Cat 6 Vs Cat 6a Cabling

Has anyone come across a request for all IP cameras (1080p cameras specified, 15ips recording, based on 80% motion) that specifies all camera cabling be CAT 6a? With the cost difference and size difference in CAT 6a (especially Plenum rated cabling)what would be the justification for using this type of cabling for IP cameras?


Claude, related to this: Anixter: H.264 Video 'Pretty Much Unusable' With Cat 5E

Is Cat 6a a requirement? Are they somehow thinking they need 10GE to the camera?

I have seen it in RFPs. Usually it is "future proofing" the structured cabling plant that drives this. There is no need for 10Gig out to the cameras at this point. If the customer is willing to pay the premium, it doesn't hurt.

Future-proofing? Compliance?

fwiw, The cat 6a that I have played around with is huge and heavy.

We completed a project resently where all cabling was 6A with about 3000 runs. The cabling contractor used Cat6a for our cameras too and I think they just did it to keep the standard for the project and it kept the IDFs clean without having different patch panels and cables. Priceing was very expenive as the 7' patch cables where $19.95 my cost!

Our shop does a lot of telecom design. What drives our cable specification is what the client wants. There are very few legitimate needs for 6a at this point, but a few clients have IT standards that call for 6a, so that is what that is what we spec. Absent that we call for 5e or 6.

6A has better noise shielding and is well suited for areas with high RF noise such as FFA communications buildings and Command centers. I speak from experience that it makes a difference. I wouldn't use it for any other reason.

it takes twice as long to punch down

It's not uncommon, as others have mentioned here, for customers to be willing to pay more in order to provide an infrastructure standard for future use and consistency. CAT6a provides no functional benefit for cameras in use today over standard CAT6, except in rare applications as mentioned above.

However, CAT5e should never be used for any cameras running h.264. I know many of you will say that you've done it plenty of times and had no issues, and I'm not disagreeing with you, but I've also seen many times where problems on new installs were resolved simply by upgrading to CAT6.

For example, one time when I was working for a popular VMS manufacturer, I had 2 new cameras acting very sporadically on a brand new install. The infrastructure was all new CAT6 throughout, including 1Gb PoE switches with a 10Gb backbone. Additionally, these 2 cameras were identical to the rest of the cameras installed, which were having no issues at all. After some trouble shooting, we found that the end user had used a couple CAT5e patch cords for those two cameras because they ran out of the new CAT6 patch cords and just wanted to finish. We had them replace those 2 patch cords with CAT6 units and the problems literally disappeared for both cameras. This drove me crazy until I found out that the shielding on CAT5e spec cable was insufficient for h.264 encoded video data.

Rian - I would question not the fact that the cables were Cat5e, but the quality of manufacturing of them. There is a lot of CCA on the market. If someone swapped out a couple cables, it is likely they used the cheapest thing they had on their van which had been rolling around, subject to abuse.

This drove me crazy until I found out that the shielding on CAT5e spec cable was insufficient for h.264 encoded video data.

Were you told this by Anixter? Anixter: H.264 Video 'Pretty Much Unusable' With Cat 5E

CAT5e UTP and CAT6 UTP have the same amount of shielding, none.

Both are available in STP versions.

"This drove me crazy until I found out that the shielding on CAT5e spec cable was insufficient for h.264 encoded video data."

Are you serious ? :)

The thing I find most odd about the specification is they only ask for Cat 6a to the camera. All of the cameras locations are no more than a 100 foot run from the switch locations. In this job there are also numerous other IP devices are part of the scope of work (ie. 7 x IP Access Door Controllers, 4 x Lifesafety smart Power supplies, 5 - Layer 3 network and POE switches) with no mention of cabling requirements to these devices other than to meet Manufacturers recommended cabling requirements.

Another confusing item in the spec is they will allow the use of IP to coax convertors for existing camera locations, which in my mind condradicts the intent. If you want to future proof I would start by replacing all of the co-ax cable.

I am just trying to get a sense of what is being asked for in typical tenders and RFPs.