Higher Category RJ Connector On Lower Category Cable?

I got a question I just can't seem to find an awnser for on the internet. I wasn't quite mentioned in the several cabling guide's on this site.

If you use a higher catagory (e.g. CAT6a) on a lower quality cable (e.g. CAT5e), does it deminish the quality of the signal ? Or can you always use a higher catagory connector ?

I'm asking this cause we saw that the CAT6 connectors are more expensive then the CAT6a for some reason at our prefferred supplier.


If you use a higher category connector, you're fine. It doesn't have any negative quality impact.

A lower category connector will quite possibly reduce your rating, despite using higher category cable.

The wire diameter is different between the two, so there is risk of loose contact between conductor ends. Look at sideview of the terminations here:

It may not be possible to use Cat 6a ends on Cat 5e cable (3piece or crimp?), but even if it is it could lead to big problems. Cables pulling free of connectors and such. I'd avoid doing it.

Was going to say basically the same thing. The connectors are typically rated for wire gauge and insulation thickness. If the higher rated connector is intended for the same cable properties it shouldn't be a problem. If the connector is intended for a different cable type, it might work or you might have any number of puzzling failure modes.

Unless the savings are significant it terms of overall dollars, I'd probably not try to save a few bucks on an untested or unsupported configuration here, especially if the cable plant is being warrantied.

Funny thing is, we've been using connectors marked for Cat5e that have the staggered layout like that. I hate them, personally, because the wires have to be carefully splayed to slide in, but my co-worker loves them.

but my co-worker loves them

I hate when people are wrong and don't even know it ;)

Those staggered RJ-45 ends are not my favorite either. I ordered a bag by mistake a couple of years ago and only use them out of duress.

Those staggered connectors are a joke... that is unless used with a 'compatible' staggered panel. ;)

Apologies to whomever found this Unhelpful; no doubt it looked like just a smart ass remark, but there's actually a little more to it than that:

In the case of the plug conductors, the idea behind the staggering is to reduce near-end crosstalk by

  1. Increasing the distance between pairs
  2. Preserve some twisting thru the connector

In the case of the patch panel, the staggering is to reduce alien crosstalk by increasing the distance between adjacent cables.

Remember that the cable is most susceptible to crosstalk at the connector since twisting is relaxed...

Well it wasn't me who found it unhelpful :)

Actually made me think of a time my buddy decided to troll the salesdroid at a local big-box electronics retailer... we were marveling at the price of a Monster-brand power bar that, among other "features", had color-coded plugs for all the different equipment. After the droid had made his pitch on how the power filtering improved the picture on the TV (etc etc), my buddy piped up that he would love one, but none of his gear had the proper color-coded power cords....

(If memory serves, this power bar sold for around $75. I get the exact same one, without the colored outlets, with an APC brand on it, for $25 at ADI. Gotta love marketing!)

The connectors are rated for AWG 22 to 26. So that shouldn't be a problem.

Going to a higher specification connector isn't a problem as long as the connector is rated for the actual wire gauge AND type (stranded or solid) of your cable. Your supplier should be able to supply this information.