Shielded VS Unshielded Ethernet Cables – Case Study of Cat6a

cat6a plenum shielded cable

Cat6a cables provide a cost-effective answer for 10G cabling. Its configuration is redesigned in comparison to old version of Cat6 cable. They are fit for supporting data transmitting rates up to 10Gbps at a greatest bandwidth capacity of 500MHz. Especially, the Cat6a Plenum Shielded Cable is one of the best available options. 

With the consistently arising new applications and modern network needs, it is a suggested version of Ethernet cable for them. The best feature about it is that it is reverse viable with Cat6 and Cat5e Ethernet cables.

With that, the discussion is now about picking a right Cat6a Cable variant from shielded or unshielded. It is important for the users to understand the differences between Shielded VS Unshielded variants before making a buying decision. How about we examine that deeply in this article.

The most important aspect to consider while introducing Cat6a cables is that they are future-proof network items. On the off chance that you are wanting to get a new cabling framework, think about Cat6a as the foremost choice. Regardless of whether anticipated ten years or more, Cat6a certainly has all the earmarks of being the best arrangement.

Considering the Cat6a parts in a 10Gbps, class EA network, and here’s the reason they are viewed as the best arrangement:

  • Cat6a is the ideal choice for Healthcare.
  • Cat6a is viewed as the most ideal choice for Education.
  • It gives further developed execution to Power over Ethernet (PoE).
  • They support remote frameworks which are depending on 10Gig.

Overview of the concept – Shielded VS Unshielded

Most of the structure of these cables is similar to each other. The major difference comes with the shielding twisted pair of wires. In shielded version, there is an extra foil coating that covers the four twisted pair of wires individually or altogether. This extra foiling makes the Cat6a cable variant a shielded one and the one that comes without this coating is known as unshielded variant.   

An Overview of Cat6a Plenum Shielded Cable: –

Cat6a shielded twisted pair variant is also known as STP. It has the capability to protect network signals against electromagnetic interference known as EMI or radio-recurrence obstruction known as RFI. These interferences impacts negatively on the performance of the cable. Therefore, their reduction enhances the performance of the cable.

They keep the cable signals free from any kind of interference caused by the external environmental factors. This variant of the cable possess a special ground wire known as drain wire. Also one of the most incredible practice for shielded cables is to ground them at both the ends.

For fast 10G speed in the networks, they are an optimal option for the network engineers. In the event that you introduce them appropriately, they naturally check EMI and crosstalk which guarantees the uprightness of data transmitting speeds.

cat6a plenum cable

An Overview of Cat6a Unshielded Cable: –

An unshielded twisted pair variant of Cat6a cable is also known as UTP.  This cable do not have extra protecting coating on its twisted pair of wires. However, it possesses same number of twisted pairs as shielded version. Each pair come in separate color code that makes it easy for the network engineers to identify them.

Every unshielded copper conductor wire present in Cat6a cable ought to be under a general jacket like PVC, and each pair of cable has a changed twist rate to limit crosstalk inside the cable. Cat6a Unshielded Cable is available in the market at more affordable prices than the shielded variant.

Besides, they are easy to mount as there is no extra shielding in it that makes it rigid or channel wire. In spite of the fact that they are less viable to deal with EMI, they are bigger in size which requires more space for installing them.

Basic Acronyms Used for Cat6a Cable Versions: –

Each version of cat6a cable come with different features and qualities. Therefore, it is hard for a layman to understand them. To make it easy different acronyms are used for different versions depending on its structure and working.

  • TP = Twisted Pair
  • U = Unshielded
  • F = Foil Shield
  • S= Braided Shield


Assuming that we think about the ISO/IEC guidelines, the starting letter shows the kind of outer jacket possesses by the cable while the following piece of the abbreviation demonstrates the sort of inner protecting jacket type present on the twisted pairs.

For example, F/UTP, “F” demonstrates the shielding type, “U” portrays the shielding type of twisted pairs, and “TP” portrays itself as twisted pair. The code before the slash portrays the general protecting jacket type of the cable. The second letter after the slash demonstrates the protecting of each inner conductor pair.

After understanding them deeply, we should perceive how you can pick the right cable out of them.


  • Think about the Cost: Cat6a shielded cable is costly in comparison to unshielded cable.
  • Fixing: Installation of unshielded wires is simple than the shielded ones.
  • Climate: Unshielded wires are climate cordial.

Unshielded cables really give quicker data transmitting speeds without any crosstalk and EMI. They are more affordable to make a buy, simple to fix and been there in many existing establishments for quite a long time. Therefore, they are a better option than shielded ones according to above reasons.

Cat6a Plenum Shielded Cable VS Unshielded Cable- Which Is Better In High Electromagnetic Region?

One more significant variable to consider while picking between Cat6a shielded VS unshielded networking cable is by closely analyzing the role of EMI during installation. The sources of EMI are nearby engines, generators, climate control systems, workplaces, for example, light and print shops, and so on. They also become a cause of crosstalk between circuits which negatively impacts the performance of the cable like slow speed, errors, and data degradation.

Therefore, assuming your network place encounters heavy electromagnetic obstruction than you must go for shielded version of Cat6a cable. This will give you better results in comparison to unshielded cable because an extra protective layer of foil in shielded variant makes the cable more reliable against interference factors.

Conclusive Thought: –

The selection of an Ethernet cable is highly dependent on your requirements and needs. This is the first factor you should consider before buying Ethernet cable for your network. In this step, you analyze your data transmission speeds presently and in future as well. Once you move forward to the next step then you will start checking other factors.

The next important factor is checking your place where you are going to install the network. Check its electromagnetic interference properties. For high interference place cat6a plenum shielded cable version is preferable. If you have less interference factors than you can go for unshielded version as well.

The next step is the cost of the installation. The shielded version is more expensive as compare to unshielded. It depends on your budget limits that which cable suits you best. After that, look for a reliable and trustworthy supplier of the required cable.

In this regard, you will find many suppliers in the market. Check with your network engineers and friends who bought these cables in the past. They will guide you to the best available suppliers of these cables in the market. The iTechCables is the name of trust and reliability in this scenario. We provide quality products to our customers with free shipping services. Our Cat6a cable is the hot selling product in the market due to its high-quality and performance. Our Cat6a both variants, shielded and unshielded are highly in demand. We are providing these Ethernet cables to our customer’s at best cheapest prices in comparison to our competitors.

Related Tags: Cat6a Plenum-rated cable, Cat6a STP cable, Cat6a UTP Cable