Everything You Need to Know About Plenum Ethernet Cables

A plenum cable can simply be referred to as an Ethernet networking electrical cable that is rated to be run in plenum spaces of buildings.

A plenum space is the one between raised floors and dropped ceilings of a building. These spaces are responsible for air circulation/ventilation, cooling, and heating in homes, offices, and all kinds of buildings.

To put it in another way, plenum cable is the one that is run through these air circulation spaces of buildings.

Fire-Safety in Plenum Spaces

Due to higher oxygen content in plenum spaces, there is the risk of a fire-outbreak. And plenum cables are designed to reduce the risk of a fire hazard. These cables are also designed to not-emit toxic smoke should they burn. This also translates into greater safety of the building and its inhabitants.

The fire ratings on plenum cables are thoroughly tested. The jacket is designed usually with Teflon so that it does not burn off with smoke and injurious fumes in an event of a fire. Therefore, this cable is recommended for a plenum space.

Types of Plenum Cable

Typically, one can find these cables in different categories. That is because when you say ‘plenum ethernet cable’ that means a cable that is jacketed with certain fire-retardant materials and coatings and is rated to be installed in plenum space.

As of market practice these days, these cables are usually found in the form of category 5 enhanced (Cat5e), category 6 (Cat6), and category 6 augmented (Cat6a). These cables are usually sold in bulks of 1000ft.

A Cat6a Cable is the most expensive combination out of the aforesaid, followed by the Cat6 cable, and then the Cat5e cable. The sequence is so because of the high specifications and prominent features of a Cat6a cable, followed by that of a Cat6 cable and a Cat5e cable.

If you have a tight budget and you want an Ethernet cable with decent specifications, you should go for Cat5e Plenum. These cables are often sold with 23AWG to 26 American wire gauge pure copper conductors or copper-clad aluminum conductors. These plenum ethernet cables are incorporated with a twisted pair design which is a market standard, and it is quite useful when it comes to cross-talks and other electromagnetic interference.

What is Cat6 Plenum Cable?

A Category 6 plenum cable is a communications multipurpose cable, plenum i.e. it is a CMP-rated cable that is tested for Category 6 specifications. It is a cable that has a special jacket that caters to strict fire ratings. Generally, there are two sorts of cables that are used to repel flame progression fire-sensitive applications.

In accordance with the relevant standards in the United States, such cables are Underwriters Laboratories (UL) cables made of polyvinyl chloride, and according to European standards, such cables are Low Smoke Zero Halogen cables (LSZH cables).

Certified Plenum Cable

The Cat6 Plenum Cable is a UL, ETL-listed cable which essentially means that it complies with UL190 safety fire standards. Therefore, this particular sort of cable is designed in such a way, that it restricts flame progression to no more than five feet, and unlike when regular plastic burns, the cat6 cable does not burn off with fumes and smoke.

In addition to the features of a plenum jacket, this cable carries specifications relevant to a cat6 cable.

Where We Can Use Cat6 Plenum Cable?

A category 6 cable can be used for 10BASE-T (Ethernet), 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet) 1000BASE-T (Gigabit Ethernet GbE), and 10BASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet).

However, when it comes to applications that are specific to a cable with a plenum-rated jacket, you first need to determine whether a structure or a building uses plenum air return.

 To determine that, you need to look at several things, for this purpose, an expert can visit your space and let you know. Nonetheless, it is recommended that when a building is constructed, additional space for plenum cables, is reserved. If you want the ultimate networking experience then Cat6a Plenum is a suitable cable for you.

 Apart from that, these cables are recommended to be used in computer rooms or IT centers, for in such spaces, the design is usually a raised flooring system to accommodate the servers.

The raised flooring system means that cooling can take place from floor to floor in between several servers, routers, and switches stationed. Air circulates for the purpose of cooling, and that is why plenum cables are recommended.

SmarTech Cables

Are you looking for innovative 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 limits and our prices are market competitive. If you need help, our professional customer support team is available at sales@smartechcables.com.