Bulk Cat6a Cable Jackets Explained: Plenum and Riser

Let’s talk about the Bulk Cat6a Cable jackets. You have probably come across a multitude of guides explaining the augmented cat6 cable. But very few guides are out there that explain its extraordinary jacket to both experts and amateurs alike.

So in this guide, we will discuss the different jackets of the cat6a cable. Read on to find out more about the Cat6a Plenum cable and Cat6a riser jackets, their uses, the advantages and disadvantages of using both, etc.

What is Cat6a Cable

The bulk Cat6a is a cutting-edge ethernet cable designed for use in commercial and residential networks with a high-performance requirement. It is an augmented version of the category 6 ethernet cables and supports data transfer at speeds of up to 10 Gbps over 100 meters. Moreover, it offers a voluminous bandwidth of 750 MHz.

Bulk Cat6a cable is produced with only bare copper conductors that are highly efficient, safe, and everlasting. Also, the cable is produced only with two types of jackets, namely, plenum and riser. The reason this cable is produced with limited options is to ensure its high-quality standard compliance.

Since this cable is designed for high-performance applications, it is almost necessary to make it with the best materials available. Its preceding ethernet categories such as the Cat6 and Cat5 are produced with PVC jackets and CCA conductors as well. Because those cables are also used for temporary or minor applications, they can handle the requirements.

Cable Conductors

Now it is important to mention that the conductor of the cable, bare copper, comes in two different types. A solid and a stranded. The solid conductor is made out of a single piece of metal. For instance, if you cut through the cable jacket and look at a solid cable, you will only see one metal wire. In a stranded cable, you will see multiple wires twisted or bundled together making up the whole cable conductor.

Both types of bare copper conductors in the Cat6a cable are designed to deliver excellent performance. However, the solid conductor is ideally used in long-distance transmissions whereas the stranded conductor is used in short-distance transmissions.

Cable Jackets

A Cable jacket is the outermost protective insulation of a cable that protects its interior from reacting with the outer atmosphere while also keeping the conductors intact. Without the cable jacket, an ethernet cable will not function – at least with the currently available conductors.

The bare copper Cat6a cable, as mentioned, comes in two different types of jackets. The communications multipurpose plenum (CMP) and communications multipurpose riser (CMR). It is important to understand the composition, properties, and proper use of both types of jackets.

The plenum jacket is designed for indoor use in plenum spaces. And a plenum space is any indoor space where air can circulate freely such as raised floor and dropped ceilings. Similarly, the Cat6a riser cable is designed for indoor riser spaces such as elevator shafts, inside walls, and between floors. As you might guess, the prerequisite for installing the riser cable indoors is an enclosed space where air cannot circulate freely.

Why is the Cable jacket Important?

Not just the Bulk Cat6a but all cable jackets are important. It is an integral part of the cable that not only makes the proper functioning of the cable but also ensures the safety of the property and lives.

In a fire hazard, the flames are not the primary cause of casualties but it is the smoke that suffocates the people living in a building. And to protect the lives and property, you ought to install cables that have safe and appropriate jackets.

Cat6a Riser Jacket

Cat6a riser is the most widely used ethernet cable in business and home networks with a high-performance requirement. The jacket materials of the riser cable are designed to prevent the vertical propagation of fire along the length of the cable.

That is why installing it between floors is always recommended. It is also designed to emit minimum, if any, smoke in a fire hazard. However, note that the smoke it emits is toxic and therefore, it must be installed in contained spaces when installed indoors.

It is used not only in indoor riser spaces but also in outdoor runs. It is relatively affordable as compared to our next subject: the plenum cable. That is why it is preferred for outdoor runs instead of its counterpart.

Cat6a Plenum Jacket

The Cat6a plenum is used when you are installing the cable in an indoor plenum or open spaces. A plenum space is any indoor space where air circulation is a common phenomenon such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning ducts.

It is made out of materials that neither burn nor emit toxic smoke. So for fire hazards, this is the safest cable available. You will not have to worry about smoke and flame propagation. In fact, it is designed to self extinguish the fire.


In a nutshell, the cat6a cable jackets are made out of only cutting-edge materials. The plenum jacket is a top-notch solution for indoor runs where airflow is abundant whereas the riser jacket is used in both indoor enclosed spaces and outdoors.

Leave a Reply