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Should I use Cat7 or Cat8 for my new office?

cincinnati cat 8 cable

Do you have the proper equipment to keep your team’s productivity pumping? Sluggish network speeds can result in higher frustration levels and lower productivity rates. For the majority of your staff, they are more than likely going to work more effectively when they are in a positive mood as compared to when they are annoyed with the devices in which they are working with. Are your sloth-like network speeds holding you and your company’s productivity back? It could be as easy as updating your ethernet cables! Cat7 and Cat8 ethernet cables are a couple of the latest Categories of copper ethernet cabling developed. Which one is for your office, however, is all up to you! It will all depend on your wants, needs, and sometimes your budget. This should be a quick and easy guide to help you decide on the appropriate ethernet cable for you and your office needs.

Speed Differentials

Category 7 cabling has a bandwidth capacity of 600 MHz (megahertz) and can handle network speeds up to 10 Gbps (gigabits per second) with a maximum cable length of 100 meters. While Cat7 cables are heavily advertised to have the superior reach compared to its ethernet predecessors, after approximately fifteen meters or so, its speeds are diminished. So does the surplus length even matter? Slightly blowing the previous numbers out of the water, Cat8 cables swoop in with an impressive 2000 MHz bandwidth capacity and speeds that range from 10 to 40 Gbps being the max data rate it can bear. More data is being transmitted per second through the cable, and this requires heavier shielding to smother the crosstalk and interference trying to come through. Cat8’s speed potentials are due to the unique internal shielding that this Category contains. However, Cat8’s 40 Gbps speeds are only possible in a cable up to 30 meters in length. After that, the speeds diminish down to 10 Gbps. So, after 30 meters, a Cat8 cable is pretty much just as proficient as a Cat7.

Compositional Differences

Both sets of network cables are entirely shielded. Every wire pairing is covered in foil or a multitude of other shielding materials, sometimes even gold. Cat8 cables are capable of transmitting signals so quickly because of the shielding applied in this generation of ethernet cables. They contain an aluminum mylar shield on each pair of wires which is what causes the tremendous decrease in crosstalk, or outside interference. Cat8 cabling can conduct higher frequencies than previous ethernet cables which requires more twists in the wire pairings. This extra step in its fabrication adds to the final price. Like most other products today, those higher performance rates are going to reflect in a higher number on the price tags. That additional cost is also partially due to higher production fees because of the finer, high-quality materials being utilized in their manufacturing. These two Categories will also have a longer lifespan compared to previous versions because of the finer materials that they are composed of.

Due to having the same RJ45 connectors, Cat7 and Cat8 cables are both backwards compatible with the ethernet cables that were developed before them, going all the way back to Category 5. Cat8 cables can have different terminating connectors other than RJ45 as well, but those seem to be the most commonly used.

Fiber vs. Cat8

With speeds comparable to fiber optic cabling, Cat8 ethernet cables can deliver the network speeds you need but at a bit of a different price. Fiber optic was initially quite a bit pricier than copper cabling, but fiber optic prices are slowly coming down with their popularity rising. Fiber optic would be a necessary choice if you have a decently large distance to cover considering Cat8 only delivers efficient speeds up to 30 meters or so. If your office space is pretty compact, then Cat8 should be the go-to for you! However, if your facility stretches farther than 30 meters and you need the best network speeds available, fiber optic could end up being the best option for your office.

Fiber optic cabling runs on light instead of electricity so interference from other electronic devices, such as crosstalk in copper wiring, isn’t an issue. Since optical fiber does not conduct electricity, it is the safer option for high-voltage locations, including common lightning strike areas and facilities containing explosive gases. Not only is it the more physically secure option, optical fiber is also the safer option when it comes to cyber security. The light transmitting the data cannot be read in the same way that the data can when it is transferred through copper cabling. However, an ethernet switch can help improve your data security for your copper cabling.

The Ethernet Future

Category 8 ethernet cables are the latest and greatest generation available in network cabling. They are the future of copper cabling while Cat7 cables are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Cat7s were implemented all the way back in 2002! A number of advancements were employed within the fifteen-year time span that it took for Category 8 to be introduced to us. You may be just now becoming familiar with Cat7, but it is already virtually antiquated in the fast-paced and high-demand world that we thrive in today. Utilizing Cat8 cabling in your office keeps your company currently up-to-date, but will also be more than efficient for the foreseeable future, so that you won’t have to worry about falling behind with the rapid pace at which technology is now progressing at. Would you rather purchase the cheaper option and then be forced to replace your ethernet cables within a year or two, or would you rather just purchase the slightly more expensive option that will end up lasting you much longer because of the greater quality? Making the easy decision to install Cat8 cabling now could save you from the daunting task of replacing all of your cabling later on, or maybe not so later on after all…