. Therefore, resulting in additional time and cost
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