Many users choose flame-retardant cables for safety reasons, with plenum cable and riser cable being the two most common flame retardant classifications. Among the Ethernet cable classifications, Cat6 cables are commonly used in these two groups. What exactly is a Cat6 plenum cable? What is the Cat6 riser cable, and how does it work?
The primary difference between Cat6 Plenum Cable and Cat6 Riser Cable is that the latter can’t be used in plenum spaces. Plenum spaces are those that have an air volume and are used in spaces like dropped ceilings, air ducts, raised floors, and so on. The plenum cable is made out of a flame retardant material and has self fire extinguishing features.
However, in the most unlikely scenario of catching fire, the jacket is designed to retard the flame and it does not emit toxic smoke. And it is due to these qualities, the plenum-rated cable is more costly than a riser-rated one.
What Is Cat6 Plenum Cable?
As mentioned, the Cat6 Plenum Cable is used in indoor environments where air flows freely. The reason is the safety feature of the jacket which is designed to provide safety to the inhabitants of a building from the fatal toxic smoke in case of a fire hazard. In short, should the cable burn, it won’t emit toxic smoke.
Cat6 Plenum Cable is designed for use in areas where the cable is exposed to environmental or physical damage. It should be used in applications where the cable is routed through the walls or ceilings of buildings (plenums) because it is temperature rated from -45 to +200 degrees Fahrenheit. Cat6 Plenum Cable is mandated in many commercial buildings, universities, and hospitals where installing cable in this area is necessary. Government regulatory bodies strictly follow and endorse the safety measures.
Advantages of Cat6 Plenum Cable
Cat6 plenum cable has a rating of CMP (Communications Multipurpose Plenum). It is integrated with four unshielded twisted pairs and is designed to transmit data at high speeds. Plenum cable runs are found in office buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels, and other public places. CMP-rating cables contain an extra layer of plastic insulation and a fire-retardant jacket that makes them less likely to burn.\
The Cat6 plenum cable supports up to 550 MHz bandwidth and uses 23 AWG wire. Plenum-rated cables are most commonly used in computer networks and telephone systems.
Where Should Cat6 Plenum Cables be Installed?
Cat6 Plenum Cables should be installed in indoor spaces where air flows freely such as dropped ceilings and raised floors. It is recommended that you hire a professional for the installation. They will ensure that the cables are installed correctly. They’ll also check the space where the cables will be run through for any possible damage or issues to avoid any problems in the future.
What Is Cat6 Riser Cable?
The Cat6 Riser Cable, also known as Cat6 CMR cable (Communications Multipurpose Cable, Riser), is a commercial-grade cable that meets the UL1666 safety standard. It’s designed to keep flames from spreading from one floor to the next in vertical installations. As a result, it’s commonly employed for floor vertical wiring. A Cat6 riser cable, unlike a Cat6 plenum cable, generally features a jacket composed of PVC. In case of a fire hazard, the jacket will emit toxic smoke so be sure to follow the safety guidelines for the installation spaces of the riser cable.
Where to Install Cat6 Riser Cables?
Except in plenum spaces and air ducts, riser cables can be utilized in any place. As a result, Cat6 riser cable is commonly used between floors in non-plenum spaces. From the service entrance point, it is the principal conduit of a building’s distribution system, transporting voice, data, and video into the various spaces and levels of the building.
Cat6 plenum cable is made for use inside buildings where air can flow freely (plenum spaces). It has an additional fire retardant coating on the wire and a cable jacket. It is safe to use on your walls or ceilings and a bit more costly than its riser counterpart. Cat6 riser cable is made for use outside of buildings or indoor enclosed spaces. To get the best cable for your network, you’ll need to make sure you’re selecting the right one for your application.