The standard CAT8 cable was developed mainly for use in data centers. The CAT8 cable uses less power than CAT7 but delivers the same data rates, 25 GB and 40 GB. You can get the cable in two versions:
- CAT8.1 – This cable comes with an RJ45 connector and has at least one shield (U/FTP) surrounding all wire pairs
- CAT8.2 – The CAT8.2 version comes with a GG45 connector and has at least two (S/FTP) shielding layers. Every pair of its wire has a shield, and another shield surrounds all wire pairings.
Uses of a CAT8 Cable
CAT8 or Category 8 cable is a newly developed cable standard succeeding CAT6. It offers 2 GHz signal bandwidth and delivers high data rate transfers.
It supports a distance of more than 30 meters with a capacity of either 40GB or 25 GB. It can connect devices with 40GB Base-T ports for data center applications and transport 40 GB data speed for distances over 30 meters.
Use this cable to attain maximum data transfer if you are using devices with 8-data fast category ports. TIA or the Telecommunications Industry Association has never released CAT7 cable’s standard, which it has done to CAT8, making the cable TIA-standard.
The cable does not have variants without a shield. This is necessary to permit data transmission of 40 Gbps. As a result, the installation of the cable needs to be handled by a pro or an experienced IT. Also, the process needs to be done with the utmost care, especially when dealing with shield terminations.
The cable’s maximum channel length is 98 feet or 30 meters, and its maximum length of the permanent link is 78 feet or 24 meters. It is challenging to terminate and install and appears to be quite rigid.
The cable length is also shorter compared to other kinds of cables in the same category.
Here are some of its practical uses:
For Transitions and Upgrades
You can use it in networks that need to transition to receive higher data loads. You must be careful, though, and assess what you really need.
For example, there are certain instances when you are better off using an optical fiber. One instance that fits the description is when your business requires an upgrade from 10G due to the growth you are anticipating to come.
From a CAT 6 or CAT7 network, an optical fiber is a more practical solution than quickly jumping into using CAT8.
Data Centers and Server Rooms
You can use CAT8 cable in server rooms and data centers. It can connect to many kinds of devices and equipment since it comes with an RJ45 connector.
It allows a quick upgrade to your network without going overboard in changing and updating your devices and other cables.
Promotes Data Transfer Speed
CAT8 cable supports the speed in data transfer that may work for some businesses but not for some. You have to assess the equipment in your business before deciding if you require this kind of upgrade.
In many cases, it may provide more bandwidth than what your business needs.
It is best to know your options, especially when it becomes tempting to buy cables, such as CAT8, as they become more and more affordable over time.
Comparing CAT8 with CAT7 or CAT7A Cables
The IEC or International Electrotechnical Commission and ISO or the International Organization for Standardization has developed a standard for CAT7 and CAT7A. This is something that TIA did not do as it directly switched to category 8 from 6 to 6A. On the other hand, this TIA category has not been adopted by both IEC and ISO.
In cases when lower category cables are used, the user will experience the cable’s maximum performance. Due to TIA’s non-category for CAT7, the CAT8 cable has a less strict standard than CAT7 or CAT7A.
In addition, the said cables – CAT7, CAT7A, and CAT8 are not successors but offer two different standards. There are aspects when CAT7 and CAT7A outperform CAT8 and vice versa.
This means that the CAT7 category is not backward compatible with CAT8. Consequently, you cannot simply use a CAT8 cable in devices with CAT7 or CAT7A ports since maximum speed cannot be assured when it comes to data transmission and transfers.
The idea of backward compatibility doesn’t apply to the two versions of the cable. Backward compatibility means that you can use a different cable or the successor of the cable you are using even if it has a higher category.
This is because it can still support ports using cables in lower categories.
When shopping for a CAT8 cable, you have to ask an IT professional to look into the ports of your devices and the cables currently in use.
This way, they can recommend the right cable that will suit your upgrade requirement without losing quality and speed.
You never know, but your equipment may be better off with other cables.
Switching to a CAT8 may not be the solution you need, or it may already be what your system requires despite wanting to stick with the older model of cables.