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Category 7

Cabling is the longest life cycle component of the entire network, outlived only by the building. All too often, organisations fail to identify the importance of the structured cabling system they install and do not allow for future expansion.

Current networking trends favour an integrated network that can support data, as well as multimedia, voice and video. As more and more bandwidth is required to cope with ever more demanding business applications, new structured cabling and networking standards are emerging to support such speeds.

Until recently, Category 5 was considered adequate for typical installations and has become the most widely adopted. Then Category 5e came along to support Gigabit Ethernet. Category 6 was then ratified; it supports systems up to 1 Gigabit, with the potential to support higher speeds in the future.

And now there's Category 7

Cat 7 is the very latest copper cable you can install to bring your network into the future and beyond. It is a 'fully shielded' cabling system, which offers more than twice the bandwidth of Cat 6, offering the best performance from a twisted pair cabling solution. It is backward compatible and not only will it support applications operating on lower classes and categories but can support speeds in excess of 10Gbps allowing effective handling of intensive data traffic and demanding applications.

With 1GB Ethernet now considered standard technology, there are predictions that 10GB transmission rates will be required as early as 2007 for such applications as streaming broadband video and electronic transfer of large files such as CAD drawings and medical records. With many users aiming for a five-year cycle of upgrades for IT hardware, this would leave any IT manager installing a 1GB system now facing a complete replacement in less than half that time.

Cat 7 is bulkier and more expensive than Cat 5/6 cabling systems. The cost of Cat 7 per outlet is almost twice that of Cat 6 (eg. Cat 7 = £100, Cat 6 = £60).

However, the class F cable is a four pair Fully Screened outer sheath with individual shielded pairs. Each pair is capable of 1 Gigabit per second throughput, totalling 4 Gigabit at 1 GHz. 1 Cat 7 outlet can support up to 4 applications whereas 1 Cat 6 outlet can only support 1 application. In a high density environment such as a dealing room, call centre or help desk environment, it would be significantly cheaper to install Cat 7 as opposed to Cat 6, Cat 7 is becoming more and more widespread throughout European countries and we expect the UK market to follow. For those who want to be market leaders, this is the fastest copper infrastructure you can buy.