the Cat6 Shielded or Unshielded Cable

Perhaps it is time to upgrade your Ethernet LAN network by installing the state-of-the-art, Cat6 cable. Or maybe, you are establishing a LAN in a new building. Whatever the reason may be, you will need to choose between the two different variants of the cable. Namely, the Cat6 shielded and Cat6 unshielded.

Both of these are terrific for use in LAN networks with a high-performance requirement. But there is a specific purpose for each. And using the right cable for its intended purpose is key to establishing a flawless network.

Let’s discuss the factors which determine whether you need the Cat6 Shielded cable 1000ft or the relatively cost-effective, Cat6 unshielded Cable.

Cat6 Cable: Overview

Before we discuss the Cat6 Cable’s details from the tiniest to the broadest, we need to present an overview.

This is the 6th Category ethernet cable that is purposefully designed for LAN networks with a high-performance requirement. It can be used in both businesses and residential environments. Cat6 Cable was introduced as an improvement of the previously common Cat5.

This cable has a data transfer rate of up to 1 GBit/s over 100 meters and offers a bandwidth capacity of 550 MHz. If you run it at up to 50 meters, it can support data transfer speeds of up to 10 GBit/s. The secret to the high performance of this cable is the greater number of twists per unit length in its conductors.

The 8 conductors of the cable are made in 23 AWG bare copper or copper-clad aluminum which are twisted in pairs. Also, it is produced in three different types of jackets ( plenum, riser, and PVC) - which is the outermost sheath on the cable that protects its interior from the atmosphere and ensures the performance of the cable.

What is Cat6 Shielded (STP)?

As implied by the term ‘shielded’, this cable has a protective layer underneath the outer jacket which is integrated into the Cat6a shielded cable intending to prevent EMI and crosstalk from interfering in the signal transmission.

If you are familiar with wired networking, you probably know that electromagnetic interference and various kinds of crosstalk negatively affect the signal transmission in a cable. So to prevent that from happening, a metal foil (mostly aluminum) is wrapped around the conductors to either absorb or block the inference coming from other cables in a network.

What is Cat6 Unshielded (UTP)?

Without an extra layer of protection against EMI and crosstalk, Cat6 unshielded cable is the basic Cat6. Although it does not have a shield around its conductor pairs, it still is a decent option with a high data transmission speed and a whopping bandwidth.

Also, because there is no additional foil or mesh under that cable jacket, it is much easier to install. More on that in the next parts.

Do I need Cat6 Shielded or Cat6 Unshielded?

Well, it depends. But to be clear, a shielded Cat6 cable is needed when you have a network that is crowded. Meaning that if you are going to have more than at least two other cables installed in the same space, you need the shielded cable.

Similarly, if you are installing the cable in a home network, where it will probably be the only cable, you need an unshielded Cat6. It is affordable as compared to its counterpart and as mentioned, is easier to install as well.

Note: Some people buy shielded cables for a network with only one or two cables in parallel. It is a redundant investment because there is nothing you should pay for protection against in such networks.


Decide whether you need the shielded or unshielded Cat6 cable on the following requirements.

Cat6 Shielded Cable:

  1. Crowded Network: If you have a network with too many cables, or if you will be running multiple cables in parallel to the cable, you need the shielded 1000ft variant.
  2. High-Performance: If you cannot compromise on the performance of the cable, even a little bit, you need the shielded cable in this case as well.

Cat6 Unshielded Cable:

  1. Home Network: You need an unshielded cable residential network where there are not many cables installed in parallel to each other.
  2. Cost: Unshielded Cat6 Cables are relatively more affordable as compared to their shielded counterparts. And if you have a limited budget, you can use these cables.

Smartech Cables

For cutting-edge ethernet cables or accessories, check out Smartech Cables. We are the industry leader in manufacturing and distributing networking cables and accessories of the highest standards. Our products exceed the industry standards and we are offering market competitive prices. If you need assistance, our professional customer support team is available at