Q: What is Cat 6 wiring?
A: Whereas you’re probably familiar with Cat-5 wiring, which is used for cable television among many other things, augmented Category 6 copper wiring, commonly referred to as Cat-6a, is its big brother. Cat-6a wiring was once preferred for commercial office environments but is now being implemented more and more for residential use. Cat-6a is designed to handle 10 Gigabits per second (10Gb/s) data rates. This makes it ideal for installing multiple applications through a network simultaneously. It allows large-file transfers and can support high-end security applications and the distribution of digital audio and video. To illustrate its speed, via a 10Gb/s connection rate, downloading a typical DVD of about 3GB would take around just 24 seconds. To hook up a High Definition Media Interface (HDMI), you need at least 5Gb/s for 1080 pixel quality, both of which are quickly becoming the benchmarks for any new TV purchase. To handle this technology, there are two choices: fiber optics and copper, and copper remains the more cost-effective option and it can carry lower levels of power for residential environments. Learn more at the Copper Development Association at www.copper.org.