What is Cat6a Plenum vs Riser Cable? Explained

Cat6a Cable 1000ft is the best-selling bulk ethernet cable. It comes in two main types which are differentiated by the types of jackets. Cat6a plenum 1000ft is the one with the CMP jacket whereas the Cat6a Riser Cable is the one with a CMR jacket.

If you are looking to buy a cat6a cable 1000ft, and unsure whether to get the plenum or riser variant, read on. In this blog, we will explain what cat6a plenum vs riser cable is. 

Augmented Category 6

The Cat6a Cable 1000ft is the augmented variant of category 6 of ethernet cables. It features 23 AWG bare copper conductors which are 8 in total. These conductors are twisted into 4 pairs. Tightly twisting the conductors results in reduced electromagnetic interference, far-end crosstalk, near-end crosstalk, and various other types of interference. 

The cable is made with extra care to keep the signal integrity intact while also making sure that it is easy to install and long-lasting. 

Cat6a cables are quite expensive when you compare them with the previous categories of ethernet cables. But that is understandable considering the high-performance features and high-end build of the cable. 

In addition to the conductors, the cable also features a spline and a ripcord at its core. This is to allow an easy installation. Because the spline gives the cable a rather firm shape and the rip cord can be used to cut the cable jacket for installation. 

Keep reading to learn about the different types of cat6a cable 1000ft and the difference between its plenum and riser variants. 

Understanding Plenum and Riser

The plenum and riser jackets are named after the purpose of their installation. For instance, the cat6a plenum 1000ft cable is used in indoor horizontal plenums. Now because it is used in plenum spaces. 

Similarly, the cat6a riser cable is used in indoor vertically rising spaces – which are known as risers. Hence, the cable that is designed for use in this space is called a riser cable. 

The material which is used in making the plenum jacket has to be compatible with the needs of plenum spaces. For instance, the plenum spaces are rather open spaces where air flows. And in such situations, you want a cable jacket that does not pose a safety hazard. 

So the material from which the jacket is made is highly resistant to flame and barely emits any non-toxic smoke. 

What is Cat6a Plenum 1000ft?

The Cat6 plenum 1000ft cable is the most widely used variant of the cat6a cable 1000ft. It comes with the aforementioned high-quality plenum jacket that is designed for indoor air-handling spaces. 

Compared to the other variants of Cat6a cable, the plenum costs more. That is because it is made from expensive materials. Although a one-time investment, it lasts for a very long time while also delivering impeccable performance. 

What is Cat6a Riser Cable?

The Cat6a riser cable is just as good an option as the plenum. However, it is important to first mention the fact that it can emit toxic smoke in case of a fire hazard. 

That is why it should never be installed in indoor open spaces. However, in indoor enclosed spaces such as inside walls, between floors, and elevator shafts, it is a great choice. 

The riser jacket of the cat6 riser cable is coated with Teflon tape which makes it highly resistant to fire. Especially in vertical installations because it also undergoes a vertical fire safety test. 

Difference Between Cat6a Riser Vs Plenum 1000ft

Now, let’s take a look at the difference between cat6a riser cable vs plenum 1000ft. What these two cables are, and where are they used best?

The main difference between the two cables is their jacket. The cat6a plenum 1000ft comes with the plenum jacket whereas its cat6a riser cable comes with a CMR jacket. 

Now because these two cables come with different jackets, they are used differently.

Pro Tip: The main difference between the two cables is that Cat6a Plenum 1000ft costs more and is a high-performance cable. It is designed for use in indoor open spaces. Whereas the Cat6a riser cable costs less and is designed for indoor vertical spaces that are enclosed. However, both of them are perfectly suitable for high-speed ethernet applications such as gigabit and 10 gigabits in addition to PoE, PoE+/++. 

The cat6a plenum 1000ft is used in spaces where air flows freely. Such as the spaces above dropped ceilings and below-raised floors. Note that the plenum cable can also be used in indoor vertical runs where the riser cables are used. However, the cable costs more and its extraordinary fire-safety features are not necessary, it is usually run only in plenum spaces. 

Which one to buy?

Now, if you are looking to buy a cat6a cable 1000ft, you need to know which one you should buy. 

Well, there are two ways to buy cable. 

First, you can either buy the cat6a plenum cable and use it all across your network.

But if that is out of your budget or if you don’t want to roll extra coins on the plenum cable, you can buy the Cat6 riser cable for vertical installations and the plenum cable for horizontal installations.

Note: Never use riser cables in indoor open spaces.

Final Words

In short, both the riser and cat6a plenum cable are cutting-edge variants of the cat6 cable 1000ft ethernet cable. The main difference between both is that they feature different jackets. These jackets have different features and they determine where each cable will be used and what each one will cost.